A high-risk pregnancy can be challenging; but it is a challenge that you and your doctor can face together. Understanding your risks, good preparation (when possible) and finding the right doctor will all help you minimize your stress while facing your high-risk pregnancy.
What risk factors define a high-risk pregnancy?
- Age of the mother – women over 35 have more risks while pregnant
- Choices in lifestyle – smoking, drinking and illegal drugs can all put a pregnancy at risk
- Underlying medical conditions – mothers with diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic anemia and epilepsy need specialized care and attention during pregnancy
- Risks that arise during a pregnancy – sometimes complications can arise during a routine pregnancy. A poorly placed placenta, low amniotic fluid, weak cervix, Rh incompatibility, abnormal fetal growth can all cause a pregnancy to become high-risk. Your doctor will discuss your risks and walk you through the process of testing and monitoring.
- Multiple Pregnancy – carrying two or more babies is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
If you know you fall into one of the categories that would be classified as high-risk it is important for you to schedule a preconception appointment. During this appointment, talk openly with your doctor about your lifestyle and your fears. If genetic, or other, testing is indicated; your doctor will schedule those tests and discuss with you any treatments or adjustments that are necessary prior to becoming pregnant.
Once pregnant – eat a healthy diet, be careful of excessive weight gain, and keep all of your scheduled prenatal appointments. During your pregnancy, your doctor may order additional tests or ask you to have more frequent appointments. Report any sudden changes in your health or pregnancy to your doctor immediately.
In order to keep your stress levels under control, we recommend that you direct your questions to your doctor and avoid reading all the “what-ifs” and worse case scenarios that are all over the Internet. Good information is important for you to make wise decisions – but information overload can be counterproductive.