News for moms-to-be with preeclampsia: Hospital choice helps avoid a cesarean delivery

December 03, 2003

ST. LOUIS -- Pregnant women who have preeclampsia are more likely to avoid a cesarean delivery if they go to a hospital that offers the most specialized maternal and fetal care, according to Saint Louis University research recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

"Levels of expertise and staffing at tertiary hospitals may allow greater attempts and success with vaginal delivery among women with preeclampsia compared with primary or secondary hospitals," writes Dorothea Mostello, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and women's health at Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Between 5 and 8 percent of women develop preeclampsia -- a condition characterized by high blood pressure and protein in the urine -- during their pregnancies. Women may experience symptoms including swelling, sudden weight gain, headaches and vision changes or may have little indication of a problem. Preeclampsia can develop gradually or very rapidly.

"Our analysis of a large population of women with preeclampsia revealed that the likelihood of cesarean delivery is greater at primary and secondary care hospitals than tertiary care hospitals," Dr. Mostello wrote.

In addition to the services provided at primary and secondary hospitals, tertiary hospitals offer complete maternity and neonatal care, intrapartum and neonatal intensive care, transport service, outreach education service and perinatal research.
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Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first M.D. degree west of the Mississippi River. Saint Louis University School of Medicine is a pioneer in geriatric medicine, organ transplantation, chronic disease prevention, cardiovascular disease, neurosciences and vaccine research, among others. The School of Medicine trains physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health services on a local, national and international level.

Saint Louis University

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