What makes a pregnancy high-risk?

A pregnancy is considered high-risk if there are conditions that could possibly threaten the life or health of the mother or fetus. High-risk pregnancies require additional monitoring and care by specialty medical providers. With early detection and proper prenatal care, it is possible for women experiencing high-risk pregnancies to deliver happy, healthy babies without complications.


Factors That Cause High-Risk Pregnancies

It is always best to be aware of the factors that could possibly affect the health of you and your baby. Sometimes the conditions causing high-risk pregnancy are pre-existing, and your doctor can help you monitor and manage any symptoms from the beginning. Other times, conditions arise as the pregnancy progresses. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any unusual symptoms you experience or any concerns you may have. The following are factors that can cause a pregnancy to be considered high-risk.

  • Maternal Age. Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers older than the age of 35.
  • Preexisting Medical Conditions. A history of heart ailments, diabetes, hypertension, asthma, and blood-clots can dramatically increase risk during pregnancy.
  • Prior Surgeries. Previous surgeries performed on your uterus, including C-sections, internal surgeries, or fibroid/tumor surgeries can increase pregnancy risks.
  • Lifestyle Choices. The use of nicotine, alcohol, illegal or prescription drugs can cause significant harm to a developing fetus.
  • Carrying Multiple Fetuses. The risk of premature labor and other complications is increased for women carrying two or more fetuses.
  • Pregnancy Complications. Various complications that can arise during pregnancy, such as adherent placenta, fetal growth restriction, and Rh sensitization, can also cause increased risk.

What to Do If You Think Your Pregnancy Could Be High-Risk

If you are currently pregnant, or trying to become pregnant, and met any of the criteria listed above, what steps should you take? Taking some precautions early on can help ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.

  • Schedule a Preconception doctor visit. If you would like to become pregnant, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor can assess the risk factors, and possibly advise a course of action, such as taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid before becoming pregnant.
  • Avoid substance abuse. Any use of alcohol, smoking and illegal drugs must cease immediately. Talk to your doctor concerning any new medications or supplements you are considering. Be honest and ask questions.
  • Keep Up with Your Prenatal Care Appointments. Scheduling and attending regular prenatal appointments are extremely important for caring for you and your baby’s health. With consistent monitoring, your doctor can detect any changes early on and refer you to a specialist if needed.
  • Make Dietary Changes if Needed. Folic acid, protein, calcium, and iron are essential for healthy pregnancies. Prenatal vitamins can help cover nutritional gaps in your diet.
  • Proper weight gain. Gaining weight is crucial for your baby’s well-being. Properly acquired weight sheds easier after delivery. Ask your doctor what he or she would consider to be a healthy weight for your baby, given your body type.

High-Risk Pregnancy Doctor

Although it can be a little scary to be told your pregnancy is high-risk, try to focus on the positive. After all, stress management is also an important part of caring for the health of you and your baby. Seeking care from the trained specialists at the Women’s Physicians of Jacksonville can help ease your concerns and allow you to focus on the joy and excitement of expecting a little one. For a consultation with a high-risk pregnancy doctor, contact us today.