New Insights into Pregnancy Complications

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Obstetrics & Gynecology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 December 2023) | Viewed by 19280

Special Issue Editor

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z7, Canada
Interests: pathology; developmental biology; pediatric pathology; placenta; pregnancy complications; translational research
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The majority of pregnancies result in a good outcome for mother and baby. Nonetheless, major complications of pregnancy persist, and their incidence has remained relatively stable. Such complications include: hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, fetal growth restriction, and preterm and stillbirth. These major complications exact an ongoing toll on maternal and child health globally in low-, middle-, and high-income countries alike; however, some key differences persist with regard to epidemiology and public health. Advances in placentology have led to new insights into the vascular and immunological mechanisms for these complications. Translational research has led to new biomarkers and new imaging approaches. Clinical research continues to change practice: ASA prophylaxis can be used to prevent recurrent stillbirth, IUGR and PE; the CP ratio is becoming a standard component of Doppler reports (especially for late-onset IUGR); and the role of progestins in preterm prevention has been lauded, questioned, and then defended. In this Special Issue, we will study the major complications of pregnancy through the lens of clinicians and scientists, and consider what we have learned recently about biology that can bring about improvement and innovation in maternal and fetal care. We will also provide a global perspective, and will look at the impact of socioeconomic indicators on these major complications of pregnancy.

Topics will include:

  • Stillbirth;
  • Growth restriction (IUGR);
  • Preterm;
  • Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy;
  • The impact of socioeconomic indicators and nutrition on the above.

Dr. David Grynspan
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • high blood pressure
  • fetal growth restriction
  • preterm
  • stillbirth
  • gestational diabetes
  • preeclampsia

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 184 KiB  
Editorial
Placental Pathology and Pregnancy Complications
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(15), 5053; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12155053 - 01 Aug 2023
Viewed by 861
Abstract
Placental pathology assessment following delivery provides an opportunity to identify the presence and type of disease that can mediate major obstetrical complications, especially in cases where the fetus is growth-restricted, born premature, or stillborn, or if the mother suffers from severe hypertensive morbidities [...] Read more.
Placental pathology assessment following delivery provides an opportunity to identify the presence and type of disease that can mediate major obstetrical complications, especially in cases where the fetus is growth-restricted, born premature, or stillborn, or if the mother suffers from severe hypertensive morbidities [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)

Research

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11 pages, 938 KiB  
Article
Perioperative Complications in Patients with Preeclampsia Undergoing Caesarean Section Surgery
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(22), 7050; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12227050 - 12 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 972
Abstract
Caesarean section has risks of bleeding, infection and thromboembolism, and neuroendocrine-metabolic, and inflammatory-immune responses that may worsen outcomes in patients with preeclampsia. There is little research examining perioperative, as opposed to peripartum, outcomes in patients with preeclampsia. We conducted a single-centrecentre retrospective cohort [...] Read more.
Caesarean section has risks of bleeding, infection and thromboembolism, and neuroendocrine-metabolic, and inflammatory-immune responses that may worsen outcomes in patients with preeclampsia. There is little research examining perioperative, as opposed to peripartum, outcomes in patients with preeclampsia. We conducted a single-centrecentre retrospective cohort study of perioperative patients with preeclampsia over an eight-month period to determine the rate of perioperative complication. Seventy-two patients were included. The maternal complication rate was 59.7 per 100 operations (95% CI 48.2 to 70.3%). Severe complications included pulmonary oedema 2 (2.8%), haemorrhage > 1000 mL 5 (6.9%), and blood transfusion 2 (2.8%). Twenty (27.8%) patients had a hospital length of stay ≥7 days. The rate of anaemia (haemoglobin < 110 g/L) on hospital discharge was 42 per 100 operations (95% CI 31.0 to 53.2%). Patient representation rate to hospital after discharge was 23.6% per 100 operations (95% CI 15.3 to 34.6%). There were no maternal deaths. The neonatal complication rate was 38.9 per 100 operations (95% CI 28.9 to 51.1%) with one foetal death. Patients with preeclampsia undergoing caesarean section are a very high-risk surgical group who experience significant perioperative complications. Urgent action is needed to confirm these findings and improve outcomes in these patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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10 pages, 854 KiB  
Article
Prediction of Tubal Rupture in Ectopic Pregnancy Using Methotrexate Treatment Protocols and Hematological Markers
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(20), 6459; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12206459 - 11 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1073
Abstract
Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy complication in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. Although medical treatment is chosen first, sometimes a rupture may occur, and surgical treatment may be required. The parameters to predict rupture have been the subject of many [...] Read more.
Ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy complication in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. Although medical treatment is chosen first, sometimes a rupture may occur, and surgical treatment may be required. The parameters to predict rupture have been the subject of many studies. This study aimed to compare the efficacy of different methotrexate protocols in the treatment of ectopic pregnancy and determine the parameters and methotrexate treatment protocols that can predict the risk of rupture. A total of 128 patients diagnosed with ectopic pregnancy were included in this study. Patients were separated into three categories based on their treatment protocols. Regarding the occurrence of rupture, all three groups were compared. The hematological parameters and methotrexate treatment protocols were analyzed and compared between groups. The mean age was 31.9 years. Parity was significantly higher in patients who received multiple doses of methotrexate compared to the other groups. There were significant variations observed among the groups regarding parity, initial β-hCG values, hematocrit (HTC), and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) (p = 0.048, p < 0.001, p = 0.019, and p = 0.047, respectively). According to receiver operating characteristic analysis, neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) levels were significantly associated with histopathologically confirmed tubal rupture (p < 0.05). NLR levels should be examined in ectopic pregnancy, and the possibility of rupture should be considered in cases with high NLR levels. The potential of NLR to predict ectopic pregnancy rupture should be explored in multicenter prospective studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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10 pages, 886 KiB  
Article
Failure Rate of Medical Treatment for Miscarriage Correlated with the Difference between Gestational Age According to Last Menstrual Period and Gestational Size Calculated via Ultrasound
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(19), 6112; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12196112 - 22 Sep 2023
Viewed by 680
Abstract
Objective: To study whether the interval between gestational age calculated using the last menstrual period (GA-LMP) and gestational age calculated via ultrasound (GA-US) is correlated with the success rate of medical treatment in cases of miscarriages. Methods: This was a retrospective [...] Read more.
Objective: To study whether the interval between gestational age calculated using the last menstrual period (GA-LMP) and gestational age calculated via ultrasound (GA-US) is correlated with the success rate of medical treatment in cases of miscarriages. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study conducted in a gynecology unit in a tertiary medical center. Women who underwent medical treatment with Misoprostol for miscarriage at the Edith Wolfson Medical Center between 07/2015 and 12/2020 were included. Incomplete or septic miscarriages, multiple pregnancies, patients with irregular periods, and cases of missing data were excluded. Failure of medical treatment was defined as the need for surgical intervention due to a retained gestational sac, severe bleeding or retained products of conception. The cohort study was divided into two groups: patients with successful treatment and patients for whom surgical intervention was eventually needed. We performed both a univariate and multivariate analysis in order to identify whether a correlation between GA-LMP and GA-US interval is indeed a factor in the success rate of a medical abortion. Results: Overall, 778 patients were included in the study. From this cohort 582 (74.9%) had undergone a successful medical treatment, while 196 (25.1%) required surgical intervention due to the failure of medical treatment, as defined above. The GA-LMP to GA-US interval (in weeks) was 2.6 ± 1.4 in the success group, while the GA in the failure group was 3.1 ± 1.6 (p < 0.001). After performing a multivariant regression analysis, we were able to show that the GA-LMP to GA-US interval was found to be independently correlated with an increase in the treatment failure rate (aOR = 1.24, CI 95% (1.01–1.51), p = 0.03). Conclusions: In cases of miscarriage, longer GA-LMP to GA-US interval has been shown to be an independently correlated factor to lower success rate of the medical treatment option. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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14 pages, 2262 KiB  
Article
Reference Values for Birth Weight in Relation to Gestational Age in Poland and Comparison with the Global Percentile Standards
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(17), 5736; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12175736 - 03 Sep 2023
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Introduction. Percentiles of birth weight by gestational age (GA) are an essential tool for clinical assessment and initiating interventions to reduce health risks. Unfortunately, Poland lacks a reference chart for assessing newborn growth based on the national population. This study aimed to establish [...] Read more.
