High Risk Pregnancy – Risk Factors

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Ensuring that your pregnancy completes a full-term, and you deliver a healthy baby, is the cornerstone of our aim at Apollo Cradle & Children’s Hospital. High risk pregnancy cases, which can cause complications during pregnancy, or during childbirth, require a very different kind of care, which our specialists are trained to diagnose and treat.

A critical part of managing high-risk pregnancies can ascertain the cause, or the risk factors that can cause complication. High-risk pregnancy factors can broadly be split into four different categories. This include:

  1. Maternal age
  2. Lifestyle choices
  3. Pregnancy conditions
  4. Medical history

Let’s look at each of these in some detail:

  1. Maternal Age:

    One of the common risk factors that can cause complications during your pregnancy is your age. Woman who are over the age of 35, when their baby is due, are at a greater risk of complications. These complications can include having a caesarian delivery, prolonged labour, labour that does not advance or an infant who may suffer from a genetic disorder. Other delivery complications, like excessive bleeding during labour, may also be faced.
  2. Lifestyle Choices:

    Lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol or cigarette smoking can adversely affect your pregnancy. The former, when consumed, passes directly to the fetus, through the umbilical cord. Studies suggest that women who drink during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from a miscarriage, or in extreme cases, a stillbirth.

    Other risks of alcohol consumption during this period include a greater chance of congenital disabilities or Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The latter is a term used to describe a category of fetal disorders that can be caused by alcohol consumption. These disorders can include abnormal facial features, height problems, low body weight, hyperactivity disorder, intellectual disabilities or vision and hearing problems.

    Cigarette smoking during pregnancy can put your baby at risk for preterm birth, birth defects and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke can also be dangerous for you and your baby, and can put you at an increased risk for health problems.

  3. Pregnancy Conditions:

    The state of your pregnancy can also increase the risk faced.
    1. Multiple Gestation:

      In circumstances where multiple gestation occurs, i.e. a pregnancy with twins, triplets, or more, can increase the risk of your babies being born prematurely. Having three or more infants can increase your chances of needing a cesarian section. Twins or triplets are also more likely to be smaller in size when compared to babies born from a singleton birth. Your babies may also have more difficulty in breathing.
    2. Gestational Diabetes:

      Also known as diabetes during pregnancy, this complication, if not adequately controlled, increases the risk of preterm labour and delivery and high blood pressure.
    3. Preeclampsia:

      Your pregnancy can also result in you facing a sudden increase in blood pressure, after the 20th week of your pregnancy. A syndrome, known as Preeclampsia, this medical condition can affect your kidneys, liver or brain. If this is left untreated, this condition can cause long-term health problems, or even prove fatal to the health of both you and your baby. A severe form of preeclampsia called Eclampsia, is also a risk, as this syndrome results in you suffering from seizures or even going into a coma.
  4. Medical History:

    Your pregnancy can also be affected by some pre-existing health conditions. These can include:
    • High Blood Pressure:

      Uncontrolled blood pressure can result in damage to your kidneys, or increase the risk for a low birth weight.
    • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS):

      This disorder can interfere with your ability to get pregnant, or to have a full-term pregnancy. PCOS can also increase your chance of suffering from a miscarriage, and increase the likelihood of premature delivery, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
    • Diabetes:

      High blood sugar levels when you are pregnant can cause birth defects in your baby during the first few weeks of your pregnancy.
    • Kidney Disease:

      You may find it tough to conceive if you are suffering from a kidney disease. Your pregnancy also faces a significant risk of miscarriage.
    • Autoimmune Disease:

      Certain autoimmune diseases, like Lupus, can increase the risk of preterm birth or even stillbirth. The treatment that you may be undergoing to tackle this can also be harmful to your baby, making it essential to check with your doctor while planning your pregnancy.
    • Thyroid Disease:

      An uncontrolled Thyroid disease, such as an overactive or an underactive thyroid, can cause problems for your baby, like heart failure, poor weight gain or other birth defects.
    • Obesity:

      Excess weight can make your pregnancy more difficult, and also increase your chances of developing diabetes during pregnancy. Excessive weight can also result in a difficult birth. Being underweight can also be a treat, both for you and your baby.

Understanding the risk factors that can cause a high risk pregnancy is only the first step towards ensuring a healthy delivery. Our experts merge expertise, experience and the latest technology to diagnose  and treat. Book an appointment with one of our specialists today!