Our OB Emergency Department is here if you need us
Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children has an obstetric emergency department that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week to address any concerns you may have during your pregnancy. The 10-bed unit is staffed with highly experienced labor and delivery nurses, nurse practitioners and board-certified obstetricians who are available to answer questions throughout your entire pregnancy. Please note that if you come to the obstetrical emergency department with a non-obstetric complaint, such as chest pain or an orthopedic injury, you may be transferred to the main emergency department where you can see physicians that specialize in evaluating and managing your particular symptoms.
During the first trimester, common reasons to come to the emergency department include bleeding and vomiting. If you come in the first trimester with bleeding, your evaluation will most likely include a urine pregnancy test, pelvic exam, blood work and an ultrasound. Please know the sonographers performing your ultrasound are not allowed to share any images or results with you. The ultrasound results with be reviewed with you by the emergency department physician. The main concerns at this point are to rule out an ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that is not in the right location, or a miscarriage. If you come in with nausea and vomiting, you will be asked for a urine sample to see if you are well hydrated. If you have signs and symptoms of dehydration, you may receive intravenous fluids. You will be offered medications for nausea as well.
During the second trimester, patients may come in for a variety of concerns. Frequently, people come in with symptoms of preterm labor or possible rupture of membranes. If you are over 24 weeks, you will be placed on a fetal monitor to check on your baby and evaluate for contractions. Your nurse may obtain swabs from the vagina before checking your cervix. These swabs can be used to test for amniotic fluid leakage and to determine if you are at increased risk for early labor. If you are contracting prematurely, you may receive medications to stop your contractions.
During the third trimester, common reasons to present are labor, rupture of membranes, and vaginal bleeding. You will be placed on a fetal monitor to check on your baby and evaluate your contractions. You may have a speculum exam to look for amniotic fluid leakage. If you are contracting, you may wait in the emergency department for a cervical recheck in an hour or two to see if your cervical dilation is changing. You may be offered the option to walk in the hallways. If you need admission, your doctor or the doctor on call will be called for orders.
Please know that we are here for you throughout your pregnancy whenever you need us.
By Amy M. Takacs, MD
Dr. Takacs is an OBGYN with Huntsville Hospital Obstetrics & Gynecology and the OB Hospitalist Program at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children.