As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….
Infertility and Common Complications in Pregnancy
Hopefully, the majority of women who have received fertility treatments will go on to enjoy a healthy pregnancy. However, many women who have a history of infertility may also have health conditions (such as advanced age and high blood pressure) that predispose them to certain complications in pregnancy. Two of the most common obstetric complications are preeclampsia and preterm birth.
Preeclampsia is a condition which affects approximately 2-8% of pregnancies worldwide, and usually begins after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is characterized by high blood pressure and in some cases it can progress to cause organ damage. If unrecognized and untreated, preeclampsia can cause fetal growth restriction and stillbirth, as well maternal seizures. Women who have undergone fertility treatment may be at higher risk for this condition if they are older, have a history of high blood pressure, or are carrying twins.
The only true cure for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby and placenta, but certain treatments may help prevent preeclampsia and its sequelae. Women with risk factors for preeclampsia may be referred to a high risk Ob/Gyn doctor (a maternal-fetal medicine specialist) to determine if there are any medications that patients should start prior to pregnancy. Some women may benefit from taking low dose aspirin throughout pregnancy- this should be discussed with a doctor prior to initiating.
Preterm delivery is defined as delivery prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. It is extremely common (approximately 1 in 10 babies are born preterm), but can be devastating when certain complications occur. Women with twins after fertility therapy may be at higher risk for preterm delivery. Women who have a history or risk factors for preterm delivery may benefit from progesterone therapy or treatment with a cervical stitch called a cerclage, however, treatment depends on what type of risk factors are present. An obstetrician and/or maternal-fetal medicine specialist should be consulted to discuss the risks and benefits of these types of therapies prior to initiating. Preventive measures include quitting smoking, avoiding certain drugs and alcohol, having regular prenatal care, waiting at least 18 months between pregnancies, and seeking medical attention for any warning signs of preterm labor.
If you would like more information regarding infertility and common pregnancy complications, please schedule an appointment with one of our physicians at the Fertility Institute of Hawaii 808-545-2800, or visit our website https://www.ivfcenterhawaii.com/.
Alfirevic Z, Stampalija T, Medley N. Cervical stitch (cerclage) for preventing preterm birth in singleton pregnancy. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD008991.