Introduction. Percentiles of birth weight by gestational age (GA) are an essential tool for clinical assessment and initiating interventions to reduce health risks. Unfortunately, Poland lacks a reference chart for assessing newborn growth based on the national population. This study aimed to establish a national reference range for birth weight percentiles among newborns from singleton deliveries in Poland. Additionally, we sought to compare these percentile charts with the currently used international standards, INTERGROWTH-21 and WHO. Materials and Methods. All singleton live births (n = 3,745,239) reported in Poland between 2010 and 2019 were analyzed. Using the Lambda Mu Sigma (LMS) method, the Generalized Additive Models for Location Scale, and Shape (GAMLSS) package, smoothed percentile charts (3–97) covering GA from 23 to 42 weeks were constructed. Results. The mean birth weight of boys was 3453 ± 540 g, and this was higher compared with that of girls (3317 ± 509 g). At each gestational age, boys exhibited higher birth weights than girls. The weight range between the 10th and 90th percentiles was 1061 g for boys and 1016 g for girls. Notably, the birth weight of Polish newborns was higher compared to previously published international growth standards. Conclusion. The reference values for birth weight percentiles established in this study for Polish newborns differ from the global standards and are therefore useful for evaluating the growth of newborns within the national population. These findings hold clinical importance in identifying neonates requiring postbirth monitoring. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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19 pages, 2850 KiB  
Article
Therapeutic Plasma Exchange in Early-Onset Preeclampsia: A 7-Year Monocentric Experience
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(13), 4289; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12134289 - 26 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1139
Abstract
Different therapeutic apheresis techniques have been clinically tested to delay preterm delivery in the case of eoPE (early-onset preeclampsia). Our study evaluated the feasibility of TPE (therapeutic plasma exchange) compared to standard-of-care treatment. Twenty patients treated with 95 TPE sessions were included in [...] Read more.
Different therapeutic apheresis techniques have been clinically tested to delay preterm delivery in the case of eoPE (early-onset preeclampsia). Our study evaluated the feasibility of TPE (therapeutic plasma exchange) compared to standard-of-care treatment. Twenty patients treated with 95 TPE sessions were included in the final analysis and retrospectively matched with 21 patients with comparable placental dysfunction. Gestational age at admission was 23.75 ± 2.26 versus 27.57 ± 2.68 weeks of gestation (WoG) in the control group (p = < 0.001), mean sFlt-1/PlGF ratio was 1946.26 ± 2301.63 versus 2146.70 ± 3273.63 (p = 0.821) and mean sEng was 87.63 ± 108.2 ng/mL versus 114.48 ± 88.78 ng/mL (p = 0.445). Pregnancy was prolonged for 8.25 ± 5.97 days when TPE was started, compared to 3.14 ± 4.57 days (p = 0.004). The median sFlt-1/PlGF Ratio was 1430 before and 1153 after TPE (−18.02%). Median sEng fell from 55.96 ng/mL to 47.62 mg/mL (−27.73%). The fetal survival rate was higher in TPE-treated cases. NICU (Neonatal Intensive Center Unit) stay was in the median of 63 days in the TPE group versus 48 days in the standard-of-care group (p = 0.248). To date, this monocentric retrospective study, reports the largest experience with extracorporeal treatments in eoPE worldwide. TPE could improve pregnancy duration and reduce sFlt-1 and sEng in maternal serum without impairing neonatal outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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12 pages, 670 KiB  
Article
Detection and Quantification of Neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) and Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Levels in Early Second Trimester Amniotic Fluid: Investigation into a Possible Correlation with Abnormal Fetal Growth Velocity Patterns
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(12), 4131; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12124131 - 19 Jun 2023
Viewed by 994
Abstract
Background: Abnormal fetal growth is associated with adverse perinatal and long-term outcomes. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these conditions are still to be clarified. Nerve growth factor (NGF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) are two neurotrophins that are mainly involved in the neuroprotection process, namely promotion [...] Read more.
