Obstetrics is a medical specialty focused on the care of pregnant women, from conception through childbirth and the postpartum period.


Obstetricians are trained to monitor pregnancy and manage complications to ensure the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the baby. They work closely with expectant mothers to provide personalised care to facilitate a calm birth.

Common Obstetric Conditions

  • Overview: A form of diabetes that develops during pregnancy.
  • Causes: Hormonal changes during pregnancy affect insulin effectiveness.
  • Treatment: Diet and exercise plans, blood sugar monitoring, metformin or insulin therapy if needed.
  • Overview: A pregnancy complication characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to another organ system.
  • Causes: Exact causes are unknown but may include blood vessel issues, placental disorder, and genetics.
  • Treatment: Close monitoring, medications to lower blood pressure, early delivery in severe cases.
  • Overview: Carrying more than one foetus presents unique challenges, including a higher risk of complications.
  • Causes: Multiple pregnancies can result from natural conception or assisted reproductive technologies.
  • Treatment: Close monitoring, frequent antenatal visits, and potential early planned delivery.
  • Overview: Labor that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Causes: Multiple pregnancies, infections, chronic conditions, or previous preterm births.
  • Treatment: Bed rest, medications to delay labour, corticosteroids to help baby’s lung development.
  • Overview: A caesarean section (c-section or ‘caesarean’) is a surgical procedure in which a baby is born through an incision (cut) made in the mother’s abdominal wall and the wall of the uterus (womb).
  • Causes: Pregnancy complications that prevent your baby being born by vaginal birth safely (baby in wrong position and will not turn), your cervix is blocked, twins or triplets, previous caesarean section births. In some cases, an elective caesarean is requested by the mother.
  • Procedure: The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes. A screen is placed across your chest so you cannot see the surgical site. Your baby will be lifted through the cut and carefully checked. You will be given your baby to hold very quickly.
  • Emergency: About 10% of women whose planned caesareans are scheduled for 39 weeks will go into labour first. That means their waters break or their contractions start. If this happens, you will have an emergency rather than a planned caesarean.
  • Overview: The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week.
  • Causes: Genetic problems with the foetus, health issues in the mother.
  • Treatment: Monitoring for complications, surgical procedures (like D&C) if necessary, counselling and support.
  • Overview: A pregnancy where the fertilised egg implants outside the uterus.
  • Causes: Inflammation or scarring of the fallopian tubes, hormonal factors, congenital abnormalities.
  • Treatment: Close monitoring, medication (methotrexate) or surgery to remove the ectopic tissue.
  • Overview: A condition where the placenta covers the cervix, often leading to bleeding.
  • Causes: Unknown, but risk factors include previous caesarean deliveries,multiple pregnancies, and age over 35.
  • Treatment: Monitoring, bed rest, planned-caesarean delivery if necessary.
  • Overview: Severe, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
  • Causes: Likely related to hormone changes in pregnancy.
  • Treatment: Dietary changes, rest, anti-nausea medications, intravenous fluids and monitoring.
  • Overview: A condition where the foetus is smaller than expected for the number of weeks of pregnancy.
  • Causes: Problems with the placenta, birth defects, maternal health issues.
  • Treatment: Monitoring foetal growth, managing any maternal conditions, early delivery in some cases.
  • Overview: A liver disorder in late pregnancy that causes itching.
  • Causes: Genetic and hormonal factors.
  • Treatment: Medications to relieve itching, monitoring liver function, early delivery if needed.
  • Overview: Bacterial infection that can be harmful to the baby during delivery.
  • Causes: Many women carry GBS bacteria in their bodies without symptoms.
  • Treatment: Antibiotics during labour to prevent infection in the baby.
It is important to emphasise that prenatal care and regular check-ups with an obstetrician are crucial to monitor for these and other potential complications during pregnancy. The management of these conditions often requires a combination of monitoring, medical treatment, and sometimes surgical intervention. The specific treatment approach for each condition will depend on its severity and individual patient factors. Advances in obstetrics continue to improve outcomes for both mothers and their babies.

Dr Wang-Gilchrist is a Sydney Fertility Specialist, and Obstetrician and Gynaecologist who has significant experience diagnosing, treating, and managing a wide range of conditions related to women’s reproductive health.

Dr Wang-Gilchrist spent four years working as a laboratory and clinical researcher investigating novel infertility treatments and has published several peer-reviewed international papers in reproductive medicine. She holds three separate Master Degrees in the areas of embryology, infertility and reproductive care, and she is a Fellow of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRANZCOG).