A high-risk pregnancy means there is a high chance that either you or the baby may have health complications during pregnancy, birth or after delivery. The complications could range from minor problems that can be resolved with medication to life-threatening issues for the mother, baby or both. High pregnancy risks, therefore, require careful monitoring by health experts.
Extra care and careful attention can better prepare moms-to-be for such pregnancies. Such high-risk pregnancies are usually associated with mothers who are already being treated for lifelong (chronic) diseases.
It is best recommended that mothers are fully informed about the pregnancy and ways to handle the problems associated with it. Build a support network, talk to your friends, family or mothers in similar situations to feel you’re in control over the situation. Most importantly, it is necessary to understand that a high-risk pregnancy doesn’t mean you won’t have a healthy baby. So never lose hope.
Several factors can cause a high-risk pregnancy.
If there has been a previous case of a high-risk pregnancy with the mother, then chances of a recurrence could be high. Your health care provider will keep you on close watch during the whole pregnancy period.
Certain health conditions in the mother can also increase the risk of pregnancy. Some of the chronic conditions that keep doctors on high alert are listed below:
The additional strain pregnancy has on the mothers suffering from blood disorders like sickle cell disease or thalassemia can make matters worse. Risks of the fetus inheriting the disease are also high.
Higher chances of miscarriage are also associated with chronic kidney disease. Additional indications of the disease include high blood pressure and preeclampsia while being pregnant. Some cases might also necessitate an early delivery as pregnancy can have a strain on your kidneys.
Mothers are very susceptible to mental health concerns like depression or anxiety during their pregnancy period. If untreated, the ailment can adversely impact the health of the baby. Medications to treat the illness can also potentially harm the fetus. Consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your medication.
Although a high blood pressure doesn’t point to an unhealthy pregnancy directly, the condition can cause the baby to grow more slowly. Placental abruption, a condition where the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterus, is also associated with high blood pressure.
Aside from your lupus flaring up during pregnancy, the disease can also increase your risk of preterm delivery and preeclampsia.
Mothers who have crossed the age of 35 are reported to be at an elevated risk of complications than younger moms.
Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher puts you at a greater risk of high blood pressure, gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes during pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can both cause defects for the mother and the baby if the conditions aren’t controlled. These defects include preeclampsia or low birth weight.
If your diabetes is not under treatment, your pregnancy complications can include birth defects, high blood pressure and having an early birth.
A high-risk pregnancy can also occur for the first time in expectant mothers, despite proper care and nutrition. Some of the common problems include:
An approximate of 3 in every 100 deliveries report birth defects. These abnormalities can be detected using ultrasound or genetic testing. In case of such a finding, the health of both the mother and the fetus will be closely monitored. Depending on the defect, you may need to give birth at a medical centre with pediatric specialists.
It is a diabetic condition that develops during pregnancy. With strict dieting plans and proper treatment that includes proper medication, gestational diabetes can be controlled. If untreated, it can put the mother at risk of preterm birth, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
The size of your belly is a good indicator of how well the fetus has grown. In case of slow growth of the belly, special medical attention may be necessary.
Pregnancy of twins or more can be even more straining and requires the careful attention of your healthcare provider.
A condition that likely occurs during the second half of pregnancy, preeclampsia is when high blood pressure in the mother leads to protein leaks into the urine. This condition can slow down your baby’s growth rate and adversely affect your health. This condition may require the baby to be born preterm, as that is the sole cure.
Regular prenatal screenings are of utmost importance if a high-risk pregnancy has been assessed. You may also need to be treated by a maternal-fetal medicine doctor who is specially trained to handle high-risk pregnancy.
Depending on your condition, the doctor can advise specific care routines. A maternal fetal medicine specialist will work closely with your ob-gyn and other providers to assure good health for you and the fetus.
A high-risk pregnancy means that the delivery should take place in a well-equipped medical centre where the mother can receive specialist care. In the case of multiple pregnancy, you might go into labour early. Preterm labour can also be necessary if there is excess amniotic fluid around the baby or due to certain other conditions.
Induced labour may be recommended by medical experts to prevent any major health problems for the mother and the baby. It is best that all viable options for delivery are well-discussed with your healthcare provider.
A principal concern for moms-to-be is the situation of high-risk pregnancies that might affect the health of the baby. With adequate and expert prenatal care, the health and well-being of the fetus can be ensured throughout and after the pregnancy. But always remember that good maternal health is of utmost importance for a healthy offspring.
Certain medications the mother may have for previous conditions could potentially harm the fetus. However, an immediate stop to these prescribed drugs can adversely impact the health of the mother. Seek expert advice on how these medications can be changed so that the side effects of the medicines will not harm the baby.
Babies born early tend to show difficulties in breathing or feeding. Such cases might require the baby to have several weeks of careful attention and support, most likely in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Despite going through a high-risk pregnancy, the complications during or after the pregnancy period can be resolved or brought down in several ways.
Prenatal testing is available to check the health of your baby. It is your choice if you decide to have these tests and you should discuss your options with your doctor or genetic counsellor.Learn More