Background: Abnormal fetal growth is associated with adverse perinatal and long-term outcomes. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these conditions are still to be clarified. Nerve growth factor (NGF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) are two neurotrophins that are mainly involved in the neuroprotection process, namely promotion of growth and differentiation, maintenance, and survival of neurons. During pregnancy, they have been correlated with placental development and fetal growth. In this study, we aimed to determine the early 2nd trimester amniotic fluid levels of NGF and NT-3 and to investigate their association with fetal growth. Methods: This is a prospective observational study. A total of 51 amniotic fluid samples were collected from women undergoing amniocentesis early in the second trimester and were stored at −80 °C. Pregnancies were followed up until delivery and birth weight was recorded. Based on birth weight, the amniotic fluid samples were divided into three groups: appropriate for gestational age (AGA), small for gestational age (SGA), and large for gestational age (LGA). NGF and NT-3 levels were determined by using Elisa kits. Results: NGF concentrations were similar between the studied groups; median values were 10.15 pg/mL, 10.15 pg/mL, and 9.14 pg/mL in SGA, LGA, and AGA fetuses, respectively. Regarding NT-3, a trend was observed towards increased NT-3 levels as fetal growth velocity decreased; median concentrations were 11.87 pg/mL, 15.9 pg/mL, and 23.5 pg/mL in SGA, AGA, and LGA fetuses, respectively, although the differences among the three groups were not statistically significant. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that fetal growth disturbances do not induce increased or decreased production of NGF and NT-3 in early second trimester amniotic fluid. The trend observed towards increased NT-3 levels as fetal growth velocity decreased shows that there may be a compensatory mechanism in place that operates in conjunction with the brain-sparing effect. Further associations between these two neurotrophins and fetal growth disturbances are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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11 pages, 588 KiB  
Article
Maternal Right Ventricular and Left Atrial Function in Uncomplicated Twin Pregnancies: A Longitudinal Study
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(18), 5432; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11185432 - 15 Sep 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1381
Abstract
Objective: The knowledge regarding maternal cardiovascular hemodynamic adaptation in twin pregnancies is incomplete. We performed a longitudinal investigation of maternal right ventricular (RV) and left atrial (LA) function in a cohort of uncomplicated twin pregnancies compared to singleton pregnancies. Study design: Healthy women [...] Read more.
Objective: The knowledge regarding maternal cardiovascular hemodynamic adaptation in twin pregnancies is incomplete. We performed a longitudinal investigation of maternal right ventricular (RV) and left atrial (LA) function in a cohort of uncomplicated twin pregnancies compared to singleton pregnancies. Study design: Healthy women with uncomplicated twin pregnancies were prospectively enrolled and assessed by transthoracic echocardiography at 10–15 weeks’ (w) gestation (T1), 19-26 w gestation (T2), and 30–38 w gestation (T3). Subjects with uneventful singleton pregnancies were selected as controls at the same gestational ages. Cardiac findings were compared to those of women with uneventful singleton gestations. RV systolic and diastolic functions were assessed by conventional echocardiography (FAC, TAPSE, sPAP, E, A, DT) and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) (E’, A’, S’, IVA, IVCT, IVRT, ET, MPI), and LA dimensions were calculated. Speckle-tracking imaging was also applied to evaluate RV global longitudinal strain and LA 2D strains (at LV end-systole (LAS) and at atrial contraction (LAA)). Results: Overall, 30 uncomplicated twin and 30 uncomplicated singleton pregnancies were included. Regarding maternal RV function in twins, all the parameters (FAC, TAPSE, sPAP, E, A, E/A, DT, E/E’, IVA, IVCT, MPI and 2D longitudinal strain) were almost stable throughout gestation, with the exception of the TDI findings (E’ decreased from T1 to T3 (p = 0.03), while E’/A’ increased from T1 to T2 and then decreased (p = 0.01); A’ and basal S’ increased (p = 0.04 and p = 0.03, respectively), while IVRT and ET significantly decreased (p = 0.009 and p = 0.007, respectively)). These findings were similar to those found for singleton pregnancies. LA dimensions significantly increased throughout gestation in both twins and singletons (p < 0.001), without intergroup difference. LA strains did not vary during either twin or singleton pregnancies, except for LAA in T1, which was higher among twins than among singletons. Conclusion: Maternal RV and LA function in uncomplicated twin pregnancies does not seem to undergo more significant changes than in singletons, being characterized by similar findings in RV systolic and diastolic functions, as well as LA dimensions and strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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14 pages, 5417 KiB  
Article
Maternal Left Ventricular Function in Uncomplicated Twin Pregnancies: A Speckle-Tracking Imaging Longitudinal Study
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(18), 5283; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11185283 - 07 Sep 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1427
Abstract
Objective: The knowledge of maternal cardiovascular hemodynamic adaptation in twin pregnancies is incomplete. We aimed to longitudinally investigate maternal left ventricular (LV) function in uncomplicated twin pregnancies. Methods: 30 healthy and uncomplicated twin pregnant women and 30 controls with normal singleton pregnancies were [...] Read more.
