All posts by kutv2news

Developmental milestones your baby should reach by 12 months old



By the time your baby is 12 months old, he or she should be able to do a variety of new things such as saying a few simple words and playing games.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by 12 months old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Social and Emotional

  •  Is shy or nervous with strangers
  • Cries when mom or dad leaves
  •  Has favorite things and people
  • Shows fear in some situations
  •  Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story
  •  Repeats sounds or actions to get attention
  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing
  •  Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”

Language/Communication

  • Responds to simple spoken requests
  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”
  •  Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)
  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”
  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing
  • Finds hidden things easily
  •  Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named Copies gestures
  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair
  • Bangs two things together
  •  Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container
  •  Lets things go without help
  •  Pokes with index (pointer) finger
  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy

Movement/Physical Development

  •  Gets to a sitting position without help
  •  Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)
  • May take a few steps without holding on
  • May stand alone

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Video resources for 12 months:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Take 2: Impeachment, protest planning, and what’s in the governor’s budget



Heidi Hatch is back with another rousing political debate featuring Jim Dabakis and Greg Hughes on this week’s Take 2 podcast.

The topic foremost on their mind’s this Friday: Possible weekend protests in utah and across the Country.

  • Governor Cox declared a state of emergency
  • Salt Lake City Police and Mayor Erin Mendenhall say no violence will be permitted. Is this a change after 2020 protests?
  • The Utah National Guard is headed to D.C. for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Next, the Utah Legislative Session goes online amid fears of unrest: How does this change citizen involvement?

In on of his first acts as governor, Spencer Cox proposed a new $21.7 state budget that includes:

  • $250 million to assist the state’s public health partners, households, businesses and schools affected by the coronavirus
  • $125 million for an upskilling initiative focused on helping those out of work or needing a better job
  • $350 million to double-track FrontRunner
  • $50 million to improve transportation in the Wasatch canyons
  • $125 million for open space and trails
  • $125 million for rural infrastructure including expanding broadband access
  • $112 million for educator bonuses
  • $80 million tax cut

They also check in on Utah’s vaccine rollout: Are we winning?

Finally, President Donald Trump became the first American president to be impeached twice.  Should there be a trial in the Senate? Should there be a second vote not allowing Trump to run again?

Guests:

  • Greg Hughes (R)
  • Jim Dabakis (D)

Host: Heidi Hatch


Developmental milestones your baby should reach by 6 months old



By the time your baby is six months old, he or she should be able to do a variety of new things such as rolling over and recognize faces.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the important milestones your child should reach by six months old and tools to help parents on this episode of the Baby Your Baby Podcast.

Social and emotional

  • Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
  • Likes to play with others, especially parents
  •  Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
  • Likes to look at self in a mirror

Language and communication

  • Responds to sounds by making sounds
  • Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
  • Responds to own name
  •  Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
  •  Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”)

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  •  Looks around at things nearby
  • Brings things to mouth
  • Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach
  • Begins to pass things from one hand to the other

Movement and physical development

  • Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)
  • Begins to sit without support
  •  When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce
  •  Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward

What do you do if your baby is not meeting these milestones?

Listed below are 6 month milestone videos:

Can parents get their baby on back on track on their own, or is this something they need a professional for?

Most of the time, children get the developmental skills they need when they are given opportunities to practice. Parents play a huge role in their child’s development, and often can help their child right away. For example, if your child’s screening showed a delay in language, you help your child right away, just by practicing this area of development.

However, sometimes your child may need professional intervention. In these situations, it’s best to work with your healthcare or childcare provider to get resources or referrals to professional agencies who are trained to help your child reach their developmental milestone needs.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


PODCAST: Take 2 – Trump’s positive COVID-19 test upcoming debates



Take 2 is back after months away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A lot has changed and at the same time a lot has remained the same. It’s a new year but the same or similar problems remain.

We are still in the middle of a pandemic and the way forward is different depending on who you talk to.

