When there is a danger of losing either the life of the mother or the baby, it is a “high-risk” pregnancy. This includes babies that are born very early in preterm i.e. before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Risk factors in high-risk pregnancy:
- Age of the mother: Typically, a high-risk pregnancy can happen with women of 35 years or older.
- Lifestyle choices: Smoking, alcoholism and use of illegal drugs by an aspiring mother is a risk to her pregnancy.
- Health issues in women: Poor health of the mother raises the risk during pregnancy. Conditions like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, and thyroid contribute to the risk. Also, heart or blood disorders, uncontrolled asthma, and infections can increase pregnancy risks.
- Pregnancy complications: Before childbirth, there are many complications that develop during any stage of pregnancy that can pose risks. For instance, an unusual placenta position, foetal growth less than the 10th percentile for gestational age (foetal growth restriction) and rhesus (Rh) sensitization — a potentially serious condition. It occurs when a mother’s blood group is Rh-negative and their baby’s blood group is Rh-positive.
- Multiple babies at once: When a woman is carrying more than one foetus in her womb at once, the pregnancy risks are higher.
- Pregnancy history: If the mother to be, has a history of hypertension during previous pregnancy or preeclampsia, it raises the risk same risk during the next pregnancy. During the last pregnancy, if a mother had a premature baby, or had many premature births, the next birth is likely to be premature too. A complete history can help your obstetrician care for mothers better.
High-risk pregnancy signs:
- Spotting or watery discharge
- Painful headache
- Cramps or pain in lower abdominal area
- Baby less active in the womb
- Pain or burning while using the toilet
- Blurry eyesight
- Sudden or severe swelling in the face, hands or fingers
- Fever or chills
- Vomiting or persistent nausea
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
How to have a healthy pregnancy:
- Schedule a preconception appointment. If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, consult your health care provider. Your provider might counsel you to start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with folic acid and reach a healthy weight before you become pregnant. If you have a medical condition, your treatment might be adjusted in preparation for pregnancy. Your health care provider might also discuss your risk of having a baby with a genetic condition.
- Seek regular prenatal care. Prenatal visits can help your health care provider monitor your health and your baby’s health. You might be referred to a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, pediatrics or other areas.
- Avoid risky substances. If you smoke, quit. Alcohol and illegal drugs are off-limits, too. Talk to your health care provider about any medications or supplements you’re taking.
A high-risk pregnancy might have ups and downs. Do your best to stay positive as you take steps to promote a healthy pregnancy