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Dr. Chapa’s Clinical Pearls.

Anchor FM

Relevant, evidence based, and practical information for medical students, residents, and practicing healthcare providers regarding all things women’s healthcare! This podcast is intended to be clinically relevant, engaging, and FUN, because medical education should NOT be boring! Welcome...to Clinical Pearls.


United States


Anchor FM


Relevant, evidence based, and practical information for medical students, residents, and practicing healthcare providers regarding all things women’s healthcare! This podcast is intended to be clinically relevant, engaging, and FUN, because medical education should NOT be boring! Welcome...to Clinical Pearls.




GDM Screen After 28 Weeks? Yay or Nay.

Here’s a real world clinical conundrum: A patient first presents for prenatal care in the 3rd trimester. As healthcare providers, we play a game of “catch-up” with routine serum tests ordered to make up for time lost. But what about specific pregnancy tests that are restricted to gestational age? Take, for example, GDM screening. Currently, traditional screening for GDM occurs at 24 to 28 weeks based on the original studies by O’Sullivan and Carpenter-Coustan. Or take this parallel, clinical scenario: A patient passes routine screening between 24 and 28 weeks, but in the 3rd trimester has suspected fetal macrosomia or new onset polyhydramnios. Should we rescreen these patients for GDM? As cut off values for the GDM screens are based on a 24 - 28 week pregnancy, we don’t really know what the cut off serum glucose levels should be after 28 weeks. And more importantly, does diagnosing GDM in the 3rd trimester improve maternal or neonatal outcomes? In this episode, we will walk down history’s timeline of data starting in 2001 and ending with a publication in 2022. We’ll discuss the findings of these publications (6 total) and at the end of the episode, I’ll give you my personal perspective on the subject.


The 39 Week IOL “Dilemma”

We are now 5 years into the publication of the Arrive trial (2018) which opened the door to elective induction of labor at 39 weeks in an otherwise low risk pregnancy. But five years later authors and researchers are still debating whether a 39 week elective induction is helpful or not. Yep, the rebuttals and retorts against the ARRIVE trial began shortly after its publication, and they are still active even now- with a recent publication, from February 2023, having an opposing view. Yep…While some have called for universal adoption of the “39 week IOL rule“, others have put the brakes on the plan. in this episode, we’re going to dive into this persistent on again off again dilemma of elective induction at 39 weeks. This podcast idea comes from one of our podcast family members who sent me this message on May 27: “Hey Dr. Chappa, what are your and your team's thoughts on elective induction at 39 weeks? I've had multiple discussions with my co-fellow about how it may not be the best option for some of our pregnant folks, especially those who have had a successful un-induced vaginal delivery. My attending sent me an interesting article from the Journal of Perinatology which questions the validity of the Would love any input you have on this. Thanks!” What a great topic to discuss. There’s so much to unpack here and we’re going to summarize that article which came out in print in February 2023, and we will also discuss a separate study that followed in March 2023 on this very issue. And…Is 39 week eIOL cost effective? Lots of angles to examine here and we will do all of that in this episode. And- as always- you’ll want to stay with us until the end of the episode because I’ll provide my personal perspective and typical practice regarding eIOL at 39 weeks.


Nonhypoxic Antepartum Fetal Bradycardia

The fetal heart rate is controlled by various integrated physiological mechanisms, most importantly by a balance of parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve impulses. Intrapartum, fetal bradycardia may be in direct response to an evolving or acute hypoxic event, including tachysystole, uterine rupture, or placental abruption. Antepartum, excluding acute events like maternal trauma which could lead to an acute hypoxic episode, most fetal brady arrhythmias will be nonhypoxia related. We recently evaluated and cared for a patient at 23 weeks gestation with the incidental finding during her routine prenatal visit of a fetal HR of 90. This was confirmed by bedside ultrasound, and then noted to be in the 70s on reexamination in L&D. There was no fetal hydrops, no evidence of maternal injury, no maternal connective tissue disease, normal amniotic fluid, and a normal fetal movement seen on ultrasound. What are the possible causes of antepartum fetal bradyarrhythmia? What’s the work-up? What is the fetal Long QT syndrome? And when is delivery recommended? Listen in and find out.


