Obstetrics

Clinically Integrated Obstetric Care Before, During and After Delivery

Loyola Medicine provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary obstetrics care for women considering pregnancy, as well as pregnant patients and their developing babies. Whether you are expecting a normal delivery or have a medical condition that requires extra care, our dedicated team of doctors, surgeons, sonographers, pediatric subspecialists, genetic counselors, perinatologists, neonatologists and nurses will provide expert care for you and your baby during this very special time. 

For patients with high-risk pregnancies, Loyola’s maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialists will provide you with individualized prenatal care and help to manage any pre-existing conditions that may be worrisome during this time. They will coordinate all tests to monitor your baby’s health and development. 

Your MFM doctor will check for birth defects, blood disorders and heart problems and arrange surgery if necessary. Your doctor also will coordinate care with your obstetrician to care for any health problems experienced by the mother after delivery, such as infections, heavy bleeding or hypertension

Why Choose Loyola for Obstetrics?

Loyola provides truly integrated obstetric care before, during and after delivery. When you come to Loyola University Medical Center, your team is prepared for the expected and the unexpected. You can depend on care that will meet and exceed your needs in comfortable setting.

Loyola’s comfortable rooms, which are designed with families in mind, are outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. Loyola’s rooms support rooming-in with your baby, so you won’t have to be separated from your infant during this time of bonding.

Loyola’s state-designated Level III Perinatal Center has a proven track record of improving survival rates of high-risk babies born to mothers who have conditions that require advanced medical or surgical care. Our skilled clinicians provide coordinated high-risk obstetric and neonatal services for some of the most challenging cases in Illinois, serving nine regional hospitals with a combined total of 9,500 babies delivered each year. We provide individualized consultations in both inpatient and outpatient settings and are available to arrange transportation for high-risk babies to Loyola on a 24/7 basis. Our board-certified specialists are on-call around the clock, seven days a week.

Loyola has one of the state’s highest survival rates for low-birth-weight infants. Our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) cares for more than 400 critically ill newborns each year. Loyola’s doctors have successfully delivered more than 3,000 babies who weighed less than two pounds, including the world’s smallest and second-smallest surviving babies. In addition, Loyola’s NICU serves as a national model for care with a survival rate that is among the best in the country. We are well-equipped to care for any difficulty you or your baby may have.

Loyola is also the only academic medical center in the Chicago area to win the coveted Baby-Friendly USA designation, a reflection of our dedication to help mothers successfully breastfeed their newborns. This is part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative that was launched in 1991 by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

As part of an academic medical center, Loyola’s expert clinicians perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and medical treatments in numerous locations across the Chicago area. In addition, our nurses have earned Magnet status, which means they have been recognized for delivering the highest level of care.

What Obstetric Conditions are Treated at Loyola?

Loyola’s obstetricians focus on the care of women before, during and after delivery and strive to provide an optimal birth experience. Between our two campuses, our labor specialists deliver almost 2,000 babies each year and have experience with all types of obstetric conditions, including:

  • Abnormal test results
  • Abruptio placenta
  • Amniotic fluid embolism
  • Anxiety
  • Breech delivery
  • Cholestasis of pregnancy
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Depression (before, during and after delivery)
  • Diabetes (gestational, type 1 and type 2)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Fetal anomaly (abnormal fetal growth, macrosomia, fetal growth restriction)
  • Genetic conditions (Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis)
  • Gestational trophoblastic disease
  • Heart disease
  • Hormone disorders
  • Hypertension
  • Infectious diseases (parvovirus, toxoplasmosis, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS)
  • Kidney disease
  • Low or excessive amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios/polyhydramnios)
  • Lupus
  • Miscarriage
  • Multiple gestation (twins, triplets or quadruplets )
  • Obesity
  • Placenta previa
  • Platelet alloimmunization (Rh complications)
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Premature birth
  • Premature rupture
  • Preterm cervical dilation
  • Recurrent preterm labor and delivery
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Spina bifida​

What Diagnostic Tests are Used During Pregnancy?

Loyola’s obstetricians are highly experienced in diagnosing and caring for a wide variety of conditions occurring during pregnancy. To provide a diagnosis or assess your condition, your doctor may request screening or testing, including:

  • Advanced obstetric ultrasound — Using high-frequency sound waves, your Loyola technologist can produce moving images to monitor the health and development of your baby during pregnancy. This test is painless, non-invasive, uses no radiation and can be used to detect conditions that could affect the baby’s development and delivery. Learn more about ultrasounds
     
  • Amniocentesis — During this procedure, amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus and tested for signs of genetic disorders or abnormalities. Amniocentesis is usually performed at 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. This test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage. 
     
