Becoming pregnant is one of the most exciting experiences every woman goes through. Although pregnancy should be the most magical period in your life, some women have it really hard. This is especially if they find themselves in one of the pregnancy risk categories and have to be monitored closely during their whole pregnancy.
For those who are considered high-risk, doctors provide special care and treatment to ensure the health and safety of both the mother and the baby or babies. In many cases, high-risk pregnancies don’t have further complications and doctors manage to ensure the mother’s and the baby’s well-being. If you have been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, read on to learn what to expect and how to behave to ensure everything goes well.
High-Risk Pregnancy Factors
In many cases, a high-risk pregnancy is developed due to a medical condition existing before pregnancy. In other cases, however, the mother develops certain medical conditions during pregnancy that pose a threat to the mother and the baby, making them fall into the category of high-risk pregnancies.
Some of the most common factors that contribute to high-risk pregnancies include the following:
1. The Mother’s Age
The high-risk pregnancy age group includes women who become pregnant after the age of 35. Some mothers older than 35 are more likely to develop a high-risk pregnancy so they should be monitored closely.
2. The Mother’s Medical History
If the mother is obese, has high blood pressure, epilepsy, thyroid disease, and other health problems such as asthma, heart or blood conditions, and infections, she falls under the category of a high-risk pregnancy.
3. Lifestyle Choices
Certain daily habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and using recreational drugs represent risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy.
4. Complications Developed During Pregnancy
There are a few complications that usually develop during pregnancy that pose a threat to the mother and the baby. These include an abnormal placenta position, fetal growth restriction, and Rh sensitization. All these high-risk cases require special medical care during pregnancy.
5. Multiple Pregnancies
High-risk pregnancy occurs more often with women carrying twins, triplets, or more babies.
6. Pregnancy History
Women who had certain health issues in their previous pregnancy can also develop high-risk pregnancies with their next. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or you gave birth to your precious baby prematurely, you are at increased risk of having another high-risk pregnancy.
Determining a High-Risk Pregnancy
To know if you are considered high-risk, it’s important that you got o a high-risk pregnancy center where the medical specialists can run the necessary tests and evaluate your medical condition. This is why it’s paramount to have a team of experts by your side to take care of you and your baby.
At Gentle Gynecology and Obstetrics, our team of OB/GYNs is trained to provide patients with exceptional care and ensure their health at all times. We will make sure that your pregnancy goes without any serious complications and that your baby is brought safely to this world.
Some of the most common tests and procedures done once you are diagnosed with high-risk pregnancy include the following:
- Specialized ultrasounds
If your doctor finds that your pregnancy is high-risk, you will probably have to go in for regular ultrasound check-ups more often. Ultrasounds are a great way of determining if there is a problem with the baby and can provide valuable insight into what can be done in this case.
- Lab tests
Lab tests are a common appearance during pregnancy and you will probably have to do lab tests more often. Your doctor will recommend specific tests such as testing your urine for urinary tract infections and STDs as these can be harmful to the baby.
- Invasive genetic screening
If an ultrasound shows certain problems with fetal development, your OB/GYN might recommend some invasive genetic screening procedures such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) to rule out possible genetic anomalies.
For amniocentesis, the doctor will take a sample of the fluid surrounding and protecting your baby during pregnancy. This is usually done after the 15th week of your pregnancy and can help diagnose certain genetic disorders.
With CVS, the doctor will take a sample of your placenta and test it for genetic conditions. CVS is done between the 10th and the 12th week of your pregnancy.
Considering these two screenings carry a small risk of miscarriage, you should talk to your OB/GYN before deciding if this is the best option for you and your baby.
- Prenatal cell-free DNA screening
For this procedure, the mother’s DNA and the DNA of the fetus are extracted from their blood and tested for certain chromosome problems.
- Biophysical profile
Besides doing regular ultrasounds to monitor the baby’s development and well-being, your doctor might recommend a non-stress test to monitor the baby’s heart rate.
- Cervical length ultrasound
Once you go for your prenatal appointment, your OB/GYN can perform a cervical length ultrasound to rule out the possibility of premature labor.
Things to Do at Home to Ensure a Healthy Pregnancy
No matter if you’re already having high-risk pregnancy or you simply want to prevent it from happening, there are a few things you can do to achieve that. Regularly visiting your OB/GYN for the assessment of high-risk pregnancy and informing yourself on time is really important during pregnancy, especially if you are carrying high-risk pregnancy. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Booking a preconception appointment – Even before you become pregnant, you can consult your doctor and ask for proper advice. They will probably recommend that you start taking prenatal vitamins such as folic acid and to achieve a healthy weight before conceiving. If you already have a medical condition, your doctor will make sure to adjust your treatment and ensure a healthy pregnancy.
- Visiting your OB/GYN regularly – If you regularly visit your doctor, they will be able to provide you with the necessary care and treatment. They will refer you to a specialist if they consider it important for you and the baby.
- Avoiding using risky substances – Smoking, drinking, and using drugs can be extremely harmful to the baby, so every mother is advised to abandon these habits once she starts thinking about conceiving.
When to Seek Professional Help?
Talking to your doctor about how you’re feeling can help them evaluate your state and ensure that your pregnancy goes without any problems. Prenatal specialists are trained to help women carry their pregnancies to term healthily and safely. Contacting your doctor is paramount if you notice any unusual symptoms such as:
- Severe headaches ad blurry vision
- Vaginal bleeding and watery vaginal discharge
- Extreme and constant pain and cramping in the lower abdomen
- Changes in the fetal movement
- Vomiting and constant nausea
- Pain and burning while urinating
- Swelling of the face, feet, and hands
- Chills and fever
- Suicidal thoughts and thought of harming your baby
Every pregnancy is different and every woman deals with her pregnancy in her own way. However, constant medical monitoring and help can really help when it comes to high-risk pregnancies as the doctors are able to react immediately in case of an emergency. Every high-risk pregnancy should be monitored closely and taken care of timely and properly.