In the United States, between 6 and 8 percent of pregnancies are considered high-risk. These numbers may seem negligible, but it is important that you know your own susceptibility to a high-risk pregnancy if you are planning to get pregnant or are already expecting. This way, you can take all necessary measures to ensure your and your baby’s health and safety right through delivery.
Let’s look at what defines a high-risk pregnancy, its risk factors, and what you can do to manage your health when you’re facing a high-risk pregnancy.
Defining a High-risk Pregnancy
The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) defines a high-risk pregnancy as one that poses a threat to the health or life of the mother or unborn baby. It is worth noting that just because your doctor told you that you have a high-risk pregnancy doesn’t automatically mean that something bad is going to happen to you or your baby. It means that because of a medical condition or another problem, you have an increased risk of developing complications before, during, or after delivery.
Sometimes, you could have a high-risk pregnancy as a result of a preexisting medical condition (a health problem that occurred before you got pregnant). In other cases, you could also develop a medical condition during your pregnancy that could pose a threat to your health or your baby’s.
Whichever the case, you will need specialized care from an OB/GYN to ensure your and your baby’s health and safety. With early and regular prenatal care, you can still have a successful pregnancy
Conditions That Could Make Your Pregnancy High-Risk
There are various factors that could contribute to a high-risk pregnancy. These include the following:
- Age- if the mother is under the age of 20 or over the age of 35
- Clotting disorder
- Fetal growth abnormality (less than 10th percentile for gestational age)
- Gestational diabetes
- History of miscarriage, preterm labor, or other complications
- Hypertension and history of pregnancy-related hypertension disorders (preeclampsia)
- Kidney disease
- Multiple pregnancies
- Placenta abnormality
- Sexually-transmitted diseases (e.g., syphilis, herpes, HIV/AIDS, etc.)
- Sickle cell disease
- Thyroid disorder
- covid 19 exposure/infection
In addition to the ones listed above, lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol abuse. and the use of illegal drugs can have detrimental effects on maternal and fetal health. There are certain prescription drugs that could also harm your baby, and so your OB/GYN will ask you to disclose any medications you may be taking when you are considering becoming pregnant or are already expecting.
What to Do When Facing a High-Risk Pregnancy
If your OB/GYN determines that you’re having a high-risk pregnancy, they will work with you to devise a prenatal care plan that will help keep you and your baby safe. Your care plan may include the following:
- Additional prenatal visits, tests, and ultrasounds- to closely monitor the progress of your pregnancy and the growth and development of your baby
- Genetic counseling- to provide you with information about specific birth defects and conditions and help you make decisions about your pregnancy and how to best care for your baby
- Dietary and lifestyle recommendations (e.g., safe exercise, smoking cessation, etc.)- to manage your medical condition
- Adjustment to your medications
- Bed rest if your OB/GYN detects a fetal growth problem or if you have hypertension, or risks for miscarriage or preterm labor (e.g., vaginal bleeding).
High-Risk Pregnancy Care in Sandwich, Yorkville, Plainfield, and Aurora, IL
At Aishling Obstetrics & Gynecology, our highly credentialed OB/GYNs are adept at handling high-risk pregnancies and serious complications. You can count on us to help you navigate your pregnancy and get to the outcome that you desire for you and your baby. From your first prenatal visit with us through your postpartum period, we will work closely with you to constantly ensure your and your baby’s health and well-being.
To schedule an appointment with one of our OB/GYNs, give our staff a call today at (815) 786-1088, or fill out this secure form.