Critical Care Obstetrics

Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) is a regional center for advanced perinatal care. Our team of maternal fetal medicine specialists are experts in providing highly specialized care for the most complicated pregnancies.

Less than 2 percent of women require intensive care during pregnancy or the first few weeks after delivery. If you have a critical illness in pregnancy, LVHN’s critical care obstetrics team will provide an unsurpassed level of care.

We have maternal fetal medicine specialists (perinatologists) available 24 hours a day, seven days per week. They work closely with specialists from critical care medicine, trauma and other related subspecialties to address medical complications and any life-threatening concerns that can arise in high-risk pregnancies.

Critical illness during pregnancy

You may have a preexisting condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes that can be made worse by pregnancy. These include:

LVHN offers several programs aimed at reducing the risks associated with these conditions as well as treating your condition. Sometimes life-threatening situations arise suddenly, for example:

  • Heavy, uncontrolled bleeding (hemorrhage)
  • Problems with the placenta
  • Blood clots in the legs or lungs
  • Infection, mainly when it spreads to the bloodstream

Our team of experts will provide the exact care you need to help keep you and your developing-baby safe and healthy. You will be cared for not only by physicians but also nurses with expert training in caring for critically ill patients. Pharmacists, physical therapists and social workers also care for and support patients.

Critical care in pregnancy

Whether you’ve been receiving care for a known condition or have a problem develop suddenly, we provide the level of critical care you need. We evaluate and care for you and your baby using state-of-the-art technology. Even though you and your developing baby’s needs may be very different, we care for  both of your needs through:

  • Constant monitoring and management of your vital signs
  • Fetal monitoring to ensure your baby remains safe
  • Airway management including intubation and ventilation when needed
  • Medication management by pharmacists, including antibiotics and sedation
  • Intravenous delivery of replacement blood
  • Blocking blood flow (embolization) to control hemorrhage

Bethan Nowak

Maternal Fetal Medicine

Nowak’s previous pregnancies were healthy. Her sons, Fillip, 4, and Leif, 2, were born close to home at Pocono Medical Center (now Lehigh Valley Hospital–Pocono). But this pregnancy was different. She was suffering from severe morning sickness and dehydration and in pain due to daily kidney stones.

Family Lodging

Hackerman-Patz House at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest offers convenient and affordable lodging for patients and their families.

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