A woman may experience a lot of delight, excitement, and anticipation, all at the same time when she first takes a pregnancy test and learns that she is pregnant. However, if the pregnancy is regarded as high-risk, it can also be a period of anxiety, stress, and worry. A high-risk pregnancy indicates that extra attention is required to ensure a healthy pregnancy and successful delivery. Approximately 6 to 8 % of all pregnancies result in problems that put women who start out having a healthy pregnancy in the high-risk category.
Continue reading to learn more about the different high-Risk Pregnancy Conditions, causes, and symptoms of high-risk pregnancies. We also bring you some tips on how to deal with a high-risk pregnancy.
In this Article
- 1 High-Risk Pregnancy
- 2 Causes of High-Risk Pregnancy
- 3 Risk Factors for a High-Risk Pregnancy
- 4 High-Risk Pregnancy Symptoms
- 5 5 High-Risk Pregnancy Conditions
- 6 Tips to manage High-Risk Pregnancy
Some pregnancy risks are common in every pregnancy. A “high-risk” pregnancy is one that has higher health risks for the expectant mother, the fetus, or both. A High-risk pregnant woman may need more care and caution before, during, and after giving delivery. This lessens the likelihood of difficulties.
However, a high risk pregnancy does not guarantee that you or your fetus will experience complications. Despite having exceptional health needs, many people have safe pregnancies and typical labor and delivery.
Causes of High-Risk Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related risk factors include
- Age (being under 17 or over 35 when pregnant)
- Existing health problems.
- lifestyle elements (including alcohol abuse, smoking, drug addiction, and exposure to some toxins).
- pregnancy-related health issues.
- Having an unhealthy weight
- Having experienced issues with prior pregnancies
Risk Factors for a High-Risk Pregnancy
Pregnant women who have a number of chronic diseases face greater pregnancy risks. These conditions include, among others:
- lupus or multiple sclerosis (MS) or other such autoimmune diseases
- Renal disease.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Thyroid disease.
- Less than ideal body weight (BMI of less than 18.5).
- Depression or other mental health issues
- Blood clotting disorders.
Pregnancy-related illnesses may also pose pregnancy risks to both mother and fetus. These include
- Birth deformities or fetal genetic disorders.
- Poor fetal development
- Multiple pregnancies (pregnancy with more than one fetus, such as twins or triplets).
- Gestational diabetes
- Both preeclampsia and eclampsia.
- Preterm births or labors in the past, as well as any other difficulties from earlier pregnancies
High-Risk Pregnancy Symptoms
If you experience any of the following high-risk pregnancy symptoms, get immediate medical attention. A few signs of pregnancy which are high-risk, including
- You become unconscious – You wouldn’t be able to do anything in this circumstance. In advance, explain to your partner, neighbor, or coworker what to do in such a circumstance.
- You feel vaginal bleeding
- You may have fluid dripping from your vagina as a result of the umbilical cord protruding into the vagina. Make an urgent call for assistance. While doing this, bend over so that your buttocks are higher than your head. Until aid arrives, this will help lessen the strain on the cord.
- You feel excruciating abdominal or pelvic discomfort
- Early signs of pregnancy pre-eclampsia include sudden swelling in your hands, feet, or face; blurry or dim eyesight; and a terrible headache that won’t go away or gets worse.
- abdominal pain that persists.
- You may feel discomfort in your chest and your heart racing and find it difficult to breathe.
- Fever around 100.4 or higher.
- extreme exhaustion
- thoughts of hurting the fetus or yourself.
- Enhanced morning sickness-like nausea and vomiting.
- You have backache or chronic pelvic pressure.
- You notice that your infant is moving less frequently than usual or not at all.
While you’re pregnant it’s important to keep an eye out for any pregnancy symptoms which indicate that your pregnancy is not progressing as it should and to remain cautious. Although not all signs of pregnancy indicate a problem, it is always important to be vigilant and contact your doctor at the first indication of trouble.
5 High-Risk Pregnancy Conditions
When you have high blood pressure because you are pregnant, preeclampsia can happen. In addition to potentially causing seizures, preeclampsia can harm your organs like your kidney and liver. While leading a healthy lifestyle and, in some situations, taking a baby aspirin daily can help reduce your risk of developing preeclampsia, these measures do not completely eliminate it. In the first pregnancy, it occurs most frequently.
Preeclampsia is treated by giving delivery. Your blood pressure should drop after you deliver your child and the placenta. Your doctor will probably deliver you if you are more than 37 weeks pregnant in order to preserve the health of both you and your unborn child. Your doctor may decide to hospitalize you prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy in order to manage your blood pressure and keep an eye on both you and the baby. The objective is to prolong the time that your baby is growing in your uterus without endangering your health. The ideal timing for your baby to be born will need to be decided by you and your doctor.
Cardiac Issues in the Mother
Your heart may experience a lot of stress during pregnancy. During pregnancy, your body produces more blood to support the developing fetus. Your heart must work harder to keep your blood flowing because of the additional blood, though. Before becoming pregnant, if you have a cardiac issue, you could require additional treatment to check your health. To determine how your heart is functioning, you could have an electrocardiogram or echocardiography.
The baby may need to be delivered early. Although the majority of mothers with heart issues may successfully deliver vaginally, you might need to skip labor since it could put more stress on your heart and have a C-section instead in some circumstances. During pregnancy, some medications can assist manage heart issues. To keep your heart healthy, it’s also crucial to get some light activity and get plenty of rest.
Talking to your doctor about your cardiac issue prior to becoming pregnant is one of the most crucial things you can do to help maintain your health during pregnancy. They can assist you in figuring out what you can do to safeguard your heart before becoming pregnant.
