A high-risk pregnancy means that both the mother and the baby can be at risk of developing certain health problems even after the delivery. In cases like these, special pregnancy care or monitoring is often necessary. It’s important to understand the signs of a high-risk pregnancy as well as the possible risk factors so that you can do everything possible to ensure both your and your child’s safety.

The Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy

It’s possible to have a high-risk pregnancy because of a preexisting medical condition or develop one during the pregnancy, which would make it high risk. However, there are also some factors that could increase the risk, such as:

  • Mother’s age, namely, the age of high-risk pregnancy falls at 35 years of age and older
  • An unhealthy lifestyle that involves the consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs
  • Mother’s health issues such as obesity, asthma, epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, infections
  • Complications during pregnancy such as fetal growth restriction, Rh sensitization, unusual placenta position
  • Being pregnant with more than one baby
  • Previous pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, premature delivery, etc.

How to Promote a Healthy Pregnancy?

Sporty Black Pregnant Woman Sitting on Yoga Mat, Exercising at Bedroom

If the ultrasound for pregnancy detects the signs of high-risk pregnancy or you have some concerns about it and want to do everything you can to prevent it, there are several steps you can take.

Schedule an appointment for preconception counseling. In case you’ve decided you want to conceive, make sure to talk to your doctor about it first. Based on your health, the doctor can recommend different practices that could help promote a healthy pregnancy, such as taking folic acid or managing your weight. The doctor might also adjust the dosage or treatment for the preexisting medical condition you may suffer from.

Go in for regular prenatal checkups. A high-risk pregnancy doctor can regularly monitor the health condition of both you and your baby.

Make sure to sustain from taking substances that could pose a risk, such as drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, and using drugs. It’s also important to disclose all of the medication and supplements you might be taking, even if they may be herbal, to your high-risk pregnancy doctor.

How Early Can an Ultrasound Detect Pregnancy?

If you’re worried about the age of high-risk pregnancy, your own medical conditions, or complications with the fetus, going in for an ultrasound for pregnancy early can allow you to take the right steps in time. When we talk about how early an ultrasound can detect pregnancy, the typical timeframe is about three days after you’ve missed your period. You can take a pregnancy test even before the would-be time for your period as these tests tend to be more sensitive. In general, it takes about a week for early pregnancy to show on ultrasound scan after the urine test showed a positive result.

The Best Time for Early Ultrasound for Pregnancy

If the urine pregnancy test came positive yet you have worrying symptoms such as bleeding and pain, it’s crucial to reach out to your OBGYN specialist and go in for an ultrasound as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter how many weeks you’ve been pregnant.  

If you’re worried about the age of high-risk pregnancy being a factor or you’ve experienced previous miscarriages, the best time to get an ultrasound is about three weeks after missing your period. In the case of previous ectopic pregnancy, the ideal time to go for an ultrasound is about one to two weeks after missing the period.

In terms of how early ultrasound can detect pregnancy, we already mentioned that the scan can identify it about three days after missing the period, but only after one-two weeks can the scan check for the pregnancy location or the heartbeat ( after three weeks).

Will Some Special Tests Be Necessary?

Depending on your situation, your high-risk pregnancy doctor might also suggest additional tests and screenings, such as:

  • Targeted ultrasound that checks for a specifically targeted problem, e.g., untypical fetal development
  • Prenatal cell-free DNA screening that screens for certain chromosomal issues
  • Amniocentesis, usually performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy, where amniotic fluid is screened for potential genetic conditions and neural tube defects
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS), usually performed 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy, where placenta cells sample is tested for potential genetic conditions
  • An ultrasound that measures the length of the cervix, which can identify the risk of preterm labor
  • Lab tests that screen for infections such as STDs as well as urinary tract infections
  • Biophysical profile where the prenatal ultrasound evaluates the overall well-being and potentially the heart rate of the fetus

It’s important to note that some prenatal tests such as CVS and amniocentesis have a small pregnancy loss risk, which is why it’s crucial to attend prenatal counseling and discuss all the benefits and risks with your doctor.

Other High-Risk Pregnancy Things to Note

Pregnant Woman Having Nausea Feeling Bad in Sofa at the Home.

If you’re worried about your medical conditions and previous pregnancy complications, it’s essential to disclose everything to your doctor. By going for regular checkups, you can catch the signs of high-risk pregnancy early and take the proper steps to manage them. What’s more, if you notice any of the following symptoms during pregnancy, make sure to contact your doctor as soon as possible:

  • Vaginal bleeding or watery discharge
  • Very strong headaches
  • Dizziness and/or blurred vision
  • Cramps or pain in the lower abdomen
  • Burning or painful sensation while urinating
  • Swelling in the hands, fingers, and face
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Chills or fever
  • Decreased activity of the fetus
  • Thoughts about harming your baby or yourself

If the pregnancy and delivery end up completely fine, or there’s an unfortunate event of pregnancy loss, you still have to listen to your body and pay attention to your health. Namely, complications due to high-risk pregnancy can happen even six weeks after the end of pregnancy. Don’t wait to notify your doctor about any abnormal symptoms you may have immediately.

A range of different factors can lead to a high-risk pregnancy, maternal ag,e and preexisting health conditions are just some of them. In case you get a high-risk pregnancy diagnosis, extra care will be necessary for both you and your baby, not just during the pregnancy but after it as well. This is why it’s so important to go through prenatal care properly. Make sure to communicate with your doctor on a regular basis to minimize the risk of complications as much as possible. And if you’ve decided to conceive and want to get a preconception appointment or explore the possibilities of prenatal or gynecological care, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at University Park OBGYN. We pride ourselves on bringing love and care into our professional service in order to make our patients feel truly comfortable and relaxed. What’s more, thanks to the latest medical knowledge, extensive experience, and top-notch equipment, we can confidently say that we offer a safe and satisfying experience at every stage of a woman’s life.