Although the vast majority of women today experience a healthy and uneventful pregnancy, as many as 8 percent of all pregnancies come with high-risk complications due to medical conditions related to the mother’s health or that of her baby.
If yours is considered a high-risk pregnancy by your doctor, it means that you or your baby may be at increased risk of health problems either before, during, or after delivery and require special monitoring throughout your pregnancy.
That’s why it is important to understand these high-risk factors, so you can take care of yourself and your baby. Let’s talk about these risk factors and where you can go in Sandwich, Illinois, for outstanding obstetrics and gynecology care.
Specific Factors That Denote a High-Risk Pregnancy
Whether a medical condition is present before pregnancy or develops during pregnancy, certain high-risk factors should be heeded. These include:
- An advanced maternal age. If you are older than age 35, your pregnancy is at greater risk.
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices. If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use illicit drugs, it can endanger your pregnancy.
- Pre-existing maternal health problems. Conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, blood disorders, thyroid disease, asthma, obesity, or infections can increase your pregnancy risks.
- Various complications that develop during pregnancy. Several examples include an unusual placenta position, fetal growth restriction (less than the 10th percentile for gestational age), and Rh (rhesus) sensitization, which occurs when your blood group is Rh negative while your baby’s blood group is Rh positive.
- Multiple pregnancies. If you are carrying more than one fetus, you are less likely to carry your pregnancy to term.
- A history of pregnancy-related disorders. For example, if you experienced preeclampsia (hypertension and high levels of protein in your urine), there’s a good chance you will have a similar diagnosis during your next pregnancy. Or, if you previously gave birth prematurely, you are at an increased risk of early delivery in your subsequent pregnancy.
Steps You Can Take to Promote a Healthy Pregnancy
If you are aware before conception that yours will be a high-risk pregnancy, or you merely want to do whatever you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy, follow these measures:
- Arrange a preconception consultation with your healthcare provider. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, your treatment may be adjusted in preparation for your pregnancy.
- Adhere to regular prenatal care. Visits to an obstetrician will involve the monitoring of your health and that of your baby. Depending on your circumstances, this may include specialized or targeted fetal ultrasound, prenatal cell-free DNA screening, and/or invasive genetic screening.
- Refrain from any risky substances. If you are a smoker, quit the habit. Also, avoid alcohol and, certainly, any illegal drugs. Also, speak with your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you are currently taking.
- Talk to your doctor about managing any medical conditions you have during pregnancy. Be sure to contact your physician immediately if you experience unusual symptoms, such as:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Decreased fetal activity
- Painful urination
- Blurred vision
- Fever or chills
- Severe headaches
- Persistent (as opposed to occasional) nausea
- Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
High-Risk Pregnancy Services in Sandwich, Illinois
At Aishling Obstetrics and Gynecology, our board-certified physicians have the diagnostic tools and expertise to determine whether you have any pregnancy risk factors, as well as the experience and skills to help ensure that your pregnancy has a healthy outcome.
We offer the highest-quality, patient-centered obstetric care, and that includes the services of Leslie Oliver, our board-certified midwife, who began her career as a cardiac nurse for 10 years, followed by another 10 years as a labor and delivery (L&D) nurse at Swedish American Hospital in Rockford, Illinois. Leslie is committed to making your pregnancy and birthing experience as rewarding and memorable as possible.
For more information about our obstetric services, schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated and compassionate physicians by calling us at (815) 786-1088 or contacting us through our website. For your added convenience, we have locations in Sandwich, Yorkville, Plainfield, and Aurora, IL, where our team will happily answer all your questions.