High Risk Pregnancy
Meera, a 45 year old corporate marketing consultant, was happy when the doctor confirmed she was pregnant. Last few years she was busy with her career and she and her husband had not thought about a baby, but now she felt ready to start a family. Her gynaecologist however cautioned saying that due to her age it could be a high risk pregnancy and she would need to be carefully monitored all throughout.
What is High Risk Pregnancy?
High-risk pregnancy, is one where the mother or the baby might be at health risk before, during or after delivery. For this type of pregnancy special monitoring or care is required.
What are the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy?
Medical condition present before pregnancy in a woman or during it can make a pregnancy high risk for the mother and the baby.
Factors that make a pregnancy high-risk include:
- Advanced maternal age – Pregnancy risks increase if the age of the mother is 35 and above
- Lifestyle choices – Using drugs, Smoking and consuming alcohol can increase the risk
- Existing health conditions – being Obese, having High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Thyroid, Heart problem, Asthma, and other infections can increase the risk during pregnancy.
- Other complications – abnormal placenta position, less foetal growth may increases the risk for the foetus during pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancy – Women carrying more than one foetus (twins/triplets or more) can be at high risk
- High-risk pregnancy history –
Some medical conditions during pregnancy that may make it high risk
- Vaginal bleeding or watery discharge
- Severe headaches
- Cramp or pain in the lower abdomen
- Decreased foetal activity
- Burning sensation during urination
- Blurred vision or any other change in it
- Swelling in the face, hands or fingers
- Fever or chills
- Nausea or vomiting
Preventing and Treating Pregnancy Complications
A preconception consult with a gynaecologist is recommended to ensure the mother is healthy prior to becoming pregnant to avoid complications later on. The doctor may recommend you to follow certain steps to reduce the risk of pregnancy problems.
Steps to be followed for a healthy pregnancy and delivery:
- Consume recommended amount of folic acid daily at the beginning of pregnancy and follow it throughout the pregnancy
- Get immunized as per doctor’s recommendation
- Follow a healthy diet and maintain proper weight
- Get regular physical activity, unless your doctor advises against it
- Avoid smoking, alcohol, and drugs (except ones prescribed by your doctor)
- Go for regular check-up
If your pregnancy is high risk, then your doctor may refer you to a perinatologist, who is an obstetrician and has the training to deal with such scenarios. This specialist will works with other health-care professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for both the mother and the baby.