At-risk pregnancies and complicated births
The Mother and Baby Department at the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc has all the infrastructure needed to deal with every type of critical situation before, during and after birth.
A pregnancy is said to be “at-risk” when a specific situation or condition may affect the health of the mother or the baby and/or impact on the normal development of the pregnancy. The most common risk factors are:
- the mother’s age (> 40)
- a multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc)
- a history of problems in pregnancy (premature opening of the cervix, baby born prematurely, etc)
- a particular medical history or chronic disease in the mother (diabetes, hypertension, heart transplant, etc).
Problems of pregnancy or birth are often difficult or impossible to foresee. A “normal” pregnancy may end in a difficult birth. Conversely, many at-risk pregnancies, if correctly monitored, can lead to a problem-free birth. But in all cases, a pregnant woman must receive medical supervision, if only to ensure that everything is fine!
All the necessary infrastructure
The Obstetric and Neonatal Departments at the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc are renowned for their excellent infrastructure and the high quality of their care. Every year, 1,800 births take place here, three quarters of which are at-risk pregnancies.
In addition to a delivery suite and a maternity ward, the Mother and Child Department also has:
- a foetal medicine unit (consultations, ultrasounds, invasive and non-invasive techniques)
- a “Maternal Intensive Care” (MIC) Unit – an in-patient unit for at-risk pregnancies
- two neonatalogy units which look after newborns and premature babies from 24 weeks of pregnancy and/or requiring specialist care
- “intensive monitoring” consultation for out-patient care of at-risk pregnancies and obstetric emergencies.
Specialist medical staff
The Mother and Baby Department is also renowned for the expertise, know-how and soft skills of its caregivers.
The staff includes some fifteen gynaecologists and obstetricians (consultants and registrars), around a hundred midwives, specialist nurses and child nurses, along with a perinatal mental health team. All these care teams are also trained to respond sensitively in the worst of cases: providing support during difficulties, bereavement and perinatal bereavement (1).
Many patients from abroad and foreigners living in Belgium are cared for by the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc. The care team speak French and English and many offer other languages such as Dutch, Arabic, etc.
(1) A death is described as perinatal when it occurs before, during or after the birth.