Being told you have a high risk pregnancy can cause anxiety, but it’s not as frightening as you may first think. In fact, most women make it through their pregnancy with little to no negative complications. That does not mean, however, that you ignore your situation and not follow the recommendations of your doctor. What to expect throughout a high risk pregnancy is a lot of extra care and monitoring to be sure you have a healthy baby.
Reasons For A High Risk Pregnancy
If a woman has a pre-existing health issue it can determine her pregnancy as high risk. Such diseases or conditions include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, being overweight or underweight, auto-immune diseases, under 18 years of age or over 35, past fertility problems, kidney problems, or problems with past pregnancies to name just a few.
In addition, issues may occur during the pregnancy which make the pregnancy high risk. Those include lifestyle choices like drinking and smoking, having multiple births, gestational diabetes which develops during the pregnancy, preterm labor that starts before week 37, certain infections and syndromes, and abnormal placenta positions.
Once Virginia Women’s Health Associates has determined you have a high risk pregnancy, find out exactly what health problems can occur now, during pregnancy, and after birth.
What You Can Expect
Your doctor will follow you more closely than someone with a low risk pregnancy, so if there is an issue, it can be diagnosed more quickly. There may be more appointments and additional tests, and you may be referred to a maternal fetal medical specialist.
Recommended tests will be determined by the cause of the high risk definition.
You may have some of the following tests on a regular basis:
- Blood tests will be done to look for anemia, low blood sugar, and any signs of infections.
- Urine tests will look for urinary tract infections. If not caught and treated in a timely fashion, there can be problems with kidney infections leading to preterm labor and low birth rate.
- Ultrasounds of the uterus, cervix, and fetus
- Fetal heart rate checks
- A BPP or a biophysical profile may be conducted late in the pregnancy to check the baby’s breathing, movements, muscle development, and level of amniotic fluid.
- Genetic tests are not required, and you can refuse.
- Nuchal translucency scans are usually done at the end of the first trimester to detect genetic abnormalities and cardiac defects.
Your Role In Prenatal Care
Keeping all your medical visits, eating a healthy diet, getting some exercise as per your doctor, refraining from alcohol and smoking, and getting enough sleep are all part of ensuring a healthy pregnancy and baby.