Social unrest has bubbled up again the people demonstrating, and rioting have changed and the ones sitting home in disgust have swapped places.

We have a new governor, but a familiar face. A smooth transition of power.

On the flip side President Donald Trump today said he will not attend President-elect Biden’s inauguration, the first time a sitting president has forgone the tradition since 1869.

People still only like to hear people who agree with them and believe the same way. With that, a conversation we hope will help you see the other side and find some middle ground.

Guests:

  • Greg Hughes (R)
  • Jim Dabakis (D)

Host: Heidi Hatch


The Ages and Stages Questionnaire



You may not be thinking about preparing your baby for school when he or she is still in diapers, but the Early Childhood Utah Program at the Utah Department of Health, says that making sure your baby meets developmental milestones helps get your baby ready for success throughout his or her lifetime. The Department of Health recommends a screening tool, called the Ages and Stages Questionnaire, to help parents and caregivers make sure your baby is right on track.

Jade Elliott spoke with Carrie Martinez, Utah Department of Health, to discuss the questionnaire and how it helps parents.

What is the Ages and Stages Questionnaire?

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (often called the ASQ) is an evidenced-based screening tool parents or caregivers use to make sure your baby is developing all of the skills needed to be on track when he or she starts school. This can let parents know where their child is at developmentally and gives parents important information to help make the best decisions for their child.

The ASQ is made up of 2 different screening tools. Each tool has about 30 questions and takes 20-30 minutes. The first screening tool helps parents understand whether or not their baby meets developmental milestones and the other looks at your baby’s social and emotional development.

The first screening tool looks at the following developmental milestones:

  • Gross motor
  •  Fine motor
  • Communication (both expressive and receptive)
  • Adaptive behaviors
  • Personal and social development

The second screening tool looks at a child’s social emotional development. Social and emotional screenings look at things that tell you whether your baby is interacting like he or she should in social situations.

The core features of emotional development include:

  • The ability to identify and understand your own feelings
  • Accurately read and comprehend others’ emotions
  • The ability to manage strong emotions and if you’re able t express them in a constructive way
  • Regulating (or controlling) your own behavior
  • Developing empathy for others
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships

What are Developmental milestones?

Developmental milestones are foundational skills your baby needs in order to do other things later in life. For example, your baby has to be able to master certain movements before he or she can walk. The American Association of Pediatrics has screening recommendations and developmental milestones for children up to 6 years old. These recommendations let parents know when their child should get screened and skills he or she should have at each age.

They recommend screening at:

  • 6, 12, 18 and 25 months (2 years)
  • And then at and then 3, 4, and 5 years old

How often can parents use the screening tool?

Parents can screen on a regular basis with their child, any time from one month to 6 years. You can do the screening more than once because children develop at such a rapid rate.

Parents also have different needs at different stages of a child’s development. For example, you may be very comfortable and at ease about parenting your new infant but may need additional information when your child becomes a toddler and wants more independence.

Why would a parent want to use the ASQ screening tool?

  • You know your baby best.

Early Childhood Utah, healthcare providers, teachers, and ASQ recognize that you as a parent are the true expert on your child’s development. ASQ’s parent-completed screening tool uses the in-depth knowledge that families provide.

  • It’s family friendly.

Parents love being active partners in screening. The tool is easy to use and the fun learning activities are the perfect way for families to help children make developmental progress.

It is important to trust your parental instincts and to advocate for your child. If you have concerns about your child’s development, you can check with your Local Health Department, WIC offices, Early Intervention agency, Home Visiting Program, Local Medical Provider, Early Childhood Educator and Utah Department of Health.

If you feel like you need assistance, ask one of these providers for a referral.

  • Caregivers, teachers, and pediatricians also love using the screening tool. It validates parental involvement and knowledge of their child. This helps to strengthen the home to school or pediatrician relationship.

Where can I get an ASQ screening done for my child?

