High – risk pregnancy is when you or your baby have a high chance of health problems. Pregnant women who are considered high risk during pregnancy are monitored closely to look out for any complications that may arise. Women who fall in this category are likely to see doctors who have training in high-risk pregnancies known as maternal-fetal specialists or perinatologists.
What are the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy ?
A pre-existing medical condition before pregnancy can cause a pregnant woman to be considered high risk. Sometimes, complications may arise during pregnancy and cause it to be high risk.
Some factors that may contribute to a high-risk pregnancy include the following :
- if you have health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease or epilepsy
- advanced maternal age –35 years or older
- if you are engaged in lifestyle habits such as smoking cigarette, drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs
- pregnancy complications such as problems with the placenta, uterus or cervix, too much or too little amniotic fluid, restricted fetal growth, Rh (rhesus ) sensitization and hyperemesis gravidarum that continues past the first trimester
- carrying multiples
- baby has been found to have a genetic condition such as Down’s syndrome
- problems with past pregnancies such as preeclampsia, preterm labor or baby with genetic problems
- have had 3 or more miscarriages
- have infections such as hepatitis C, HIV, chickenpox, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus CMV or syphilis
- prolonged pregnancy
How is high – risk pregnancy managed ?
A pregnant woman who is high risk will have more prenatal visits than the regular healthy pregnant woman. You may also have more ultrasounds to check the well-being of your baby. You will have regular blood pressure checks.
Your doctor may prescribe medications for health conditions such as preeclampsia, diabetes, asthma and so on.
You may be required to test for genetic problems if you are at an advanced maternal age or have had a baby with genetic problems.
You will have your urine checked regularly for proteins which is a sign for preeclampsia or urinary tract infection.
Your doctor may also want you to give birth at a hospital that offers care for pregnant mothers and babies with complications. Home birth isn’t usually recommended or high – risk pregnancies.
Your healthcare provider will evaluate you and your baby’s health to see if you need to be delivered early.
What can I do to have a health pregnancy ?
Take these steps to reduce your risk of having a high-risk pregnancy.
- get early and regular prenatal tests
- eat healthy
- avoid risky habits such as smoking , drinking or using illegal drugs
- gain the right amount of weight
- take folic acid daily
- take any medications your doctor prescribes. DO NOT take any medications including supplements without your doctor’s permission
- stay away from people with infections such as cold
What symptoms should I look out for ?
Symptoms to watch out for include :
- persistent headaches
- vaginal bleeding
- decreased fetal movement
- severe lower abdominal pain or cramping
- regular or frequent contractions
- painful urination
- vision changes
- sudden release of fluid from the vagina
Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you experience these symptoms.Content Sources
High-risk pregnancy. WebMD.http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/high-risk-pregnancy-overview. Accessed October 27, 2014
High-risk pregnancy. Cedars-Sinai.http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Obstetrics-and-Gynecology/Treatment/High-Risk-Pregnancy.aspx. Accessed October 27, 2014