High-risk pregnancies can be a source of anxiety throughout the pregnancy and up to delivery. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, it's important that you're attentive to your prenatal care with a midwife or obstetrician who understands your situation. Here's a look at some of the situations that may lead to a high-risk pregnancies and tips for you to manage your condition and protect your pregnancy.
Risk Factors for a High-Risk Pregnancy
You may have a high risk pregnancy for several reasons. Sometimes, it is due to a medical condition you've been diagnosed with prior to pregnancy. In other cases, it is the result of a condition that develops during your pregnancy.
- Your age – If you are 35 years old or older, your pregnancy will be considered high risk because of your age. It's referred to as an advanced maternal age pregnancy, and the risks are higher for birth defects and other complications in those situations.
- Your lifestyle – Smokers and pregnant women who drink alcohol and use illegal drugs are also considered high risk. These activities can lead to birth defects and labor complications.
- Your prior medical history – If you have a history of low birth weights, preterm births or a previous caesarian section delivery, you may be at higher risk of complications in subsequent pregnancies. Additionally, any underlying chronic health conditions can increase your pregnancy risks. For example, diabetes, thyroid disease and high blood pressure can increase the risks throughout your pregnancy.
- Problems during pregnancy – There are many complications that can develop during pregnancy which may lead you to a high-risk pregnancy classification. For example, if you have a problem with your placenta development, uterus or cervix, this can lead to bedrest recommendations and a high-risk pregnancy. Additionally, if you are Rh negative (have a negative blood type) and your partner is Rh positive (has a positive blood type), this can put you at an increased risk of miscarriage.
Tips for Mitigating These Risks
The best way to manage a high-risk pregnancy is by ensuring that you get prenatal care right away. In fact, consider a preconception consultation with your obstetrician or midwife before you start trying to conceive. That way, you can identify any concerns and start addressing them immediately.
Your care provider may recommend that you start a prenatal vitamin and a workout regimen before you conceive. The healthier your body is, the better your chances are of a successful pregnancy. You'll also want to be sure you talk with your care provider about any warning signs to watch for.
Complications to Watch For
There are a few complications that you should watch for at all times when you have a high-risk pregnancy. In addition to these, your obstetrician or midwife will probably give you some guidance about any specific complications associated with your underlying health condition or other problems. Some of the things to watch for include:
- Recurrent headaches
- Cramping and abdominal pain
- Any unusual vaginal discharge
- Contractions that occur regularly or frequently
- Any decrease in movement and activity from the baby
- Vision changes
High-risk pregnancies need extra care and more frequent monitoring, but that doesn't mean that they can't be successful. With the right care and understanding, you'll be able to have a healthy pregnancy. Understanding these risk factors and tips is an important place to start. Once you know what your risk factors are, you'll be able to work with your care team to develop a plan that will help you manage those risks and protect your pregnancy. Talk with your obstetrician or midwife right away if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant and you believe that you may have a high-risk pregnancy.
For more information, contact a clinic like Women's Healthcare Associates LLC.