Pregnancy and birth are major life events and all pregnancies involve a certain degree of risk to both mother and baby.
While many pregnancies are without any complications, some encounter life-threatening events for the mother or for the fetus. When critical complications of pregnancy arise, patients may need care from specialists or from a health care facility that offers specialized, intensive care to ensure the best possible outcomes for mothers and babies alike.
The Medical City (TMC) is home to one of the country’s few intensive maternal units that offer comprehensive high-risk perinatal services combined with holistic care by experienced, highly-skilled medical professionals.
TMC recently launched its expanded Maternal Intensive Care Unit (MICU) to accommodate more high-risk patients. Maximizing TMC’s broad range of medical fields with the highest levels of expertise, MICU offers intensive monitoring of mother and baby in close coordination with other clinical departments, such as nursing, internal medicine, cardiology, and surgery among others.
Previously, the MICU could only accommodate up to three patients at a time. The new and enhanced MICU now has seven beds, each equipped with a continuous electronic fetal monitor connected to a centralized monitor, which allows close and strict antenatal surveillance.
Medical devices such as cardiac monitors or fetal heart rate monitoring devices, maternal vital signs monitors (for blood pressure, pulse, and other signs), and ultrasound machines are ready for use when necessary. Infusion pumps, blood warmers, blood filters and other similar equipment needed to support hemodynamically unstable patients (or those with abnormal blood pressure) are also available.
The specialty beds have removable headboards and adjustable positions. Adequate lighting for bedside procedures, suction equipment and hypo/hyperthermia blankets are always readily available when needed.
Strategically located within the Delivery Suite area, the MICU offers more privacy for the care of high-risk mothers and provides adequate space for the multidisciplinary team of experts so they can attend to their critically ill patients with ease.
Whether a pregnancy is considered high-risk due to hypertension or a heart condition, multiple births, diabetes and other endocrine disorders, or for any other reasons, MICU’s highly trained team works together to give the mother and baby the best care possible.
The multidisciplinary team is usually composed of experts from Perinatology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Neonatology, Obstetrical Anesthesia, Genetics, Medicine, Surgery, Nursing, and Laboratory departments.
Patients who were admitted to MICU may seek outpatient services at the High-risk Clinic inside the Women’s Health Care Center for continuity of care.
“Our goal at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is to deliver the most comprehensive quality care for all mothers including high-risk pregnant mothers and their babies and the recent expansion of the MICU and establishment of the High-risk Clinic will be crucial for us to attain this goal,” says Dr. Cecilia Vicencio, head of the TMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
“With our team of experienced and competent medical professionals, modern facilities and advanced technology, we would like to reach more patients especially those needing our expertise in perinatal care,” adds Dr. Irene Quinio, Training Officer, Section of Perinatology.
The MICU accepts patients with critical complications of pregnancy including hypertensive disorders, preterm labor, second and third trimester bleeding, disorders of the amniotic fluid, fetal growth restriction, and complicated multi-fetal pregnancy (discordant twins, one fetal-death-in-utero, and conjoined twins).
Expectant mothers with worsening or poor control of medical conditions but not requiring intensive care at the Adult ICU are also eligible for MICU admission. These medical conditions include diabetes mellitus, heart disease, bronchial asthma, chronic hypertensive vascular disease, hematologic and neurologic disorders, and maternal infections such as pneumonia, pyelonephritis, acute gastroenteritis, pulmonary tuberculosis.
Dr. Quinio adds that pregnant patients whose medical conditions are stable but the fetal condition is a priority are likewise admitted at the MICU. An example is fetal structural abnormalities that require fetal monitoring and immediate postnatal intervention or those with conditions that may require invasive procedures. These patients require a referral to the Perinatology service.
There are also other cases or conditions requiring admission to the MICU such as post-operative pregnant patients with stable hemodynamic status; those with multiple injury but with stable cardiorespiratory and hemodynamic status; those with toxic ingestion and drug overdose but with no threat of acute decompensation of major organ system, and severely-ill pregnant patients who are ideally admitted in the Adult ICU but are in active labor.
If the baby needs special attention, TMC also has a developmentally supportive family-centered Neonatal Unit. The unit specializes in the care of ill or premature newborn infants and is staffed by competent neonatologists and other allied medical practitioners to restore an infant’s better health.
For more information about the Maternal Intensive Care Unit, please call 9881000.