What constitutes a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is any pregnancy where the mother’s or baby’s health might be at risk either during the pregnancy or during delivery. Although high-risk pregnancies are not common, the outcomes can be very serious without early diagnosis and proper care.
Many factors can contribute to a high-risk pregnancy, but these factors aren’t always obvious — and many can go undiagnosed without a doctor’s care. Some of the most common factors for high-risk pregnancies include:
- Maternal age of 17 years or younger
- Maternal age of 35 years or older
- Pre-existing diabetes or high blood pressure
- Diabetes or high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy
- Alcohol or drug use
- Being pregnant with more than one baby
- Previous high-risk pregnancy or pregnancy complication
- Other pre-existing health problems, like thyroid disorders, lupus, epilepsy, asthma, kidney disease, or heart disease
The effects of high-risk pregnancies can vary from one woman to another, and they can also vary depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy. Visiting the office regularly for evaluations, tests, and monitoring is the key to reducing the risks for both you and your baby.
Managing a high-risk pregnancy
Knowing your risk factors is an important part of determining if your pregnancy is high risk. But there’s a problem: While some risk factors (like smoking or pre-existing disease) are relatively easy to identify, other factors are pretty much impossible to identify on your own. That’s where your obstetrician comes in.
At Dekalb Women’s Specialists, your pregnancy care begins with screening for many of the risk factors associated with high-risk pregnancies. That includes screening for diabetes, infections, and other underlying medical issues, like anemia. Our team will review your medical history, and we’ll also gather information about your family’s medical history, including any history of genetic problems or other high-risk pregnancies.
Throughout your pregnancy, you’ll probably have more frequent office visits so we can monitor you and your baby more closely. Frequent office visits also give you plenty of time to ask questions and discuss any concerns you might have about your health, your baby’s health, or the upcoming delivery process.
With a high-risk pregnancy, you may require additional blood tests, lab work, or ultrasounds to keep track of the baby’s development. We’ll also provide you with the support and guidance you need to make healthy changes that may help reduce your risks. In some cases, we may also recommend genetic testing or special delivery preparation, like a scheduled cesarean section.
Reduce your risks
It can be pretty scary to learn that your pregnancy is high risk. But with proper care and monitoring, you can reduce the risks for you and your baby, so you can experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery. There are three important things to remember: Begin prenatal care early, follow the doctor’s instructions, and don’t skip any office visits. To schedule your prenatal care visit at one of our three locations, call Dekalb Women’s Specialists at 404-508-2000.