Having a baby is a natural process that most women are well equipped to go through. However, there are some that experience what is referred to as a high-risk pregnancy. Any potential complication that may affect the mother or the baby or both is considered by medical professionals as a high-risk pregnancy. Women who could be prone to a high-risk pregnancy require monitoring and management throughout their pregnancy by specialists to ensure safety for both mother and baby.
Factors That Could Cause High-Risk Pregnancy
Some pre-existing medical conditions can result in high-risk pregnancy. Another reason could be the development of a medical condition during pregnancy that could result in a risk for the mother, baby, or both. However, certain specific factors could contribute to a high-risk pregnancy.
- Women over the age of 35 have a higher chance of a high-risk pregnancy.
- Substance abuse before or during pregnancy is another factor that can cause high-risk pregnancy.
- Women with a history of diabetes, chronic hypertension, heart problems, asthma, blood disorders, and infections are at a higher risk.
- Surgery of the uterus, abdominal surgeries, multiple C-sections or surgery for fibroids also increases the risk for pregnant women.
- An abnormal placenta position, Rh sensitization, and fetal growth restriction are all potential risk factors.
- Women carrying twins or more have a higher chance of facing high-risk pregnancy.
Steps to Help Prevent a High-Risk Pregnancy
There are several steps that a to-be mother should take to ensure a safe pregnancy and childbirth. While some of these steps relate to lifestyle changes; others require help and monitoring by medical specialists. Given below are four key steps that can reduce the risks and help prevent a high-risk pregnancy.
- Ensure a Healthy and Varied Diet – An expecting mother requires higher quantities of folic acid, calcium, iron, and proteins to take care of her health and that of the baby growing inside. A varied and healthy diet, rich in essential nutrients is vital to the healthy growth of the baby. Dairy products are a rich source for calcium and proteins, as are leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Low iron in the body can cause anemia for the expecting mother. Along with leafy vegetables rich in iron, pregnant women can take prenatal supplements as a source of iron and folic acid.
- Weight Management – A crucial part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy, it is important that women during pregnancy are neither under nor overweight. The best way to ensure weight management is to calculate the body mass index (BMI) to figure out where you stand. If you wish to understand and get more information on nutrition and weight management, along with all other factors relating to pregnancy, Greater New Haven OB/GYN specialists are there to answer all your queries. A BMI of 18.5 – 24.9 in women is considered a normal or healthy weight. Pregnant women with a BMI of less than 18.5 face the risk of delivering an underweight baby and/or premature birth. Women during pregnancy, with a BMI of 25 and above are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. A high BMI also increases the chances of a C-section or cesarean delivery.
- Avoid Substance Abuse – The prime cause of FASD (fetal alcohol syndrome disorders), drinking alcohol during pregnancy is harmful to both the mother and baby. FASD is responsible for physical, behavioral and learning problems in the child. Smoking is bad for everyone. However, in the case of expecting mothers, it affects the growth and development of the fetus and increases the risk of premature delivery and birth defects. Smoking is also related to a higher risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Taking OTC medicines during pregnancy can also cause complications. Always consult with the OB-GYN before taking any medicine and follow their instructions to the hilt. Illegal drugs should never be taken during pregnancy. It could and generally does lead to the baby being underweight or born with defects, along with causing withdrawal symptoms after birth.
- Get a Genetic Screening – This process will allow the doctor to analyze the risk of any genetic disorder or disease that can be passed on to the baby and suggest appropriate steps to counter them.
The Bottom Line
The mother takes care of herself before and during her pregnancy. It is nearly impossible to bring a healthy child into the world if the mother is unhealthy.