High-Risk Pregnancy

Whether it is your first pregnancy or your fourth, hearing your doctor or nurse say your pregnancy is high-risk can be a cause for concern. High-risk pregnancy involves elevated health risks for the pregnant mother or her fetus. In such cases, close monitoring is essential to ensure the chance of complications is minimal. 

What is a high-risk pregnancy?

All pregnancies carry their own risk, and the increased complications during pregnancy or delivery will determine if it is high-risk.

Close monitoring of the mother and baby can mitigate the risks due to complications during the pregnancy or delivery. Many pregnant women have experienced normal and healthy pregnancies and delivery despite requiring special health needs.

Are high-risk pregnancies common?

As per government records, 20-30% of pregnancies in India are high-risk pregnancies. 

For most women, their pregnancies follow a normal course. However, some women may require special care or have medical complications making their pregnancies high-risk. 

What are the causes of high-risk pregnancies?

Key factors that cause high-risk pregnancies include:

Pre-existing medical conditions

  1. Covid-19.
  2. Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  3. Diabetes.
  4. Hypertension.
  5. Fibroids.
  6. HIV/AIDS.
  7. Low BMI
  8. Kidney diseases.
  9. Mental health issues
  10. Polycystic ovary disorder (PCOD).
  11. Hyper or hypo thyroid.
  12. Hemophilia.

Health complications that arise during the pregnancy

  1. Poor fetal development
  2. Gestational Diabetes
  3. Genetic defects in the fetus
  4. Multiple gestations – in the case of twins or triplets
  5. Eclampsia and preeclampsia
  6. Complications from previous pregnancies
  7. Lifestyle influences like nicotine, alcohol, and drug use, and even exposure to certain toxins and age – Pregnancies in women below the age of 17 and above 35 can also lead to high-risk pregnancies.

Symptoms of high-risk pregnancies

If a pregnant woman experiences any of the below-mentioned symptoms should immediately contact her obstetrician:

  • Persistent abdominal pain.
  • Chest pain.
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of or slow fetal movement
  • High fever
  • Palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Severe headache
  • Respiratory trouble
  • Inflammation, soreness or pain in the joints
  • Vaginal discharge or bleeding

Complications of high-risk pregnancies

High-risk pregnancies can lead to life-threatening complications for the expectant mother and the unborn baby, which include:

  • Eclampsia and preeclampsia
  • Premature delivery
  • C-section
  • Excessive bleeding during labour and delivery and after birth
  • Congenital disabilities in the baby
  • Fetal brain development
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Neonatal intensive care admission for the baby
  • ICU care for the mother

Diagnosis and tests to identify high-risk pregnancies

In any pregnancy, proper prenatal care is critical. It is the easiest and most effective means of diagnosing high-risk pregnancies. Share your health history and information about any past pregnancies with your obstetrician. There are various tests to monitor the health of the mother and fetus:

  • Blood and urine tests to check for any genetic and congenital conditions
  • Ultrasonography to identify congenital conditions
  • Biophysical profile to monitor if the fetus is getting enough oxygen and breathing properly, fetal movement, and amniotic fluid using ultrasound.
  • Non-stress test to monitor heart function.

How to manage and treat high-risk pregnancies?

Management and treatment of high-risk pregnancies will entirely depend on the health complications the pregnant woman and her fetus exhibit. Care in such instances may include

  • Conducting all the necessary tests mentioned above
  • Close monitoring and constant follow-ups with the obstetrician
  • Consultation with a high-risk pregnancy specialist
  • Monitoring blood pressure
  • Proper medication to manage any pre-existing conditions
  • Proper fetal monitoring and evaluation

If there are complications in the health of the mother or the fetus, the doctor may recommend induced labour or C-section.

Can we prevent high-risk pregnancies? 

With proper care and health monitoring systems in place, you can greatly reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Thorough prenatal care and constant communication with your doctor can mitigate the risk of pregnancy complications.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, DELHI-NCR - Chirag Enclave. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. What factors lead to high-risk pregnancies?

Pregnancy risks are higher in women above 35. Medical conditions like hypertension, obesity, diabetes, thyroid diseases, cardiovascular disorders, infections, and lifestyle habits can increase pregnancy risks. Besides these, abnormal placenta position, fetal development, gestational diabetes, eclampsia, and preeclampsia can contribute to pregnancy risks.

2. How can we ensure a healthy pregnancy?

If you're planning to become pregnant, consult your doctor to get yourself checked for any potential health complications. Any preexisting health condition has to be treated immediately. Your doctor may advise you to take prenatal vitamins with folic acid and reach a healthy weight. A proper diet, exercise, and maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle will help reduce potential risks or complications in the future.

3. Should I look for any abnormalities during my pregnancy that need immediate medical attention?

Please consult your doctor if there is vaginal discharge or bleeding, high fever, extreme fatigue, inflammation in your joints, face, and limbs, dizziness, and nausea. Please do not ignore these symptoms.

4. If my first pregnancy is high-risk, will all my future pregnancies be high-risk?

Having undergone one high-risk pregnancy does not mean future pregnancies will be high-risk, and it depends on how well you care for yourself and your fetus.

5. Does high-risk pregnancy mean the pregnancy will be more difficult?

While high-risk pregnancies require frequent follow-ups and constant fetal monitoring, it doesn’t necessarily mean your pregnancy will be more difficult. Your doctor will run you through the details of your pregnancy and the risks involved and ensure your mind is put to ease.

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