Definition - What does High-Risk Pregnancy mean?
A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that endangers the life of the mother and/or her baby. To be successful, such a pregnancy requires meticulous prenatal care delivered by high-risk OB-GYN trained specialists.
FertilitySmarts explains High-Risk Pregnancy
A multitude of factors can put a pregnancy at high risk such as:
- Mother’s age: There has been a rise in high-risk pregnancies in the last 20 years, most likely because of the ages at which women try to conceive, i.e. at an advanced age of 35 years or beyond, or very young age (less than 17 years). The chances of chromosomal abnormalities increase after 40 years.
- Existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and circulation problems, thyroid issues or infectious diseases, particular, HIV/AIDS
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia. Preeclampsia is a sudden rise in a woman’s blood pressure during pregnancy. It affects several organs of the woman such as kidneys, liver, and brain. The condition can be fatal for both the mother and baby. Eclampsia is a more severe form of preeclampsia that involves seizures and even coma.
- Prior miscarriage. A history of three or more miscarriages in the past increases a woman’s likelihood of a miscarriage in the current pregnancy.
- Premature labor in past pregnancies: A premature labor is when uterine contractions start before the normal 37th week of pregnancy.
- Being pregnant with twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc. poses a greater risk due to the enhanced risk of preeclampsia, premature labor, and premature birth
- Poor diet
- Inactive lifestyle leading to weight gain and obesity: Obese women are at risk of carrying larger than normal babies, making the delivery process challenging. Moreover, the babies of obese women are at risk of structural heart problems. Obesity can also lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia, diabetes, and many other health problems during pregnancy.
- Poor lifestyle habits like smoking and drug or alcohol addiction: All these are associated with several complications, both for the mother and baby
If pregnancy is considered high risk, the woman will be referred to high-risk obstetrics and gynecology specialists to ensure the woman and her baby gets all the essential care needed.