According to reports, approximately 50,000 American women experience severe complications during pregnancy. This sheer prevalence makes high-risk pregnancies an alarming situation, especially for Black women, in which mortality rate is higher compared to White women.
While it’s true that all pregnancies carry some risks, a high-risk pregnancy carries a higher risk (about 25%) of health problems to the mother, baby, or both. Even though high-risk pregnancies are manageable with early and regular prenatal care, these can be life-threatening for both woman and the unborn baby when left unmanaged.
Let’s talk about the potential complications associated with high-risk pregnancies and where you can go in Greater Chicago for excellent OB/GYN care.
Complications Associated with High-Risk Pregnancies
Following are some of the common complications one may face with a high-risk pregnancy.
Previously known as toxemia, preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication in which you may have high blood pressure and at least one associated sign, such as an elevated level of protein in the urine (proteinuria) and other signs of organ (especially kidney) damage.
Along with high BP, you may have thrombocytopenia (decreased platelet level in blood), increased liver enzyme, shortness of breath, and severe headache, among others. Albeit rare, preeclampsia may result in seizures during pregnancy, a condition known as eclampsia.
OB/GYN doctors closely monitor preeclampsia patients and manage severe cases with medications and certain lifestyle changes.
Preterm delivery is the birth of an alive baby before the start of the 37th week of pregnancy. Simply, a baby is born alive three weeks before the estimated due date. Preterm delivery may result in a higher risk of complicated medical problems in the baby.
A preterm or premature baby will likely need a longer hospital stay in a special nursery and extra help feeding and adapting immediately after delivery. The baby is often admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and the mother is admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).
Miscarriage, also known as spontaneous abortion is the unexpected ending of a pregnancy. Previous three or more miscarriages are also a sign that your current pregnancy will be high risk.
Miscarriage cannot be prevented as it often occurs due to abnormal pregnancy. The OB/GYN doctors perform a pelvic exam and ultrasound to confirm a miscarriage. Occasionally, dilation and curettage (D&C) or dilation and extraction (D&E) is performed to completely empty uterus.
This complication refers to the death of the fetus in the uterus after the 20th week of pregnancy. Baby either die weeks or hours before labor or during labor. An older mother (age 35 or above) is more likely to have a stillbirth. Preeclampsia has also been found to be the cause of stillbirth.
It’s important to mention here that miscarriage happens before the 20th week while stillbirth happens after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Other Complications of High-Risk Pregnancy
In addition to the above-mentioned complications, a high-risk pregnancy may also result in:
- Cesarean delivery
- Birth defects
- Problem with the development of baby’s brain
- Low or high birth weight
- Excessive bleeding during and after delivery as well as during labor
High-Risk Pregnancies in Greater Chicago
If you think your pregnancy is at high risk and seek prenatal care, look no further than the experienced and skilled OB/GYN physicians at Aishling Obstetrics & Gynecology. Our OB/GYN doctors offer world-class, patient-centered, and evidence-based prenatal care. Our prenatal care includes electronic fetal monitoring, maternal and fetal testing as well as consultation with specialists.
Our providers are affiliated with Rush Copley Medical Center, Valley West Community Hospital, Presence Mercy Medical Center, and Edward Hospital.
We look forward to having you!