Allison Raetsen and her husband, Chris, recently welcomed a healthy baby girl, Keenan into the world. This bundle of joy’s arrival was even sweeter because Allison had been under care at McMaster University Medical Centre for a high-risk pregnancy.
The Waterloo resident has an inherited condition known as POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia), which means her heart does not tolerate movement well and her blood pressure is not stable. Through genetic testing, Allison was also diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder. Her cartilage and joints are hyper mobile and the connective tissue between her joints is weak. This means her joints are not stable and she is at risk for dislocation.
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia (POTS) patients’ hearts do not tolerate movement well and their blood pressure is not stable.
Allison, 28, received ultrasounds on her heart to confirm it would withstand the pregnancy and ensure blood was not pooling in her legs due to poor circulation. She also endured three months of contractions. The medical team decided Allison would deliver by C-section at 35 weeks after she began to pass out if she sat up too long.
Allison is one of more than 7,000 patients helped each year through the Women’s Reproductive Health program at MUMC. This program includes prenatal testing, high-risk obstetrics and pre-conception counseling for women with certain medical conditions, along with care during their pregnancy.
Providing this essential care are specialists like Dr. Raymond Naden, who recently joined MUMC from the Greater Auckland Integrated Health Network where he was a specialist physician in obstetric medicine and clinical director. Dr. Naden says he was attracted here because “Canadians are trailblazers in obstetrics and you have one of the best programs in the country.”
“Dr. Naden’s positive attitude and simple effective suggestions helped me through some of my most difficult days.”
– Allison Raetsen
“I can’t imagine how I would have made it through this pregnancy without Dr. Naden,” Allison said. “He understood every aspect of my condition. He and everyone at MUMC were wonderful.”