You can reach out to your caregiver, pediatrician, teacher, or Early Childhood Utah to help you find a resource or program in your area that uses the Ages and Stages Questionnaire.

Utah has many resources for parents who may have concerns about their child’s development:

  • Your local health department and WIC offices
  • Early Intervention agency
  • Home visiting program
  • Your pediatrician, doctor, or a local medical provider
  • An early childhood educator
  • The Utah Department of Health.

Anyone who is in early care and education, medical, or is a healthcare provider can get ASQ training for FREE:

If you are a child care provider, early care and education teacher, or a medical or health professional and are interested in using the screening tool within your program, please reach out to Carrie Martinez at the Utah Department of Health carriemartinez@utah.gov , or visit the Early Childhood Utah websitehttps://earlychildhoodutah.utah.gov/ for more information.

For more information about important developmental milestones, visit CDC’s website.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Talkin’ Jazz podcast with Alema Harrington: sharing means winning!



On the latest edition of the Talkin Jazz podcast, Alema Harrington joins our Dave Fox! Topics include the return of the “Wasatch Front”, how sharing the rock=victories, and the Niang drought ending! Plus Jazz bites and the top 5 plays in the NBA…could number one be Spida??

Check out Alema Harrington with Dave Fox for another episode of the Talkin Jazz podcast!
https://kutv.com/sports/utah-jazz/talkin-jazz-alema-harrington-sharing-means-winning


Recovering after a miscarriage



It’s an exciting time when you first get the results from a pregnancy test and find out you’re pregnant. Most pregnancies are normal, but during those first few weeks it’s not that uncommon to experience a miscarriage. Such news can be devastating.

Jade Elliott spoke with Dr. Jessica Page, a maternal fetal medicine physician with Intermountain Healthcare who specializes in managing high risk pregnancies and has researched and studied miscarriage, to answer some questions about miscarriage.

What is a miscarriage? What is the typical time frame when it occurs?

A miscarriage is the common term for an early pregnancy loss, or one that typically occurs during the first trimester at 12 weeks or earlier.

How common are miscarriages?

The percentage of pregnancies that end in miscarriage varies a bit, depending on if you’re taking into consideration women who had a positive pregnancy test, and then had pregnancy loss, it is about 10 percent. If you look at pregnancies that haven’t been confirmed by a test, that result in loss, the numbers may be as high as 30 percent.

What are the causes of miscarriage?

Generally it’s due to the genetics of the fetus. Other causes can be due to autoimmune conditions, uterine malformations or other underlying health conditions of the mother, that she may or may not be aware of.

Do women sometimes feel a miscarriage is their fault?

In the vast majority of cases, a miscarriage is not something a woman could have prevented or that could be intervened upon. You may have factors or conditions that you didn’t know about prior to attempting pregnancy. As maternal fetal medicine specialists, we work to optimize the underlying health conditions of pregnant women. If you have a chronic condition, it’s best to have a consultation with your doctor or a specialist before getting pregnant or early in your pregnancy.

Are there ways to reduce your risk of miscarriage?

There are no guarantees, but these general practices can help you have a healthier pregnancy.

  • Avoid all alcohol, tobacco products, illicit street drugs, and over-the-counter, prescriptions, and herbal remedies that haven’t been recommended by your OB provider
  • Keep your prenatal appointments with your doctor or midwife.
  • Take your prenatal vitamins.
  • Stay up to date on your immunizations

Why do some women experience more than one miscarriage and some experience none?

Most of the time we don’t know why women experience repeated miscarriages. Recurrent losses could be due to genetics or malformations or underlying health conditions. Risk factors for miscarriage include maternal age and history of prior miscarriage. In general for women aged 20-30 years the risk is about 10-15% but rises to about 20% at age 35 and 40% at age 40.

If you’ve had one miscarriage are you more likely to have another?

While one miscarriage does increase the risk of another one occurring, most women will go on to have a positive outcome. Even those women who experience multiple miscarriages that are idiopathic (or without a known cause), about 70 percent of them go on to conceive. And about 75 percent of those pregnancies result in a live birth.

What are the signs and symptoms of miscarriage?

Some miscarriages occur without any symptoms. The most common symptoms are bleeding and cramping. If you experience either of those, call your doctor.

Should you see a doctor after a miscarriage? Is treatment needed?

If you experience a miscarriage, reach out to your doctor. In some cases, the miscarriage may not have completely passed. Some women may need medications or surgery to complete the miscarriage.

How soon can you try to get pregnant again?

After you’ve talked with your doctor to address any medical needs and as soon as you and your partner feel emotionally ready, you can try to get pregnant again.

How can women recover emotionally after a miscarriage?

Even though miscarriage is common, when it happens to you, it is significant. You need to grieve that loss and reach out for social and family support. Give yourself time to go through the grieving process. Talking with other moms who have experienced miscarriage can help.

How does miscarriage affect your partner or family?

A miscarriage can place stress on your partner and the rest of your family as well. Each person may feel a sense of emotional loss. Families should offer support and help each other through the loss and not place blame. Sometimes your partner may feel powerless. But tell them that just their companionship and emotional support is key. Be mindful of the emotions or anxiety that can occur as you approach the anniversary of a previous loss or a new pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your history and your loss, so he or she can closely monitor your subsequent pregnancy.

How might the COVID-19 pandemic magnify some of the feelings experienced after miscarriage?

We find support in being around others. The pandemic has been very isolating, because we’ve reduced the interaction we have with friends and family to help protect each other from the virus. Utilize resources around you and those in your household. Reach out virtually to friends and family. Take it easy on yourself. Take one step at a time.

You may experience a variety of emotions from denial to anger to sadness, to depression to acceptance. If your feelings of depression and sadness are affecting your ability to function or are long-lasting, talk with your doctor. A referral for counseling or other treatment may help.

What type of behavioral health resources are available?

Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Hotline number is 1-833-442-2211.

This free general emotional support hotline was started during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be reached seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. It connects callers with a trained care coordinator who can provide appropriate self-care tools, peer support, treatment options, crisis resources, and more.

Intermountain Walk-In Behavioral Health Access Centers

Intermountain LDS Hospital in Salt Lake, McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden and Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George offer walk-in general behavioral health access centers that are open 24 hours. Check with other Intermountain behavioral health locations to see if they have urgent appointments available.

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/behavioral-health/access-centers/locations/

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Talkin Jazz Podcast season Debut with David Locke!



We kick off another season of the Talkin Jazz podcast as the radio voice of the Utah Jazz joins our Dave Fox. Locke explains in detail how new ownership will take this team to the next level, and how big contracts to Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell are not only a good investment, but are deals where the Jazz had no choice!

Plus the versatility of the Jazz offense this season, the many ways they can beat you, and insider info you only get from Locke including plays Head Coach Quin Snyder has installed that are already delivering!

Also Bojan Bogdanovich on his repaired wrist and the top five NBA plays of the week!


Stillbirths and coping with late pregnancy loss



Losing a baby late in your pregnancy is devastating. Understanding why fetal demise sometimes occurs is a complex topic that continues to be studied.

Jade Elliott spoke with  Dr. Jessica Page, a maternal fetal medicine specialist with Intermountain Healthcare who cares for patients with high risk pregnancies and has studied stillbirths, to discuss what we do and don’t know about stillbirths.

What is a stillbirth? How is it different from a miscarriage?

Stillbirth is defined as fetal death at or after 20 weeks of gestation. Miscarriages refer to pregnancy at 12 weeks or earlier. Early fetal losses (those between 13 and 19 weeks) are sometimes managed similarly to stillbirths.

How common are stillbirths?