Objective: The knowledge of maternal cardiovascular hemodynamic adaptation in twin pregnancies is incomplete. We aimed to longitudinally investigate maternal left ventricular (LV) function in uncomplicated twin pregnancies. Methods: 30 healthy and uncomplicated twin pregnant women and 30 controls with normal singleton pregnancies were prospectively enrolled to undergo transthoracic echocardiography at 10–15 week’s gestation (w) (T1), 19–26 w (T2) and 30–38 w (T3). LV dimensions and volumes, as well as LV ejection fraction (LVEF), mass (LVM) and diastolic parameters (at transmitral pulsed wave Doppler and mitral annular plane tissue Doppler), were calculated. Speckle-tracking imaging was also applied to evaluate LV global longitudinal (GLS), radial and circumferential 2D strains. Results: During twin pregnancy, maternal LV dimensions, volumes and LVM had an increasing trend from T1 to T3, similar to singletons, while LVEF remained stable. There was LV remodeling/hypertrophy in 50% of women at T2 and T3 in both groups. Diastolic function had a worsening trend from T1 to T3 with no differences between twins and singletons, except for higher LV filling pressure (i.e., E/E′) at T2 in twins. Two-dimensional strains did not vary during gestation in either group, except for a linear trend to increase (i.e., worsen) GLS in singletons. Radial and circumferential 2D strains were impaired in about half of the women at each trimester, while GLS was altered in one-fourth/one-third of them in both groups. Conclusion: Maternal LV geometry, dimensions and function are significantly impaired during twin pregnancies, in particular in the second half of gestation, with no significant differences compared to singletons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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12 pages, 568 KiB  
Article
Results of a Five-Year Experience in First Trimester Preeclampsia Screening
J. Clin. Med. 2022, 11(15), 4555; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm11154555 - 04 Aug 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1458
Abstract
Background and Objectives: The study aimed to evaluate the ability defining the risk of developing preeclampsia by a screening test carried out in the first trimester (between 11 + 0 and 13 + 6 weeks of gestational age), in order to identify high-risk [...] Read more.
Background and Objectives: The study aimed to evaluate the ability defining the risk of developing preeclampsia by a screening test carried out in the first trimester (between 11 + 0 and 13 + 6 weeks of gestational age), in order to identify high-risk women requiring more intensive health surveillance. The secondary objective was to evaluate the ability of this test to predict the risk of adverse obstetric outcomes such as fetal growth restriction, intrauterine fetal death, gestational hypertension, HELLP syndrome, placental abruption, and preterm birth. Materials and Methods: This was a single-center study, conducted at the Operative Unit of Obstetrics of the State Hospital of the Republic of San Marino. Medical history was collected at the time of enrolment in writing. Subsequently, obstetric outcomes were collected for each enrolled woman, through the analysis of medical records. Results: From October 2014 to May 2019, 589 pregnant women were recruited, of whom, 474 (80.5%) were included in the “low-risk” group, and 115 (19.5%) in the “high-risk” group. At the time of analysis of this population, the obstetric outcomes were available for 498 women (84.5%), while 91 cases (15.5%) were current pregnancies. The PI of the uterine arteries was not significantly different between the two study groups. Otherwise, a significant difference was highlighted for MAP, which is higher in the case of pregnancies at high risk based on the risk factors only, and for PAPP-A, higher in the case of low-risk pregnancies. Regarding the percentage of fetal DNA, according to the most recent literature data, in our series, we report a statistically significant difference of the average between the low and high-risk groups. Conclusions: In our study, we demonstrate that the multiparametric screening test for early PE performed well in identifying women at high risk of early PE, which certainly has the most severe maternal–fetal outcomes. The data reported that ASA intake at low doses is significantly higher in the population with high-risk tests for both early PE and late PE suggest once again that anamnestic evaluation plays an essential role in women’s screening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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Review

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10 pages, 240 KiB  
Review
Impact of Prenatal and Postnatal Diagnosis on Parents: Psychosocial and Economic Aspects Related to Congenital Heart Defects in Children
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(18), 5773; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12185773 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 777
Abstract
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are defects detected both prenatally and after birth. They are the most common congenital defects. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, CHD remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality in newborns, which has a great impact on economic [...] Read more.
