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High risk pregnancy, Renal failure



  1. Poole, Judith H. PhD(c), MN, RNC, FACCE
  2. Thorsen, Martha S. BSN, RNC


Acute renal failure (ARF) during pregnancy is a rare event. However, the care of the woman diagnosed with ARF is a challenge for the perinatal care team. The physiologic hydronephrosis and hydroureter of pregnancy alters clinical parameters for assessing the woman diagnosed with ARF. Urinary stasis and enhanced filtration predisposes to alterations in 24-hour urine evaluations, increased urinary creatinine excretion, and lower BUN and serum creatinine values. If the renal system becomes compromised, the woman is at risk for acidemia, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, and pregnancy compromise. The perinatal nurse must have an understanding of normal pregnancy physiology and an appreciation for how pregnancy physiology may alter renal assessments. Furthermore, the nurse must know the impact that ARF can have on maternal status and fetal well-being. Astute, continuous assessments of maternal and fetal status are required to detect subtle changes. While maternal status is the primary concern, it must not be forgotten that a change in fetal status may be the first indication of underlying maternal compromise.