Stillbirths are less common than miscarriage. In the U.S., stillbirths happen in about 6 per 1000 pregnancies. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but each loss is devastating, and it happens more often than it should. In the U.S. we continue to study the issue, learn more and work to improve.

What causes stillbirth?

It’s often hard to know the precise cause, as there can sometimes be more than one potential condition and it can be difficult to assign causality. One of the most common potential causes of stillbirth is placental insufficiency. This refers to situations in which the placenta doesn’t work well to provide the fetus with blood and oxygen. This can be due to maternal medical conditions, disruptions such as placental abruption or umbilical cord occlusion. Sometimes preterm labor prior to fetal viability (about 24 weeks) occurs and leads to stillbirth.

What tests can help determine the cause of the stillbirth and why are they important for women and their families?

Identifying a potential cause of death after a stillbirth can help families achieve emotional closure, and can help providers better manage that woman’s future pregnancies. Additionally, better identification of potential causes of death improves our ability to prevent and better understand stillbirth.

As OB providers it is important for us to deliver compassionate and clear information about what tests are most likely to identify a potential cause of death. Families often need time to consider their options and it is helpful to given them multiple chances to ask questions and process the information.

Types of exams and tests

The most useful tests for identifying a potential cause of death are fetal autopsy and placental pathology. Fetal autopsy is an exam of the baby. This can be a difficult topic for patients emotionally and it is important for providers to explain the options and high yield of this exam. The patient can spend as much time as desired with the baby prior to the exam and following the exam, and the incisions are easily hidden with normal baby clothes. This gives families the option to have funeral services or other memorials as desired. There are also options for less invasive exams which may include an external exam only or imaging with MRI. Autopsy can identify fetal anatomic abnormalities, evidence of infection or other pathologic processes leading to the death.

Placental pathology is a detailed microscopic examination of the placenta and umbilical cord. This is very useful for understanding if placental abnormalities or damage led to the stillbirth.

We also recommend genetic evaluation and testing for antiphospholipid syndrome in cases of stillbirth. If abnormal results are found, this may affect management of future pregnancies.

How do these tests help aid in research and help other women?

Understanding causes of stillbirths enables us to better identify targets for prevention of stillbirth and to characterize those pregnancies at the highest risk.

Why are stillbirths especially difficult emotionally?

Pregnancy loss at any point is difficult, but particularly as pregnancy progresses it can be emotionally devastating. It’s important to take time and space for families to grieve. Creating mementoes are helpful for many families as they navigate this grieving process.

How do labor and delivery nurses, OBs and midwives help provide comfort to mothers who experience a stillbirth?

Labor and delivery staff are experienced in all aspects of childbirth, from the joys in celebrating a new birth to comforting those who experience loss. A lot of it is meeting the patient where she and her partner are at that moment and providing the emotional support they need during their grief process. During a difficult time such as this, it’s common not to internalize all the information and details. Giving patients time and opportunity to ask questions and to acknowledge the loss of their child is especially important.

What are Cuddle Cots and how do they help families spend more time with their baby?

Many Intermountain hospitals have Cuddle Cots available, which are basically a special bassinet that provides some refrigeration for a baby who has passed away, which allows the family to spend more time with the baby they’ve lost, before rigor mortis or stiffness of the body sets in. Often they are donated by another family who has experienced a loss. We give patients as long as they want with the baby. We don’t limit that at all. Having the mementoes and support from other moms is also really helpful.

What else should women know about stillbirths?

While rare, it affects more families than you think. It’s important to recognize the role of that child in that family’s life. Just acknowledging the baby and supporting the family and listening without making judgments or commentary are what are often most helpful.

How might the COVID-19 pandemic magnify some of the feelings experienced after a stillbirth?

We find support in being around others. The pandemic has been very isolating, because we’ve reduced the interaction we have with friends and family to help protect each other from the virus. I tell patients to utilize the resources around them and those in their household. Reach out virtually to friends and family. Take it easy on yourself. Take one step at a time.

