A high-risk pregnancy is one where there is a greater risk to the mother or her fetus than an uncomplicated pregnancy.
Pregnancy is a normal physiological process, a phase of life to be enjoyed and to cherish. However, pregnancy is also a stressful condition for the body, both physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. While most pregnancies go smoothly, a few underlying health issues or some new development can make it high risk, requiring special care, rest, investigations etc.
- MATERNAL AGE – Pregnancies at the extremes of age like a teenage pregnancy or beyond the age of 35 are at higher risk of developing complications. There is a higher chance of miscarriage and birth defects especially if you are above the age of 35. Mothers who are more than 35 years of age are also at risk of developing gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension, preterm labour.
- PRE EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS – If you already have any pre-existing medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease etc you are at higher risk of developing complications. Some of these problems worsen in pregnancy and may impact the pregnancy. These issues will also require expert medical control even at the time of conception. Some of them may also require a change in medication when conception occurs.
- PREVIOUS BAD OBSTETRIC HISTORY – if you have had previous abortions, preterm deliveries, stillbirth, intrauterine death etc, your pregnancy will require expert handling and intensive care. In fact, the care should start prior to pregnancy where you may require extra investigations to understand the cause of such a loss, folic acid supplement, treatment of any pre-existing medical condition etc. during pregnancy you may require rest, injections and supportive treatment
- ISSUES DURING THE CURRENT PREGNANCY – Certain conditions in this pregnancy will increase the risk in this pregnancy like developing high blood pressure, gestational diabetes (developing diabetes in the pregnancy), twins, low lying placenta etc, these pregnancies require extensive care and multidisciplinary approach.
Some general tips for high-risk pregnancy
- Schedule a pre-pregnancy visit
- Pre-pregnancy folic acid supplement
- Control any pre-existing medical condition
- Chose a good and approachable gynaec
- Follow instructions and have regular antenatal check up
- Regular exercise , if allowed, and healthy diet go a long way
- Delivery should be planned in a proper set up with adequate facilities and good nursery support