5 Key Considerations for Managing a High-Risk Pregnancy

If your pregnancy is deemed high-risk, understanding these essential points is crucial.

5 Key Considerations for Managing a High-Risk Pregnancy

In cases of high-risk pregnancies, both you and your baby may face heightened health concerns before, during, or after delivery, necessitating specialized monitoring and care throughout gestation. Familiarize yourself with the risk factors associated with high-risk pregnancies and take proactive steps to safeguard the well-being of both yourself and your baby. In this article, Dr. Swetha M.P., Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals in HRBR Layout, Bangalore, elaborates on crucial factors to consider during such pregnancies. If you find yourself in this situation, adhere to the following instructions for expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies.

What factors increase the risks associated with pregnancy

At times, a pregnancy is deemed high-risk due to pre-existing medical conditions, while in other instances, conditions that arise during pregnancy for either the mother or the baby lead to this classification.

Factors contributing to a high-risk pregnancy encompass:

  • Advanced maternal age, typically defined as being over 35 years old, or pregnancy at a later stage.
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking, alcohol consumption, or illicit drug use, which can elevate pregnancy risks.
  • Maternal health issues like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disorders, heart or blood conditions, uncontrolled asthma, or infections, all of which heighten pregnancy risks.
  • Pregnancy complications that may arise, posing potential risks.
  • Carrying multiple fetuses.
  • Previous pregnancy history, including experiences of pre-eclampsia or preterm birth, which can elevate risks in subsequent pregnancies.

What actions can I take to support a healthy pregnancy

Whether you’re aware beforehand of the possibility of a high-risk pregnancy or you aim to prevent it altogether, focusing on fundamental measures is key:

  • Schedule a preconception appointment. Your healthcare provider may advise starting a daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid and achieving a healthy weight before conceiving.
  • Prioritize regular prenatal care. These visits enable your healthcare provider to monitor both your and your baby’s health closely.
  • Steer clear of harmful substances. Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Additionally, abstain from alcohol and illegal drugs.
What actions can I take to support a healthy pregnancy

Will I require specific tests

Depending on your situation, your healthcare provider may suggest:

  • Specialized or targeted ultrasound: This type of fetal ultrasound employs high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the baby in the uterus, providing detailed information.
  • Prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening: This procedure involves extracting DNA from the mother’s blood sample and screening the fetal DNA for potential chromosome abnormalities.
  • Invasive genetic screening: Amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) may be recommended by your healthcare provider for more comprehensive genetic testing.
  • Ultrasound for cervical length: Your healthcare provider might use ultrasound to measure the length of your cervix during prenatal appointments, assessing the risk of preterm labor.
  • Lab tests: Urine tests for urinary tract infections, as well as screening for infectious diseases like HIV and syphilis, are routine. Reproductive health screening is also essential.
  • Biophysical profile: This prenatal ultrasound evaluates the baby’s well-being, assessing various factors to ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Will I require specific tests

What additional information should I be aware of regarding high-risk pregnancies

Make sure to discuss with your healthcare provider how to manage any pre-existing medical conditions throughout your pregnancy, and how your health may impact labor and delivery. Reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • Vaginal bleeding or watery vaginal discharge
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Decreased fetal activity
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Changes in vision, such as blurred vision
  • Sudden or severe swelling in the face, hands, or fingers
  • Fever or chills
  • Vomiting or persistent nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

A high-risk pregnancy may have its challenges. Stay positive and follow the guidance provided by your obstetrician to ensure a smooth pregnancy journey, minimizing complications.