You may experience a variety of emotions from denial to anger to sadness, to depression to acceptance. If your feelings of depression and sadness are affecting your ability to function or are long-lasting, talk with your doctor. A referral for counseling or other treatment may help.

During the pandemic the numbers of support people allowed in the hospital may be limited. The hospital staff also provides experienced support. Some families may connect virtually with those not present and staff can assist.

What type of behavioral health resources are available?

Intermountain’s Angel Watch Program offers support for women experiencing pregnancy loss.

Women experiencing stillbirth can reach out to Intermountain’s Angel Watch program that offers support for women experiencing fetal demise. The program is staffed by master’s level social workers, nurses, bereavement specialists and chaplains who are available on-call to provide counseling specific to this type of loss, through in-home or virtual visits. The service is free and available to anyone, not just Intermountain patients. For more information call, 801-698-4486 or visit:  https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/women-newborn/resources/angel-watch/

To listen to the Baby Your Baby Podcast about the Angel Watch Program, click here.

Intermountain Emotional Health Relief Hotline number is 1-833-442-2211.

This free general emotional support hotline was started during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be reached seven days a week from 10 am to 10 pm. It connects callers with a trained care coordinator who can provide appropriate self-care tools, peer support, treatment options, crisis resources, and more.

Intermountain Walk-In Behavioral Health Access Centers

If depression or anxiety persists and you don’t have a mental health provider there are some walk in services available.

Intermountain LDS Hospital in Salt Lake, McKay Dee Hospital in Ogden and Dixie Regional Medical Center in St. George offer walk-in general behavioral health access centers that are open 24 hours. Check with other Intermountain behavioral health locations to see if they have urgent appointments available.

https://intermountainhealthcare.org/services/behavioral-health/access-centers/locations/

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.


Managing chronic conditions during pregnancy



What if you have diabetes or high blood pressure or an autoimmune disease like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis and you want to get pregnant? Or what if you become pregnant and have one of those chronic conditions?

If so, you probably have lots of questions. Jade Elliott spoke with  Dr. Helen Feltovich, a maternal fetal medicine physician with Intermountain Healthcare who manages high-risk pregnancies, to discuss chronic conditions.

How common are chronic conditions among pregnant women?

The most common chronic conditions among American women are overweight/obesity (>50%), pregestational (type 1 or 2) diabetes (1-2%), high blood pressure (1-1.5%), and, less commonly, autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

What should women who have a chronic condition know and do before they get pregnant?

If you have a chronic condition, including obesity it’s best to get a pre-pregnancy consultation with a maternal fetal medicine specialist if you want to get pregnant. If you’re already pregnant and have a chronic condition, see a specialist as early as possible in your pregnancy, since that will lead to better outcomes for you and your baby.

How can maternal fetal medicine specialists help pregnant women who have these conditions?

Women with medical conditions that put them at increased pregnancy risks usually are managed by both high-risk pregnancy specialists and their regular obstetric provider. Every woman and every pregnancy is different. Sometimes a pregnant patient will see her high-risk obstetrician just once during a pregnancy, to design a management plan for monitoring her and her fetus. Other times she will be co-managed, which means she’ll see both her high-risk and regular provider throughout her whole pregnancy, for instance if she needs specialized tests like Doppler ultrasound or interventions like in-utero surgery.

Can chronic conditions affect your pregnancy or the baby?

Yes. It depends on the type of chronic condition. That’s why it’s so important to see a maternal fetal medicine specialist.

Why is it important to manage diabetes during pregnancy?

Having diabetes during pregnancy can lead to increased risks or complications for the mom or baby. When moms have diabetes, their babies are more likely to have a larger than normal birthweight, which can lead to delivery complications. Their babies are also at increased risk for birth defects, stillbirths, respiratory distress and low blood sugar.