Congenital heart defects (CHD) are defects detected both prenatally and after birth. They are the most common congenital defects. Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment, CHD remain an important cause of morbidity and mortality in newborns, which has a great impact on economic aspects. It is crucial to provide a holistic approach to the care of children with CHD, including regular cardiac check-ups, appropriate drug treatment, surgical or cardiac interventions as needed, rehabilitation, psychological support, and education for patients and their families. Parents experience a variety of psychological problems. This article summarizes the influence of CHD in the psychological and economic areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
11 pages, 557 KiB  
Review
A History of COVID-19 in Pregnancy: A Narrative Review
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(17), 5722; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12175722 - 01 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1200
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread across the world causing a global pandemic. During a pandemic, it becomes increasing important to evaluate the effects on specific populations at risk. In this narrative review, [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread across the world causing a global pandemic. During a pandemic, it becomes increasing important to evaluate the effects on specific populations at risk. In this narrative review, we analyzed the literature regarding COVID-19 infection on the pregnant population as they are at increased risk of infection. COVID-19 did seem to significantly increase the risk of obstetric complications, specifically in underserved and marginalized populations. In general, COVID-19 rarely directly infected the fetus and placenta, apart from a very rare complication called COVID placentitis. In actuality, the mothers were at greatest direct risk due to COVID-19 infection. The most important takeaway from this pandemic is the prospective lesson and effect it had on social determinants of health. Women did not have safe access to antenatal care, leading to a plethora of indirect obstetric complications due to COVID-19. In conclusion, it was women who suffered from the pandemic, not the placenta nor the fetus. It is our duty as physicians to protect pregnant women, allowing the placenta to protect the fetus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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14 pages, 313 KiB  
Review
Insights into Prevention of Health Complications in Small for Gestational Age (SGA) Births in Relation to Maternal Characteristics: A Narrative Review
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(2), 531; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12020531 - 09 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1755
Abstract
Small for gestational age (SGA) births are a significant clinical and public health issue. The objective of this review was to summarize maternal biological and socio-demographic factors and preventive strategies used to reduce the risk of SGA births. A literature search encompassing data [...] Read more.
Small for gestational age (SGA) births are a significant clinical and public health issue. The objective of this review was to summarize maternal biological and socio-demographic factors and preventive strategies used to reduce the risk of SGA births. A literature search encompassing data from the last 15 years was conducted using electronic databases MEDLINE/PubMed, Google Scholar and Scopus to review risk factors and preventive strategies for SGA. Current evidence shows that primiparity, previous stillbirths, maternal age ≤24 and ≥35 years, single motherhood, low socio-economic status, smoking and cannabis use during pregnancy confer a significant risk of SGA births. Studies on alcohol consumption during pregnancy and SGA birth weight are inconclusive. Beneficial and preventive factors include the “Mediterranean diet” and dietary intake of vegetables. Periconceptional folic acid supplementation, maternal 25-hydroxyvitamin D, zinc and iron levels are partly associated with birth weight. No significant associations between COVID-19 vaccinations and birthweight are reported. A midwifery-led model based on early and extensive prenatal care reduces the risk of SGA births in women with low socio-economic status. Major preventive measures relate to the awareness of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of SGA, leading to changes in parents’ lifestyles. These data support that education, monitoring during pregnancy, and implementing preventive strategies are as important as biological determinants in risk reduction of SGA births. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)

Other

11 pages, 706 KiB  
Systematic Review
Caesarean Section for Orthopedic Indications
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(23), 7336; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12237336 - 27 Nov 2023
Viewed by 573
Abstract
Background: The increasing number of late complications described after cesarean sections is prompting a reexamination of the indications for them in pregnant women. The high percentage of pregnancies terminated by preventive cesarean section for non-obstetric reasons also largely involves orthopedic conditions. A challenge [...] Read more.