Diabetes that only develops during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. Although the placenta produces the hormones that cause it, if you are overweight or have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) your risk may be higher. Additionally, there is an increased risk for women who had borderline diabetes before being pregnant.
Fortunately, you and your baby have a wide range of safe treatment choices for gestational diabetes. To lower your blood sugar, you can alter your diet and increase your physical activity. In addition, you can take medications like insulin to assist lower blood sugar. You must keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and visit your doctor more frequently if you have gestational diabetes. Fortunately, following giving birth, your blood sugar should return to normal.
Before getting pregnant, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor to make sure your blood sugar is under control if you suspect you could have borderline diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Prior to conception, high blood sugar levels can raise the chance of miscarriage and birth abnormalities.
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean (VBAC)
You don’t necessarily need to have another Caesarean section (C-section) just because you’ve done so once, or even twice, in the past. In order to minimize the hazards and recuperation time associated with a C-section, many women try for a vaginal birth after Caesarean (VBAC).
However, a VBAC delivery can be riskier than a regular vaginal birth. This is due to the possibility of the area of your uterus being weak due to the scar from your C-section. Your uterus may rupture at the scar as a result of the strains of labor, necessitating an immediate C-section and perhaps endangering the unborn child. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. In excess of 70% of VBAC attempts, a vaginal delivery is achieved. You should let your doctor know if you are thinking about a VBAC as soon as you have an appointment. They can assist you in deciding whether it is secure for you and your baby.
Placenta accreta might be the most serious of all the conditions on this list. Placenta accreta is a condition in which the placenta grows deeply into the uterine wall. After your baby is born during childbirth, the placenta typically separates from the uterus on its own. Placenta accreta, on the other hand, causes the placenta to remain attached to the uterus and even develop into nearby organs like the bladder. This may result in serious, potentially fatal bleeding during delivery.
Prenatal ultrasounds frequently allow for the diagnosis of placenta accreta. If you are given this diagnosis, you’ll probably need to have a C-section delivered a few weeks sooner than expected at a hospital with the necessary equipment to treat this condition (all hospitals may not have such resources). The objective is to keep you from going into labor too early and bleeding and to have you give birth in the appropriate area in a well-controlled way.
The majority of women with placenta accreta will require a hysterectomy (uterus removal) soon after giving birth in order to prevent severe bleeding during delivery. This is known as a cesarean hysterectomy. You won’t be able to get pregnant again if you don’t have a uterus. However, in this circumstance, a hysterectomy is frequently required to preserve your life.
Tips to manage High-Risk Pregnancy
Prior to becoming pregnant, maintain or acquire a healthy weight.
Pregnancy issues including high blood pressure, hypertension, gestational diabetes, and stillbirth are all increased by being overweight or obese. These issues are early signs of pregnancy with complications.
Getting to a healthy weight before getting pregnant lowers your risk of difficulties you’re going to get pregnant. To lose weight and keep it off while maintaining a healthy weight, eat a balanced diet and exercise frequently. To ensure healthy labor and delivery, adhere to the doctor’s weight-gain recommendations while you are pregnant.
Take care of existing medical conditions
Uncontrolled pre-existing medical issues can increase the risk of pregnancy. Typical ailments that may have an impact on pregnancy include:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Heart condition
- HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- Multiple sclerosis and lupus are examples of autoimmune disorders.
Your body endures a lot during pregnancy. Your body functions at its optimum while you are pregnant when health issues are managed with medication and lifestyle changes prior to becoming pregnant.
Avoid using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
The health of your unborn child can be seriously impacted by drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco products, and using drugs while pregnant. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, a devastating birth abnormality, is made more likely by alcohol consumption while pregnant.
Low birth weight in newborns can result from cigarette smoking. It’s possible for newborns to be born addicted to a substance that was used during pregnancy, and consuming illegal drugs or misusing prescription medications can result in birth abnormalities. During pregnancy, only take the medications that your doctor has prescribed.
Consume prenatal vitamins
Your body requires more nutrients while you are pregnant in order to support the development of the fetus. You can acquire folic acid, iron, protein, and calcium from prenatal vitamins and supplements that you wouldn’t normally get from your diet.
It’s a good idea to start taking a prenatal supplement when you have early signs of pregnancy or better yet, before conception if you’re hoping to get pregnant. If you’re breastfeeding, taking prenatal vitamins after the birth of your child may be beneficial.
Be aware of older maternal age risks
At age 35, your likelihood of having a complicated pregnancy rises. These issues include trouble getting pregnant, miscarriage, and genetic defects in the unborn child. Around the age of 30, fertility starts to fall gradually, and for women 35 and older, it accelerates.
Typical issues that mothers 35 and older may have include:
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
- Gestational diabetes
- Needing a cesarean delivery
The lowest risk group for pregnancy problems are women in their 20s. If you are pregnant or intend to become pregnant later in life, talk to your doctor about older age pregnancy risks.
- See your doctor regularly when pregnant.
It’s imperative to have regular prenatal consultations to keep an eye on your health and the health of your developing child. Your doctor evaluates your vital signs and tracks the development of the infant at each visit. Your doctor will create a treatment plan if any potential problems are found, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, to ensure that you have the healthiest pregnancy and delivery possible.
From the moment a woman takes a pregnancy test, till she feels the tender warmth of the newborn in her hands, each pregnancy is unique. In certain low-risk pregnancies, issues like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia arise in the middle of the pregnancy, necessitating specific medical care for both the mother and the unborn child. In other situations, women might start their pregnancies at high risk. A high risk pregnancy can be caused by a number of circumstances. These include advanced age and specific medical disorders. You could require more care before, during, and after giving birth if you are pregnant and at high risk. Make sure to receive complete prenatal care. To lower the risk of pregnancy issues, keep in regular contact with your healthcare practitioner.