For pregnant moms, most complications occur in women who have diabetes before they are pregnant. Pregnant women with diabetes are at increased risk for high blood pressure or preeclampsia, as well as preterm birth, cesarean delivery and other problems.

What are the signs of diabetes?

  •  Excessive thirst.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Extreme hunger.
  • Unexplained weight loss.
  •  Fatigue.
  •  Irritability.
  • Blurred vision.
  •  Presence of ketones in the urine (can be detected through lab tests)

What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes?

They are different in terms of risk factors and onset. Type 1 or 2 diabetes is pregestational, or diabetes that exists before pregnancy. Pregnancy can complicate diabetes in these women, and outcomes are closely tied to degree of glucose control during pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes is defined as a new onset of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. However, some women diagnosed with gestational diabetes actually have undiagnosed pre-gestational type 2 diabetes. Like type 1 and type 2 diabetes, outcomes are closely tied to the degree of glucose control. This is part of why it’s important to learn what is in your genes and understand your health before you get pregnant.

Why is it important to manage high blood pressure during pregnancy?

Complications can include:

  • Preeclampsia, when high blood pressure can lead to organ damage in the mother.
  • A stroke due to very high blood pressure.
  • Decreased blood flow to the placenta can lead to baby receiving less oxygen and fewer nutrients, causing low birth weight or premature birth.

Why does obesity add risk to your pregnancy?

Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) over 30, and BMI over 40 in particular, poses risk to a pregnancy. Fetal complications include a higher chance of miscarriage, birth defects, abnormal fetal growth (usually overgrowth), abnormal fluid (usually too much fluid), and rarely, stillbirth. Preterm birth is more likely in obese women, either spontaneously or medically-indicated because of maternal complications such as gestational hypertension or preeclampsia, or gestational diabetes with poor glucose control.

What advice would you give to women who are obese and either want to get pregnant or are already pregnant?

A good diet and exercise plan are always key elements to a healthy pregnancy. Before pregnancy, obese women can optimize their pregnancy outcomes by losing weight to reach an ideal body weight. Obese pregnant women can also optimize outcomes by following a healthy diet and exercise plan. Although we typically associate healthy pregnancy with weight gain, depending on a patient’s BMI, it may be best for her to gain little weight.

Why is it important to manage your autoimmune disease during pregnancy?

Most of the time, women with autoimmune disorders can expect a normal pregnancy. However, some serious problems like fetal growth restriction or even stillbirth can occur, depending upon a patient’s exact diagnosis and disease control. Also, sometimes medications have to be adjusted before pregnancy if they aren’t safe for the fetus. Patients with well-controlled disease before pregnancy do best during pregnancy. So, it’s important to have a plan, ideally before pregnancy.

Are there some chronic conditions, where women actually feel better when they’re pregnant than when they’re not?

About one third of patients with autoimmune diseases report feeling better while pregnant, and one third report no change and another third feel worse or have a first episode during pregnancy. This is probably because of the natural steroid production that occurs during pregnancy.

Are there any chronic conditions where getting pregnant is not recommended?

Rarely, a high-risk obstetrician might advise against pregnancy, for instance, in women with antiphospholipid syndrome and history of recurrent blood clots, or severe pulmonary hypertension, or certain kinds of heart problems. That doesn’t happen often, but anticipating serious problems is one reason to contact your high-risk obstetrician before becoming pregnant.

Keep in mind most pregnancies and births are normal

If you have a chronic medical condition, it’s important to meet with your doctor early, ideally before you are pregnant, to develop a management plan. This helps you and your healthcare team to optimize your situation for the best possible outcome for you and your baby.

For more information

Go to https://intermountainhealthcare.org/

And search for high risk pregnancy or maternal fetal medicine.

The Baby Your Baby program provides many resources for all pregnant women and new moms in Utah. There is also expert advice from the Utah Department of Health and Intermountain Healthcare that air each week on KUTV 2News.