How a Stressful High-Risk Pregnancy - with the Right Support - Resulted in a Healthy Baby Boy

May 15, 2014, 13:30 ET from Kaiser Permanente

OAKLAND, Calif., May 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- On a February morning in 2013, Tisha Arroyo breathed her first sigh of relief in six months.

She was 24 weeks pregnant, and though the relief of making it past the six-month milestone wouldn't curb her anxiety about the remaining three months of pregnancy, just coming this far was a victory.

Three years earlier, Tisha had given birth to her first baby at just 24 weeks and two days, an entire 16 weeks shy of a full-term pregnancy. She and her husband, Darron, had gone to the hospital over concern about a stomachache that turned out to be the start of contractions.

Doctors had delivered Tisha's son, Collin, via emergency cesarean section at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center in Southern California. The couple spent three and a half months watching their son grow stronger amid the wires and monitors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit before they were able to take him home for the first time.

The odds tend to be against babies born before 24 weeks. Only 50 percent survive, and those who do face an 80 percent chance of health complications.

Collin was healthy and doing well when his parents took him home.  But when Tisha became pregnant a second time, she knew she faced the risk of once again going into pre-term labor — and its inherent complications.  

"The 24-week milestone was huge, but I never really relaxed or stopped counting down the weeks," Tisha remembers. "We set tiny goals for every few weeks we made it without pre-term labor."

Tisha spent her pregnancy under the watchful eye of Leah Battista, MD, an ob-gyn at Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City, Calif. "With her second pregnancy, we needed to get to 36 weeks," Dr. Battista recalls. "Then she could take home the baby."

Just hours after hitting the 36-week mark, Tisha went into labor and delivered a healthy baby boy.

Every pregnancy is unique, and there is not just one trigger that can cause pre-term labor. High-risk pregnancies are often unavoidable, but women can decrease their chance of a high-risk pregnancy before conception.

Dr. Battista has these tips for women planning to become pregnant:

  • Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen. A healthy pregnancy greatly depends on how healthy the mom is before she becomes pregnant.
  • Control chronic health issues. Chronic health issues like diabetes and hypertension can complicate pregnancy, and the health of the baby.
  • Take your daily prenatal supplement with folic acid. To reap the full benefits of prenatal vitamins, begin taking them three months before you plan to become pregnant.

For more information on preparing for a healthy pregnancy, check out this page on Kaiser Permanente's website

About Kaiser Permanente

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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente