What Is High-Risk Pregnancy and Factors That May Cause It

Not all pregnancies are the same or equal. Some may have a healthy and normal pregnancy all throughout 9 months until her baby is born. While some experience high-risk pregnancy.

How do you know you're having a high-risk pregnancy? According to research, a high-risk pregnancy is "one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her fetus. If often requires specialized care from specially trained providers."

High-risk pregnancy may happen in two instances, one if the pregnancy becomes high-risk as it progresses while the other one is when the woman already has health conditions which may lead to complications even before they get pregnant for a variety of reasons.

A woman who's having a high-risk pregnancy should have early and regular prenatal check-ups from her doctors.

Here are some of the factors for high-risk pregnancy:

1. Maternal Age. If the woman is below 17 or above 35 years old, there's a chance to have a risk for complications compared to womend in their late teens to early 30s. Miscarriage and genetic defects further increases after age 40.

2. Medical conditions before pregnancy. If the mother to be has health conditions related to high blood pressure, lung, kidney, or heart problems, diabetes, autoimmune disease, sexually transmitted diseases, or chronic infections such as HIV can highly risk the mother and her unborn baby. If you have a medical condition, it's best to consult with your doctor to guide you before you decide to have a baby. You may undergo some tests and even medications to ensure the optimized health for you and your baby.

3. Overweight or obesity. Having these conditions increases the risk of high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, neural tube defects, and cesarean delivery. This can even raise the baby's risk of heart problems at birth.

4. Pregnancy-related issues. These are the issues that arise from the pregnancy itself and not related to the mother's health.

  • Premature labor begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy due to infections shortened cervix or previous preterm birth.

  • Multiple births or carrying more than one baby may increase the risk of premature labor, gestational diabetes, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

  • Placenta previa is when the placenta covers the cervix. This condition may cause bleeding due to contractions. The doctor may schedule a cesarian section to reduce bleeding risks to the mother and baby.

  • Fetal problems which may be seen through an ultrasound.

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, you may be referred to a Perinatologist, an obstetrician with special training in caring for high-risk pregnancies. Your doctor will work with a team of doctors to ensure you and your baby will have a safe pregnancy and child delivery.

Sources: https://www.nichd.nih.gov and https://www.webmd.com/