Fiona's high-risk pregnancy

When Fiona was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening condition during pregnancy, The Portland Hospital helped her to deliver her baby safely.

I was really impressed with the way all of the contingency plans were put in place. It was wonderfully reassuring.


Fiona was naturally concerned when she was diagnosed with a serious form of placenta praevia — a condition where the placenta blocks the opening to the cervix.

Natural delivery is impossible for women with placenta praevia. There is also a high chance of bleeding during pregnancy, which can put both mother and baby at risk. While mild placenta praevia is a common condition, the type Fiona had — type four — is very rare.

'I’d had problems with the placenta at my first birth, so I wasn’t surprised there were issues again,' Fiona says. 'However, I soon realised the type of placenta praevia I had this time was very serious. It was worrying.'

Mr Joseph Iskaros, her consultant obstetrician at The Portland Hospital, made detailed plans for the birth. This involved gathering a multidisciplinary team of 15 consultants and nurses who could be on hand to offer their expertise if needed. A month before her planned caesarean delivery at 37 weeks, Fiona, her husband Ashley and their one-year-old daughter Chloe moved up to London from their home in Surrey to be close to the hospital, just in case. Thankfully, the day of her c-section arrived without any further problems and she gave birth to a healthy son, Daniel. However, soon after Mr Iskaros removed the placenta, Fiona started to bleed. The team in the Portland Hospital's on-site high dependency unit were ready.

'The success of an operation like this is having different teams in place who know what they are doing and are prepared,' says Mr Iskaros.

After four hours of surgery, Fiona needed to spend only four days in hospital before she was well enough to return home. 

'Despite all the issues, it was a very calm and organised process and there was no panicking,' Fiona remembers. 'That made me feel incredibly confident and I am sure enabled me to recover faster.'

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