Risk Assessment Tests for Expectant Mothers, By Dr. Philip Shlossman

Throughout a pregnancy, most physicians recommend a variety of tests for expectant mothers and fetuses. These tests provide ongoing information about the mother’s and baby’s health, which allows doctors to address any problems early and prevent them from escalating.

While a woman’s medical history will likely affect which specific tests a physician performs, certain tests are more or less standard for all pregnant women. Common tests performed during pregnancy include the following:

Ultrasounds. These tests use sound waves to create an image of the fetus. If a physician detects potential problems, he or she can perform more detailed ultrasounds to get more information.

Maternal blood tests. Some blood tests are used to evaluate the risk of chromosomal abnormalities and other birth defects.

Maternal immune system tests. Swabs and samples taken from the mother are used to determine whether the mother has any infections or diseases that could affect the fetus.

Ongoing screenings. At regular intervals, physicians monitor maternal blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as other indicators of overall health.

About the Author:

As Vice President of the Delaware Center for Maternal & Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, Dr. Philip Shlossman provides care for women throughout their pregnancy and delivery. Dr. Shlossman lives in Wilmington, Delaware.

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Optimizing a Mother’s Health Before Conception By Philip Shlossman

One of the most effective ways women can improve their odds of a healthy pregnancy is to start taking care of their health before they become pregnant. Going into pregnancy with optimal health tends to make the pregnancy process much easier.

To prepare for a healthy pregnancy, women can take these steps:

Manage your weight by eating nutritious foods and getting regular exercise. Women who maintain a healthy weight have a lower risk of premature and underweight babies.

Take a supplement with folic acid, a vitamin essential to proper fetal development. Consuming enough folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects.

Discuss any current health conditions you may have and medications you take with your doctor. Even over-the-counter medications could affect a pregnancy, and chronic conditions may require special treatment or monitoring during pregnancy.

Avoid tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and toxic chemicals. These can damage the health of the mother and the baby, which will prevent proper development.

About the Author:

As part of his work with expectant mothers in Delaware, Philip Shlossman helps women maintain optimal health in the months before they conceive. Dr. Shlossman holds a Bachelor of Arts from Florida Institute of Technology and a Doctor of Medicine from Texas A&M University.

An Interview with Dr. Philip Shlossman

Dr. Philip Shlossman is a Board Certified OB-GYN at Christiana Care Health Services in Newark, Delaware, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Jefferson Medical College. An expert on the challenges of premature birth, Dr. Shlossman gives advice on how to avoid the tragic scenario.

Who is at risk of premature delivery?

There are many things women can do to decrease their chances of early delivery. But when women wait until they become pregnant to stop smoking or manage chronic diseases, it is often too late. Both malnutrition and obesity also place pregnant women at risk. So dealing with these things right away is important for women of child-bearing age.

Dr. Shlossman, are there particular stages in pregnancy that bear more risk than others?

Receiving prenatal care early in a pregnancy and throughout the pregnancy is extremely important. The factors underlying premature birth are multiple and complex, so it is important to work with a health care provider throughout the pregnancy to both screen for problems and become educated in the best practices of self-care.

Counting Kicks Can Save Babies

Infant mortality is higher in the state of Delaware than any other state in the nation. The Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium (DHMIC) seeks to reverse this statistic though supporting women before, during, and after pregnancy. Dr. Philip Shlossman of the Delaware Center for Maternal Fetal Medicine serves on the DHMIC committee on Data and Science and knows that studies show that a major decrease in fetal movement could be a sign that a baby is having problems.

DHMIC’s “Kicks Count” brochure is a tool for educating mothers about the importance of frequent fetal movement. Mothers should experience 10 kicks within each two-hour period, and if there is a significant change in movement they should call their doctor and go to the labor and delivery unit of their hospital. Dr. Philip Shlossman reminds mothers that babies do not move less toward the end of pregnancy, and by counting kicks every day, mothers will be able to detect changes in a baby’s normal movement patterns.

Philip Shlossman, MD, Discusses the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium

In light of the high rates of infant mortality in Delaware as compared to other states, the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium was formed to improve birth rates throughout the region. Common reasons for infant mortality include preterm births, birth defects, and undersized infants. However, a woman’s adoption of healthy practices prior to becoming pregnant serves as the best way to lessen the chances of this situation happening. To encourage better lifestyles, the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium runs public education programs and community outreach activities. Moreover, it focuses on racism, discrimination, and other problems with healthcare and social service providers so that all women can receive the best attention for themselves and their babies.

A government-supported group, the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium consists of members of the Delaware House of Representatives, the Delaware State Senate, the Governor’s Office, and other bodies. Furthermore, the Governor appoints members from the community, many of whom have medical backgrounds, to the group.

About the Author:
Board-certified in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Philip Shlossman, MD, primarily cares for patients at Delaware Center for Maternal & Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, Inc. in Newark. Additionally, Dr. Shlossman sits on the Data and Science Committee of the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium.

A Look at the Delaware Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, by Dr. Philip Shlossman

The Delaware Center for Maternal and Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care, Inc. provides top-quality care to pregnant mothers and their babies. With an expert team of perinatologists, the two facilities that comprise this entity understand many of the issues that can occur due to or during childbirth. Specialists also assist during high-risk pregnancies caused by chronic illness, mothers being over 35 years of age, prior pregnancy losses, and the existence of diabetes.

Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, these Newark-based clinics, part of the Christiana Care Health System, also evaluate the baby while the infant is in utero. Using basic and targeted ultrasounds, duplex Dopplers, contraction stress tests, and other devices, the professionals at the Delaware Center can recognize growth and structural conditions and make treatment recommendations to the parents. Additionally, the center offers genetic counseling and first-trimester screenings.

About the Author:
An award-winning obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Philip Shlossman has tended to patients for over 20 years. Focusing on fetal medicine, Dr. Shlossman has acted as Vice President of the Delaware Center for Maternal & Fetal Medicine of Christiana Care since 2007.

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