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Delivery Risks

Through our affiliation with UCSF, Washington Hospital offers the Prenatal Diagnostic Center. With state-of-the-art technology and highly-trained staff, potential risks or problems with the fetus can be identified (and often treated) prior to the birth. See page for more details.

Washington Hospital also has a Special Care Nursery. Through an affiliation with UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Washington Hospital operates a nine-bed intermediate intensive care nursery "satellite” providing ongoing care for infants with special needs. UCSF neonatal and pediatric specialists are now at Washington Hospital. See for more details.

  • Breech position affects delivery - Breech presentation is when a baby's bottom or bottom and feet are in position to emerge first during birth, rather than the normal headfirst position.
  • Diagnostic tests can provide early detection of birth defects - Common prenatal diagnostic tests reveal important information about birth defects. Not all pregnant women should have all of these tests. Tests to be excluded are amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS).
  • Hormones cause changes in body and emotions - Certain hormone levels rise during pregnancy. There are a variety of hormones that serve different purposes.
  • If you have diabetes - Women with diabetes have a good chance of having a healthy baby, if they are able to achieve stable blood sugar control.
  • Low birthweight spells problems for babies - Low birthweight seriously affects a baby's health and even survival. A mother's behavior before and during pregnancy can affect baby's birth weight.
  • Monitoring can provide early warning for problems during birth - Using special instruments, your doctor can monitor the health of your baby while he's still inside you.
  • Preterm babies require special care - Babies born three weeks or more before their due date have special needs, more so the earlier they are born.
  • Rh factor can complicate pregnancy - Although the Rh factor can put a fetus or newborn at risk in rare cases, the use of a blood product, called Rh immunoglobulin (Rhogam), utilized since 1968, has eliminated problems for many people.
  • Some babies are late for a very important date - Most overdue babies are born without problems. Sometimes, because it's not always easy to accurately determine the due date, a "late" baby isn't really late.
  • Specialized hospital units provide special care to sick babies - Today, most major medical centers are equipped with an intermediate, intensive, or neonatal intensive care unit to care for premature or sick newborns.
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