  • Blood tests — Your doctor may use blood testing to assess your baby’s risk for birth defects such as Down syndrome. This test is most informative at 15 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. 
     
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) — For women with a family history of genetic conditions or if the mother is older than 35, CVS may be recommended to assess the baby’s risk for a genetic condition such as Down syndrome. This test carries a small risk of miscarriage. 
     
  • Cordocentesis or umbilical cord sampling — During this test, a sample of the baby’s blood is removed from the umbilical cord and tested for blood conditions and infections. This test is invasive and carries a risk of miscarriage. 
     
  • Genetic counseling — For parents-to-be with a baby at risk of a birth defect or an inherited disease, Loyola offers counseling and genetic testing to provide information and support. Learn more about genetic counseling.
     
  • Glucose screening — Glucose screening is a routine test performed between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. This test is used to determine if the mother has gestational diabetes. 
     
  • Nonstress test (NST) — This test is non-invasive and used to measure changes in your baby’s heart rate and overall well-being. This test may be recommended if your baby is not moving as frequently as usual, if you are overdue, or if there is any reason to suspect that the baby is in distress. This test can signal that there may be placental or umbilical cord problems.  
     
  • Postpartum depression — We screen our patients during pregnancy and after delivery to identify women who are at risk or have postpartum depression or postpartum blues.
     
  • Triple test — This test, also known as the Kettering test or Bart’s test, may be performed during the second trimester to check for chromosomal abnormalities, including neural tube defects.

How are Obstetric Conditions Treated?

Loyola’s obstetricians specialize in the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions during pregnancy, as well as the gynecologic health of women. Loyola’s OB/GYNs have received specialized training to diagnose complex conditions and provide the most advanced treatment options. Your doctor can provide a referral to a Loyola specialist if needed. 

Treatment for obstetric conditions or pregnancy complications may include:

  • Fetal monitoring
  • Medications
  • Pain management
  • Patient education
  • Prenatal care
  • Surgery (laparoscopic, open surgery or C-section)

Exceptional Support and Classes for Childbirth Preparation and Parenting

For the benefit of our parents-to-be, Loyola offers classes and support to provide you with information, prepare you for childbirth and parenting, learn techniques to use during labor and help you make informed decisions. We offer a range of classes and support programs for the various needs of expectant parents:

  • Breastfeeding class — Breastfeeding has wonderful benefits for both baby and mother. As a Baby-Friendly Hospital, we will instruct new moms interested in learning effective nursing techniques.
     
  • Breastfeeding education and support — As part of the postpartum care provided at Loyola, our skilled lactation consultants provide support for mothers who are just beginning to breastfeed their infants and for those experiencing difficulty with breastfeeding.
     
  • Cesarean birth and vaginal birth class  — We understand that you want to be well-prepared for anything during your upcoming delivery. Whether you are planning to have a vaginal delivery, have a scheduled C-section, have had a C-section in the past or will be attempting vaginal delivery after a previous C-section, this class will help both you and your partner prepare for any outcome.
     
  • Chaplain services for obstetric health — Loyola’s obstetric health chaplains minister to women who are here for routine and high-risk pregnancies. Our chaplains often see patients who are adjusting to unanticipated pregnancy or delivery issues. They have vast experience in providing emotional support to mothers and families who are dealing with anxiety, loss of control, stress and changes in routine.
     
  • Childbirth preparation class — Our childbirth preparation class will explore the labor and delivery experience. We will cover relaxation, concentration and breathing techniques that will help you through the labor process.
     
  • Genetic counseling — For parents-to-be with a baby at risk of a birth defect or an inherited disease, Loyola offers counseling and genetic testing to provide information and support. 
     
  • High-risk pregnancy — Our experienced maternal-fetal medicine specialists will help diagnose and treat any condition that may arise or affect mothers who are expecting a high-risk birth or pregnancy. Loyola’s clinicians are experts in caring for high-risk pregnancies and have vast experience in complicated deliveries.
     
  • Infant care class — First-time parents will learn how to care for their newborn and how to handle those first weeks of sleepless nights.
     
