What are the risk factors for high-risk pregnancy? In this article, you will learn 7 main reasons of being women that are categorized as high risk pregnancy group and how you are going to manage it? Having high-risk pregnancy means your baby is at risk of health problems in your pregnancy, which can affect them during, before, and after pregnancy. What can you do about it? How can you best take care of yourself and your baby?
If you are planning to get pregnant, here is the article for you.
What are The Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy?
Here are some of the reasons a pregnancy turns into high-risk pregnancy, here are the seven (7) main ones:
Existing Medical Condition
Having an existing medical condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, STD, HIV, or any problem affecting the lung, kidney, or heart poses a risk to infants. It is best to consult your doctor before deciding to get pregnant, as doctors may need to test and adjust prescriptions that are also safe for your baby.
Medical Conditions that Occur During Pregnancy
Unfortunately, even if you are one healthy woman, you still have a chance to incur the following medical conditions that can affect your baby’s health: preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, high blood pressure, depression, preterm labor and anxiety.
Women under the age of seventeen and over thirty-five are exposed to a greater risk of complications. There is an even higher risk of miscarriage and genetic defects for those over forty. Studies suggest that a decrease in the quality of the eggs that go along with chronic medical conditions such as blood pressure and diabetes will risk miscarriage.
Lifestyle choices can affect the infant in your tummy. Factors such as alcohol use, tobacco use, and drug use can harm the infant’s health. Alcohol and tobacco consumption increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome and can also affect intellectual and developmental disabilities. While there are also studies that show drugs can affect fetus brain development.
If a woman carries more than one fetus, this increases the risk of pregnancy complications that include premature labor, preterm birth, and preeclampsia. About half of twins are born less than 37 weeks.
Have you had a history of miscarriage (or abortion) or any problems with pregnancy in the past? Taking note of how it was dealt with in the past may help you avoid it this time. It is also worth checking your family history if there are genetic disorders too because if it runs in your genes, then there is a chance of you experiencing it.
Other Pregnancy Complications
There are other pregnancy complications, such as severe nausea and vomiting. It might be normal to some, but others may experience worst than others. Other pregnant women also experience iron deficiency anemia or when the body doesn’t have enough iron.
Special Tests to Take for High-Risk Pregnancy
Depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend any of the following special tests to check if your baby is healthy:
Lab Tests is a common test for all pregnant women. You’ll have to do it every few months during pregnancy because pregnant women are at higher risk of urinary tract infections. This is also a test to check if you are suffering from HIV and syphilis.
This is an ultrasound to check your infant’s well-being that involves a scoring system. It is a test that combines fetal heart rate monitoring and evaluating the baby’s heartbeat, breathing, muscle tone, movement, and amniotic fluid level.
Ultrasound for Cervical Length
To ensure that you are not at risk of preterm labor, your healthcare provider will have to measure the length of your cervix. A short cervix can be defined as a cervix less than 25 mm and funneling.
This fetal ultrasound that uses high-frequency sound waves helps to target any suspected problem such as abnormal development. It is similar to a standard ultrasound exam, but it covers a higher level of detail to the baby’s anatomy.
The prenatal cell-free DNA screening helps check any chromosomal abnormalities. During this screening, DNA from the mother and the fetus are both extracted from the blood sample. Chromosome problems such as Down syndrome, trisomy 13 and 18 can be detected through this test.
Invasive Genetic Screening
This is performed to detect any genetic disease of the fetus. In the process during amniocentesis, your healthcare provider will withdraw a sample of the fluid that surrounds the fetus. This is done in the 15th week of the pregnancy.
Steps to Take for a Healthy Pregnancy
Emotions can quickly turn into anxiety, especially when you are diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy. Although nothing is guaranteed, here are some steps to take to make sure your baby remains healthy in your tummy:
1. Quit smoking and drinking.
Keep in mind that whatever you consume, your baby also does. These harmful substances are going to your baby directly, which will affect their health. One of the severe complications is preterm birth.
2. Avoid harmful food.
Harmful food that may contain bacteria increases the risk of toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis is an infection you can get from undercooked meat, which can lead to miscarriage. Also, avoid liver products that contain a lot of vitamin A and are harmful to the baby.
3. Maintain a healthy weight.
A healthy weight gain during pregnancy totals 25 – 35 pounds. That includes your 8-pound baby, 3-pound placenta, 3-pound amniotic fluid. Having a healthy weight lowers the risk of having a premature baby, heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Make sure to eat three meals a day with enough nutrients.
4. Prioritize your health.
Listen to your body and always put yourself first. If you are tired and need to slow down, take a nap. Allow yourself to rest – remember that there are also activities going on inside you. Don’t overwork yourself, and this includes mental health concerns.
5. Make sure to attend regular OB-GYN visits.
Attend regular OB-GYN visits, ask the right questions and follow them through. It is best to keep a notebook with all these reminders or questions you may want to ask for the next meeting. Staying informed on what could potentially harm your baby or yourself during pregnancy will keep you on the right path. You’ll know what to avoid and what to do if any problem arises.
There will be ups and downs, but knowing the factors of high-risk pregnancy and knowing how to manage it, will give you a high chance of a healthy pregnancy.
Let us know if you are one of the high risk pregnancy group, any advice for the new expecting mothers?