High risk pregnancy



Pregnant women and their babies are at increased risk of health problems before, during and after delivery and special monitoring is needed throughout pregnancy.

Risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy?
  • Advanced maternal age. i.e. mothers older than age 35.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking, drinking and drug abuse.
  • Medical history.  Hypertension, diabetes, heart diseases, poorly controlled asthma, infections, and blood-clotting disorders increase pregnancy related risks.
  • Surgical history.  Multiple C-sections, multiple abdominal surgeries or surgery for uterine tumors (fibroids).
  • Pregnancy complications.  Abnormal placenta position, fetal growth restriction and Rh (rhesus) isoimmunization.
  • Multiple pregnancy.  In women carrying twins or higher order multiples, pregnancy risks are higher.
How can I promote a healthy pregnancy?
  • Schedule a preconception appointment. With the very first thought of becoming pregnant, consult your gynecologist. She will counsel you to take daily vitamins with folic acid and reach a healthy weight even before you become pregnant. Any ongoing medical disease needs to be treated.
  • Seek regular prenatal care. Antenatal visits help to monitor your and your baby’s health.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Increase your folic acid, protein, calcium and iron.
  • Gain weight wisely. Right amount of weight gain can support your baby’s health and makes it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.
  • Avoid risky substances. Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse are to be avoided.
What special tests are needed?
  • Specialized or targeted ultrasound. This type of fetal ultrasound is used to target a suspected problem and abnormal development.
  • Amniocentesis. It is typically done after week 15 of pregnancy. A sample of amniotic fluid is withdrawn and sent for examination. It can identify certain genetic conditions and serious abnormalities of the brain or spinal cord.
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS). Here, cells are taken directly from the placenta between 10 and 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Cordocentesis.  Baby’s blood is sampled from the umbilical cord for testing certain genetic disorders, blood conditions and infections.
  • Ultrasound for cervical length. Done to measure the length of your cervix to determine the at risk of preterm labor.
  • Lab tests. Routine blood tests and urine examination is adviced. Additional screening tests for infectious diseases such as HIV and syphilis are also required.
  • Biophysical profile. It is used to evaluate fetal well-being.
What are the warning signs that I need to take care of?
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Severe headaches
  • Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Watery vaginal discharge.
  • Regular or frequent contractions.
  • Decreased fetal movement.
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Changes in vision, including blurred vision

Presence of these signs and symptoms warrant prompt action and emergency care.

The best possible way to promote a healthy pregnancy is to become responsible and stay aware of the warning signs and take immediate steps.

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