Background: The increasing number of late complications described after cesarean sections is prompting a reexamination of the indications for them in pregnant women. The high percentage of pregnancies terminated by preventive cesarean section for non-obstetric reasons also largely involves orthopedic conditions. A challenge for obstetricians is pregnant patients with orthopedic conditions both before and during pregnancy. Pregnant women with a history of orthopedic surgery require special attention. The lack of consensus in this area, physicians’ fear of patients’ claims and the skewing of patients’ requests for surgical termination of pregnancy have prompted an analysis and systematization of existing knowledge in this field. Methods: References published up to 30 June 2023 in five databases Pubmed, Embase are included. Keywords have been checked for the following: pubic symphysis diastasis, lumbar disc herniation, past hip arthroplasty and fractures in the pelvic bones. In the described conditions complicating pregnancy, the mode of delivery was taken into account. Results: All included studies were screened and reviewed by at least two authors until an overall consensus of 50 articles was reached. Conclusions: Orthopedic indications for cesarean section in many cases should not be treated imperatively, since natural delivery after correct fusion of a pelvic fracture, implantation of a hip endoprosthesis or a limited dissection of the pubic symphysis is possible and is not associated with a higher risk of obstetric or orthopedic complications. Extra-obstetric indications for cesarean section should be determined individually for each pregnant woman in a multidisciplinary team, since orthopedic conditions may overlap with obstetric pathology in the pelvis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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12 pages, 1516 KiB  
Systematic Review
Influence of Antiphospholipid Antibody-Associated Thrombophilia on the Risk of Preterm Birth: A Systematic Review
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(16), 5316; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12165316 - 15 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
Antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-associated thrombophilia has been implicated in various adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and impaired fetal development. This systematic review aimed to elucidate the relationship between aPL-associated thrombophilia and these outcomes, as well as to identify potential modifiers of this relationship [...] Read more.
Antiphospholipid antibody (aPL)-associated thrombophilia has been implicated in various adverse pregnancy outcomes, including preterm birth and impaired fetal development. This systematic review aimed to elucidate the relationship between aPL-associated thrombophilia and these outcomes, as well as to identify potential modifiers of this relationship such as maternal age, coexisting maternal medical conditions, type of aPL antibodies involved, and the timing of thrombophilia diagnosis during gestation. We conducted a comprehensive literature search in PubMed, Web of Science, Cochrane, and Scopus in May 2023, covering literature published within the last 10 years. Eight articles, involving 2935 patients, were eligible for inclusion in the review. Single aCL was the most common type of aPL found in patients, with rates up to 61.0% in some studies, followed by single LA and single ab2GPI. Multiple aPL antibody positivity was found to be associated with a higher risk of preterm birth, with odds ratios ranging from 1.29 to 9.61. Patient characteristics and previous pregnancy history varied significantly across the studies. Risk factors such as diabetes mellitus, thrombosis, and systemic lupus erythematosus were also variable across the studies, but presence of these risk factors did not consistently affect the risk of preterm birth. Furthermore, although a triple positive aPL test was the most important risk factor for preterm birth, it was observed that thrombophilia treatment during pregnancy significantly reduced the risk by 2.44 times (95% CI = 1.18–6.20). This review supports the evidence for aPL-associated thrombophilia being a significant contributor to preterm birth and fetal developmental abnormalities. Further research is required to investigate the exact mechanisms and to determine the best clinical management for patients with aPL-associated thrombophilia during pregnancy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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20 pages, 877 KiB  
Systematic Review
Placenta-on-a-Chip as an In Vitro Approach to Evaluate the Physiological and Structural Characteristics of the Human Placental Barrier upon Drug Exposure: A Systematic Review
J. Clin. Med. 2023, 12(13), 4315; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm12134315 - 27 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1874
Abstract
Quantification of fetal drug exposure remains challenging since sampling from the placenta or fetus during pregnancy is too invasive. Currently existing in vivo (e.g., cord blood sampling) and ex vivo (e.g., placenta perfusion) models have inherent limitations. A placenta-on-a-chip model is a promising [...] Read more.
Quantification of fetal drug exposure remains challenging since sampling from the placenta or fetus during pregnancy is too invasive. Currently existing in vivo (e.g., cord blood sampling) and ex vivo (e.g., placenta perfusion) models have inherent limitations. A placenta-on-a-chip model is a promising alternative. A systematic search was performed in PubMed on 2 February 2023, and Embase on 14 March 2023. Studies were included where placenta-on-a-chip was used to investigate placental physiology, placenta in different obstetric conditions, and/or fetal exposure to maternally administered drugs. Seventeen articles were included that used comparable approaches but different microfluidic devices and/or different cultured maternal and fetal cell lines. Of these studies, four quantified glucose transfer, four studies evaluated drug transport, three studies investigated nanoparticles, one study analyzed bacterial infection and five studies investigated preeclampsia. It was demonstrated that placenta-on-a-chip has the capacity to recapitulate the key characteristics of the human placental barrier. We aimed to identify knowledge gaps and provide the first steps towards an overview of current protocols for developing a placenta-on-a-chip, that facilitates comparison of results from different studies. Although models differ, they offer a promising approach for in vitro human placental and fetal drug studies under healthy and pathological conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into Pregnancy Complications)
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