New Serum Biomarker Test for sPreeclampsia (The Praecis Study).

On May 19, 2023, the FDA cleared a novel biomarker serum test for the risk stratification for severe preeclampsia in hypertensive pregnant women. This clearance is the first given to any blood-based biomarker test for assessing preeclampsia risk. The company is Thermo Fisher Scientific (no disclosures). But what does this test actually check for? Who qualifies for this? And what was the clinical investigation that the FDA based its clearance decision on? And most importantly…what do we do with this result?! We will answer all of these questions- the what, why, how, and what now- in this episode.


Umbilical Vein Injection for 3rd Stage?

The 3rd stage of labor is the time from child's birth to delivery of the placenta. Delayed placental separation and expulsion is a potentially life-threatening event because it hinders expected postpartum uterine contraction, which can lead to PPH. The concept of umbilical vein injection of a variety of substances (saline, pitocin, plasma expanders) is nothing new. It is first described in the 1930s! This had found new life in the 1980s and 1990s but soon thereafter again fell into ambiguity. What is the theorized MOA of this intervention? Does oxytocin injection into the umbilical vein help prevent PPH? Is this an effective management option in the 3rd stage? We will walk down history's timelime and find out. We will also summarize the data of 2 Cochrane Reviews that have twice looked at this technique, with the last published report in 2021. Thank you Haley for the podcast topic suggestion!


Laughing Gas in Labor.

Although labor epidural remains the gold standard for labor analgesia, some patients may opt for a trial of a less invasive analgesic agent. While IV/IM narcotics are an option, others may prefer a trial of nitrous oxide (N2O). In this episode, we will review the crazy history of this useful inhalational agent, and how it has ties to the manufacturing of the Colt45 handgun, how it transformed dentistry, and review the contribution to medicine by Dr. Horace Wells. We will review N2O's current application in obstetrics, and summarize statements from the ACNM and the ACOG. And…What does this gas have to do with vitamin B12? Are there any safety warnings out there regarding its use? And does it even work? Let’s answer these questions, and more, in this episode.


Bipolar in Pregnancy

Just the other day I received a text from one of our wonderful FM attendings in our group concerned about refilling a patient’s Lamictal in early pregnancy. When asked if that was acceptable to do, I quickly answered ABSOLUTELY. We’ve come a long way in understanding bipolar disorder and a long way since lithium was first described for its use. While its use in psychiatry dates to the mid-19th century, the widespread discovery of lithium is usually credited to Australian psychiatrist John Cade who introduced it for mania in 1949. The first randomized trial was published in 1954 showing efficacy for this mental health condition. The drug was not US FDA approved for treatment of bipolar disorder until 21 years later in 1970. Thankfully, now- safer options of medical therapy are available for reproductive age women. In this episode we will summarize the data on medical therapy for bipolar disorder. Which medications are preferred? Are serum drug levels recommended? Does lithium really cause Epstein's Anomaly? And what drastic move did the UK perform to reduce fetal exposure to some medications commonly used for bipolar disorder in reproductive age women? We’ll explain it all in this episode.


Lactational Mastitis and Abscess: New Data on the Milk Microbiota

The ACOG recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding while complementary foods are introduced during the infant’s first year of life, or longer, as mutually desired by the woman and her infant (ACOG CO 820; 2021). Problems may arise that can keep women from achieving their breastfeeding goals, and only 25.4% of women are breastfeeding exclusively at 6 months. One of the most common reasons women stop breastfeeding is engorgement, which could lead to lactational mastitis due to milk stasis. In this episode we will review the current best practice plans for lactational mastitis and one its complications, breast abscess. Plus, new data regarding the pathogenesis of lactational mastitis is challenging the old traditional model of causation; we’ll explain in this episode.


