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Loralei L. Thornburg, M.D.

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Loralei L. Thornburg, M.D., specializes in the treatment of high-risk pregnancies, particularly pregnancies complicated by obesity, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in women of childbearing age and puts them at greater risk of miscarriage, indicated preterm birth, delivery complications, and a prolonged hospital stay. Thornburg helps women understand how obesity may affect their pregnancy – they’ll likely require additional monitoring and testing, for instance – and works with them to optimize their health and the health of their baby from conception to delivery.

Thornburg studies obesity in pregnancy, as well as the medical problems that come with obesity. For example, little is known about type 2 diabetes in pregnancy, because only recently have large numbers of young people been affected by the disorder. Thornburg wanted to understand what causes difficulties when diabetes and obesity coexist in pregnancy – which they often do – so she conducted a study to determine if obesity alone accounts for much of the increased risk in this “dual-diagnosis” group, or whether diabetes is the driving factor. She found that both conditions independently contribute to higher risks, opening the door to a wide range of pregnancy, delivery and newborn complications.

Women come to see Thornburg for a number of other reasons, such as maternal conditions like autoimmune disorders or renal or cardiac diseases, as well as fetal problems, including infants who have abnormalities discovered before birth. She also manages pregnancies in which there are both maternal and fetal concerns, such as when women are pregnant with multiple babies.