The word “high risk pregnancy” can be unnerving especially to a new mother. However, it is not intended to imply you are going to get pregnancy-related complications by any means.
Most women who experienced high risk pregnancy either have a few problems or none at all till the day of delivery.
It’s a way of defining the risk of getting complications so that it could aid healthcare providers in establishing appropriate management.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
It does not necessarily describe any pre-existing health condition like heart disease or diabetes mellitus that you have been diagnosed with before conceiving.
Those who develop a certain pregnancy-related condition such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are also considered high risk.
People who experience this type of pregnancy need to be monitored and treated (if necessary) to ensure optimal maternal and foetal health outcomes.
Pre-existing factors for a high risk pregnancy
These are some of the pre-existing factors which can contribute to high-risk designation:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Kidney condition
- Any sexually transmitted infection such as gonorrhoea and HIV
- Diabetes mellitus
- Lupus and other form of autoimmune diseases
- Being overweight or underweight (based on prepregnancy BMI)
- Blood disorders
- Experienced complications during previous pregnancies
- Had history of fertility problems
- Too young (Under the age of 18 years old)
- Advanced maternal age (35 years old and above)
- In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) pregnancy
Developing factors for a high risk pregnancy
There are a few conditions which develop during pregnancy that could make it high risk for you to get complications. Some of them are:
- Twin/triplet pregnancies
- Gestational diabetes (a diabetic condition which only develop during pregnancy)
- Preeclampsia (a condition which causes high blood pressure and other related manifestations)
- Preterm labour (any labour which starts before 37th week of pregnancy)
- Placenta praevia (a condition which causes your baby’s placenta to lie low in the uterus. It can cover the opening of your cervix which can cause bleeding)
- Placenta abruption (a obstetrical emergency which cause placenta to separate early from the uterine wall)
- HELLP syndrome (a complication related to preeclampsia)
- Placenta accreta (a condition in which placenta grow deep beneath the uterine wall causing bleeding and subsequently haemorrhaging during labour and delivery)
- Preterm premature rupture of membranes
- Infections such as Zika, listeria or toxoplasmosis
The management would depends on your condition
For those who have pre-existing conditions before pregnancy, they would be managed by multiple specialities.
For example, a woman with a heart condition needs to consult their cardiologist as her pregnancy progresses. Those who have uncontrolled diabetes mellitus need to consult with their endocrinologist.
It’s important for you to be managed by a specialist as they will give you a better chance of reducing the risk to develop complications later on.
If you have been diagnosed with a certain condition and designated as high risk, don’t be afraid to ask your healthcare providers regarding it.
You might be given a certain type of medication or your doctor would simply stop and change your current prescription.
It’s to ensure that the mode of action of the prescribed medication would do less to no damage to your growing foetus.
This is why it is always a good idea to put your doctor in the loop.
Don’t forget to attend all of your scheduled prenatal appointments, take supplements which have been prescribed for you and lead a healthy lifestyle.
All of those should start at least 3 months before conceiving.
If you are diagnosed with high risk pregnancy, don’t worry too much about it. The advancement of technology has increased the odds of you to have a healthy baby while maintaining a perfectly good health throughout pregnancy.
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