Authored by Dr. N Sapna Lulla, Lead Consultant – Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Aster CMI Hospital
Pregnancy is a miracle of life. It is undeniably wondrous and life-changing experience for first-time mom-to-be or are pregnant with second or more. While having a baby should be natural and risk free process, there are certain chances that some may face what is called a high risk pregnancy. A high risk pregnancy is one in which due to certain predisposing factors there is a greater risk to the baby or mother or both.
Understanding the risk factors of high-risk pregnancy
Whether it is your first pregnancy or second pregnancy hearing your care provider say your pregnancy is a high risk can feel concerning. There are various thoughts, feelings and behaviours that surge through you and this is a normal response. Self-care in this scenario is definitely not selfish. Effective communication, early detection and prioritisation are important tools to ensure damage control. Many high-risk pregnancies are completely unavoidable some are not. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your pregnancy risks. Some of the common unavoidable causes of high-risk pregnancies include:
Age: The age of the mother-to-be is considered one of the most risk factors. Pregnant women under 17 or over 35 are considered high-risk pregnancies. Pregnancy after 40 can increase the chances of miscarriage and genetic defects
Medical condition of the mother: If you have a medical condition, it’s important to consult your doctor before you decide to become pregnant. Conditions that can pose risks to the mother or baby include being pregnant with multiple babies, having a history of complicated pregnancies like preterm labour, C-section, pregnancy loss or having a child with a birth defect. The risk also increases is there is any problems in the structure of the uterus, cervix or placenta
Family history: A family history of genetic conditions and heart condition and other conditions like epilepsy, kidney disease or polycystic ovary syndrome are also risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy.
Plan ahead before pregnancy
A proper planning is vital for safe and smooth pregnancy. Educating patients about pregnancy and accurately evaluate their risks can be helpful for the parents to make informed decisions around family planning. It is important to encourage patients to realistic expectations and staying positive reduces risk in this journey with better outcome.
Tips for healthy pregnancy
A healthy mother and pregnancy leads to smooth delivery. Follow the tips below and create a plan with your care provider for a healthy pregnancy.
– Schedule a preconceptional appointment
– Stay informed and be proactive about your health.
– Evaluation and managing of pre-existing health conditions is the key
– Procure prenatal supplements
– Listen to your body and take time out to sync with your body
– Eat healthy and put your self-care first. Choose good food to gain weight wisely and try to avoid substance abuse (using tobacco, alcohol, etc.)
– Stay positive. If you are worried, seek help. Address mental or emotional health concerns
– Seek regular prenatal and antenatal care
– It is advisable to take help from your clinician on targeted tests, hospitals setting and NICU care.