Traveling 8,376 miles from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Beverly Hills to pursue care from fetal specialist Dr. Steve Rad was not what Dana was expecting when she got pregnant. But she found it well worth the time and effort.
Dana, a resident of Abu Dhabi in the Middle Eastern country of the United Arab Emirates, found herself facing seriously challenging pregnancy complications. Her local obstetrician deemed her case too complex, prompting her to seek help from the UAE embassy. The embassy referred her directly to Dr. Steve Rad in Los Angeles.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that involves a higher risk of complications to the baby’s health, the mother’s health, or both of them. Issues can occur during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or postpartum. Medical conditions the mother had pre-conception can also make a pregnancy high-risk.
Genetic conditions and genetic disorders, hypertension, previous pregnancy loss or preterm labor, kidney disease, obesity, and multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets, etc.) are just a few of the health problems that can increase the risk of a pregnancy.
High-risk pregnancy care in the UAE versus the US
High-risk pediatric pregnancy care in the UAE has advanced in recent years, with specialized approaches and technologies enhancing the outcomes for mothers and babies facing complex pregnancy conditions. But it can still be challenging to find a world-class, high-risk gynecologist, even in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
Accurate statistics for high-risk pregnancy survival rates are hard to come by in the UAE. However, complicated cases like Dana’s reveal that the UAE’s care level cannot always equal that of the top perinatologists and neonatologists in the United States.
Upon learning from her embassy that Dr. Rad is a top American maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) specialist with a history of patients from the UAE, Dana promptly reached out for his expertise and care.
“I was told a lot of fetal doctors would not accept foreign patients or even talk with them to see if they could help. Thankfully, that was not the case with Dr. Rad,” said Dana.
Why was Dana’s pregnancy high-risk?
Before their unplanned pregnancy, Dana and her husband were aware that her existing health conditions could complicate the pregnancy. Dana had multiple risk factors:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can be severe because blood clots in the veins may break loose. The clots can then travel through the bloodstream and get stuck in the lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).
- Celiac disease is an illness of the small intestine caused by an immune reaction to eating gluten. Gluten is a protein in foods containing wheat, barley, or rye. This can lead to miscarriage and vitamin deficiencies.
- Myomectomy is the removal of uterine fibroids. This procedure increases the risk of uterine rupture during pregnancy and labor. Women who have had an abdominal or laparoscopic myomectomy often need a C-section during delivery.
- Advanced maternal age. After 35, women have an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, premature birth, Down syndrome, and miscarriage.
“I started following Dana while she was in Abu Dhabi, so I was involved remotely and knew her well before she arrived in California,” says Dr. Rad, adding that this approach is better than getting to know a patient toward the end of a high-risk pregnancy. “This makes the transition smooth because we already know each other.”
How Dr. Rad managed Dana’s high-risk pregnancy
Dana sent her medical files to Dr. Rad and discussed her treatment plan in detail using telehealth visits. They strategized her move from Abu Dhabi to Los Angeles at 29 weeks to deliver her baby at Cedars Sinai Medical Hospital in Beverly Hills.
“Because of her celiac disease, Dana was limited to what she can and cannot eat,” says Dr. Rad. “Also, because of her DVT, she was at risk for having a blood clot during her pregnancy.”
Dana, with the guidance of Dr. Rad, also had consultations with a hematologist, who kept a close watch on her blood condition.
Further complicating Dana’s pregnancy was a disorder called cholestasis, where bile backs up in the liver instead of being released to the lower intestine. As a result, bile acids eventually enter the bloodstream.
This liver condition puts Dana in danger of complications such as preeclampsia, eclampsia, and gestational diabetes. However, it was the baby who was most at risk for severe complications. Risks include being born too early (premature labor), breathing problems, and stillbirth.
Because of these factors, Dr. Rad induced labor at 37 weeks with a Cesarean delivery (C-section.) That, however, brought on another set of potential complications.
“We had to stop her medication that prevents clots and restart, so Dana didn’t bleed 24 to 48 hours after surgery,” says Dr. Rad. “At the same time, we had to balance that with her not getting a blood clot or dying while not getting her medication.”
Thanks to Dr. Rad’s knowledge of the perils of high-risk pregnancy and dedication to Dana’s well-being, there were no complications during delivery. Little Sultan was born a healthy baby boy weighing 5.8 pounds.
Would Dana travel halfway around the world again?
Now back in Abu Dhabi with her 5-month-old little boy, Dana could not be happier with her experience with Dr. Rad.
“It was great to have someone in Los Angeles where I didn’t know anybody,” remarks Dana, adding that whenever she had a question for the doctor, he would immediately return her call. “He seems like he works 24 hours a day. That adds great comfort for me as a patient.”
Why travel to Dr. Rad internationally?
Pregnant women with high-risk pregnancies worldwide are finding their way to OB/GYN Dr. Steve Rad’s Beverley Hills offices. Dr. Rad is recognized as one of the world’s premier healthcare providers for high-risk pregnancies.
Dr. Rad has been named a top Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist in Los Angeles by Los Angeles Magazine for the last six years.
A maternal-fetal medicine specialist (perinatologist) receives a traditional obstetrics and gynecology education but with an additional three years of training to treat medical complications and promote a healthy pregnancy.
Double-board certified Dr. Rad uses innovative 3D and 4D High-Definition ultrasound technology available only in a few places worldwide. Dr. Rad and his pregnancy care team have expertise in performing and interpreting Early Fetal Scans and Echocardiograms that facilitate the diagnosis of fetal abnormalities or birth defects as early as the first trimester (11 to 16 weeks of gestation). Dr. Rad has undergone extensive training in fetal echocardiography, sonography, and interpretation of early fetal scans under the auspices of the world’s leading specialists in the United Kingdom, Austria, and the United States.
Dr. Rad offers in-home prenatal care and a fly-in program for out-of-town and international patients. Dr. Rad has also traveled to patients throughout the U.S. and internationally. The doctor provides virtual consultations worldwide.
Call (844) 473-6100 or schedule your consultation online. We are currently accepting new patients.