  • Lactation services — Loyola has experienced lactation consultants to help guide new mothers learning how to breastfeed their babies. Loyola is the only academic medical center in Chicago to be named a Baby-Friendly Hospital, meaning that our medical center has been recognized for providing optimal care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.
     
  • Postpartum support — About 16 percent of women in the United States suffer from postpartum depression after the birth of a child. Detecting childbirth-related depression in the early stages can help women seek the care they need to protect themselves and their infants—yet these conditions often go untreated. Loyola’s mental health clinicians provide support for women throughout pregnancy and after childbirth; ask your doctor for a referral if you need extra support. 

Specialized Programs for Pre- and Postnatal Care

Loyola’s obstetrics program offers pre- and postnatal care in outstanding, conveniently located facilities. We have multidisciplinary facilities at the Loyola University Medical Center campus, in addition to outpatient services at other locations. 

We offer the following specialized services to provide you with the most comprehensive care: 

  • Chronic pelvic pain program — Too many women suffer in silence with pelvic pain, but great advances have been made in diagnosing and treating these conditions. Our team can help ease or erase your symptoms. Learn more about chronic pelvic pain.
     
  • Fetal Assessment Center — Loyola’s center provides expert obstetrical ultrasound services, perinatal consultative services, genetic counseling, diagnostic testing and fetal heart rate testing. All assessment services are conveniently provided at the Loyola Outpatient Center. Learn more about our Fetal Assessment Center.
     
  • Maternal-fetal medicine services — Our experienced maternal-fetal medicine specialists will help diagnose and treat any condition that may arise or affect mothers who are expecting a high-risk birth or pregnancy. They are experts at complicated pregnancies and have vast experience in complex deliveries. Learn more about maternal-fetal medicine services.
     
  • Neonatal follow-up program — Our specialists will evaluate infants at risk of developmental delays after they leave the hospital. A neonatologist will attend to babies until they reach 18 months, after which they are seen by a child development specialist. We also provide additional care for infants sent home on monitors and oxygen, as well as those receiving caffeine therapy for apnea of prematurity (AOP).
     
  • Neonatal integrated home care program — Our experts will train and support your family in the care of preterm infants and babies born with certain conditions. NICU nurses trained in home care will provide high-tech infusion services, physical and occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, medical social services and instruction in transitioning a preterm infant to oral feeding. Learn more about pediatric home care.
     
  • Neonatal intensive care unit — Loyola has one of the state’s highest survival rates for low-birth-weight infants. Our neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) cares for more than 400 critically ill newborns each year. Loyola’s doctors have successfully delivered more than 3,000 babies who weighed less than two pounds, including the world’s smallest and second-smallest surviving babies. In addition, Loyola’s NICU serves as a national model for care with a survival rate that is among the best in the country. 
     
  • Pelvic floor physical therapy — Loyola’s program works in conjunction with our chronic pelvic pain program, which was one of the first such programs in the United States. Our all-female team utilizes advanced techniques to provide relief for many treatment-resistant conditions. Our team is trained in pelvic health and may use hands-on techniques to release trigger points and re-educate muscles affected by pelvic and nerve pain. Loyola’s physical therapists are skilled in evaluating and treating dysfunction in the joints, muscles, nerves and scar tissue. These treatments can help strengthen pelvic muscles, which may reduce pelvic and bladder pain, bladder spasms, leakage and the sudden urge to urinate. Learn more about pelvic floor physical therapy.
     
  • Perinatal Center — Our state-designated Level III Perinatal Center has a proven track record of improving survival rates of high-risk babies born to mothers who have conditions that require advanced medical or surgical care. Our skilled clinicians provide coordinated high-risk obstetrical and neonatal services for some of the most challenging cases in Illinois. We provide individualized consultations in both inpatient and outpatient settings and are available to arrange transportation for high-risk babies to Loyola on a 24/7 basis. Our board-certified specialists are on-call around the clock, seven days a week. Learn more about our Perinatal Center.

Advanced Research to Improve Future Obstetric Treatments

Loyola’s expert obstetrics program is actively pursuing new research with a focus on patient-centered outcomes, including studies on:

As an academic medical center, Loyola is dedicated to improving future treatments by conducting research on new diagnostics and treatments. Loyola’s patients benefit from research discoveries made here; read about Loyola’s current clinical trials.