You Asked, We Answered! (#2): 4 Topics Clarified.

This is our second episode in the format of “You Asked, We Answered!” In this episode we will clarify and discuss 4 topics currently active: (1) Is the FDA approving OTC Birth Control? What is the progestin in the OPill? Do you know what “Free the Pill” is? We’ll discuss here. (2) Why did the USPSTF change the MMG screening rec to age 40? Has’nt the ACOG already recommended that? And what did the USPSTF comment regarding dense breasts? We’ll discuss here. (3) What is the “10 and 10” association between HbA1c and Birth defects? We’ll discuss this and the “rule of 30”, and lastly (4) We recently summarized a new publication on IPI after stillbirth and commented on the higher risk of PTB overall in the first pregnancy after stillbirths. Was this due to medically indicated inductions or due to spontaneous PTB (Ruthy’s question)? We will discuss in this episode!


“Completed” Gestational Weeks?

Historically, governmental and professional societies referred to gestational "completed" weeks in their definitions of preterm or term deliveries. But this term of "completed weeks" has remained a point of confusion for clinicians and researchers alike. The ACOG favors simply stating the gestational age as clear designations of weeks and days (e.g., 34 weeks 5 days) rather than "completed weeks". Nonetheless, state and national vital statistics reports still rely on documented completed weeks. Does "34 completed weeks" imply the day after 33 weeks and 6 days, or the day after 34 weeks and 6 days"? We'll clear up the confusion regarding "completed" weeks of gestation in this episode.


OSA in Pregnancy: Time to Screen?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) affects nearly 30 million people in the United States. OSA isn’t just a disruption to pregnant women’s sleep, it is linked to serious pregnancy complications. In this episode will summarize the latest research on OSA and disorganized sleep patterns and their associated pregnancy outcomes. Should we screen for this in pregnancy? Is CPAP safe in pregnancy? Should these patients be on low dose aspirin? Does treatment for OSA prevent the adverse perinatal outcomes? Screening for OSA in pregnancy is controversial…so you’ll need to stay with us until the end of the episode to find out why. This topic suggestion comes from a second-year resident in Columbus, Ohio, who is part of our podcast family. Dani, thanks for reaching out. Enjoy your residency journey… It goes by fast. Dani, here’s your podcast.


Pregnancy After Stillbirth: Does Timing Matter?

Stillbirth is one of the most common adverse pregnancy outcomes, occurring in 1 in 160 deliveries in the United States. The optimal interpregnancy interval (IPI) after stillbirth is unclear. Currently, many organizations recommend IPIs greater than 18 months due to findings that, after live birth, a short IPI is associated with increased risk of spontaneous preterm birth, small for gestational age (SGA), and, sometimes, stillbirth. But this was based largely on expert opinion and not peer reviewed data. Recently, data has been published on this very subject that may aid bereaved parents in planning for a next pregnancy. In this episode we will review the first large-scale population study on the subject (from 2019) and summarize a soon-to-be released publication from Obstetrics Gynecology (the Green Journal) examining the effect of IPI after stillbirth.


Slowed Fetal Growth Trajectory & Neonatal Outcomes

The ACOG defines FGR as fetuses with an estimated fetal weight or abdominal circumference that is less than the 10th percentile for gestational age (ACOG PB 227). BUT, some argue against this cut off. There may be a subgroup of AGA fetuses with placental insufficiency who display slowing of fetal growth trajectory while in utero, but do not end up with a birthweight <10th centile at term, and so not classed as FGR. Such a cohort that has declined in weight centiles in late pregnancy may be an important under-recognized group with sub-optimal placental function. Growth velocity represents the rate of fetal growth in a specific time interval and may have more clinical utility to distinguish normal from pathological fetal growth and may help to identify fetal growth abnormalities that are abnormal yet still above the crucial 10% cut off. So in this episode we're going to focus on this very question... what do we do with those fetuses that we find have plateaued or have slowed trajectories of fetal growth antepartum but are still above the 10th percentile. It's a common clinical conundrum. This podcast idea comes from one of our podcast family members who reached out for this very reason. Lauren, thank you for your message, here's your podcast.


FASD and Paternal ETOH Use

Can you believe that in 1977, the public health guidelines issued by the National Institutes of Health suggested a two-drink-per-day limit for pregnant women? It's TRUE. Ethanol had even been investigated, and promoted, and an "effective tocolytic agent". We now, of course, understand that there is no safe amount of ethanol use during pregnancy. Our understanding of FASD has evolved over the years, so much so that we now understand that FASD is possible by PATERNAL use of alcohol in the prericonception period. This is due to epigenetic changes in the sperm. In this episode we will review some historical facts regarding the use of alcohol in pregnancy and summarize new data demonstrating the MALE partner's contribution to FASD.


Epidural Related Maternal Fever (ERMF)

Epidural anesthesia remains the gold standard for relieving labor pain. Currently, there are 3 techniques for providing epidural related analgesia (traditional epidural, combined spinal- epidural, and dural scrape/puncture epidural). A controversial subject dating back to the 1990s, epidural related maternal fever (ERMF) has been extensively studied. In this episode, we will summarize two recent publications on the subject from the AJOG and review historical data. What is the pathophysiology of ERMF? Are antibiotics still indicated in these patients? Listen in and find out.


MH in L&D: Recognize &amp; Act

Medical/Nursing simulations which focus on high-acuity, low-frequency crisis events improve team dynamics, team morale, and most importantly patient outcomes. One such high-acuity, low-frequency event is malignant hyperthermia (MH). On labor and delivery (L&D) units, neuraxial (spinal and epidural) blocks are the safest and most commonly used anesthetics. However, general anesthesia is performed when the case is emergent (stat), when the regional anesthesia level is insufficient, or regional anesthesia is contraindicated (low platelets). Joint Commission accreditation included preparedness for medical reactions/emergent conditions, including malignant hyperthermia. In this episode we will provide a high-yield summary of MH including etiology, pathophysiology, medication rescue, and supportive care for this potentially life threatening emergency.


Daily Dilemmas, Easy Answers!

One of the sources of ideas for our podcast topics is our daily clinical practice. During my recent shift in ultrasound clinic, we encountered 4 clinical scenarios which became wonderful teaching opportunities at that moment. In this episode, we will share these common- at times, daily – clinical dilemmas, and we will provide evidence-based, easy answers!


CGM in Diabetic Pregnancies

In June 1999 the FDA approved the first continuous glucose monitor for diabetic intervention. We have come along way since 1999. Continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) come in 2 different varieties: real-time CGM, and intermittent/“flash” monitor devices. The use of these devices in pregnancy has exponentially grown. In this episode, we will summarize the key findings from the landmark study, published in 2017 in patients with Type I diabetes in pregnancy (the CONCEPTT study). Is there evidence supporting the use of these devices for gestational diabetes? Has the FDA cleared any of these devices for use in pregnancy? We will answer these questions and much more in this episode.


Literature References!

You asked… We did! Listen in and find out what this means.


Incidental HCG in Menopause?

It’s a rather uncommon, but not rare, phenomenon: the incidental hCG finding in a postmenopausal patient. What are we supposed to do with that? Is this automatically cancer? In this episode, we will highlight a real clinical case from one of our podcast listeners, Cynthia. We will review the likely causes of low-level hCG levels in a postmenopausal woman (who is not pregnant). You may be surprised of some possible etiologies. Towards the end of the episode, we will also provide an evidence-based recommendation on the diagnostic evaluation/work up of this type of patient. Lastly, we will give an important reminder of how urine could be a valuable tool in this schema.