What Makes It High-Risk?
Each year, fewer than 10% of pregnancies are classified as high-risk. Among the conditions commonly associated with high-risk pregnancy are:
Hypertension / preeclampsia High blood pressure in pregnancy can lead to preeclampsiaa dangerous rise in blood pressure with resulting organ damage in the expectant mom.Preeclampsia also disrupts blood flow to the placenta, which can result in small birthweight babies or infants born too early.
Being HIV positive HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) and attacks cells in the bodys immune system, destroying your ability to fight infection and certain cancers.
Significantly overweight or underweight Either can cause preterm labor. Being overweight also puts you at risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes When not controlled, this type of diabetes (which only occurs during pregnancy) can lead to high blood pressure for mom, a high birth weight and/or temporary (but dangerous) low blood sugar levels for the newborn.
Depression Clinical depression during pregnancy puts mothers at higher risk for pre-term delivery.
Pregnant under age 17 or over age 35 Either can put a mom at risk for pregnancy complications including high blood pressure and premature birth
Pregnant with multiples Pregnancy with multiples puts women at higher risk for gestational diabetes, anemia and preterm labor
Previous pregnancy issues These may include having high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, miscarriage or a preterm delivery in a previous pregnancy.
While not every pregnancy complication is preventable, there are things you can do to help protect your and your developing babys health. These include:
- taking folic acid and prescribed prenatal vitamins
- frequent hand-washing to help protect against colds, viruses or bacterial infection
- eating a healthy diet
- attending prenatal care checkups and tests
Talk with your prenatal healthcare provider about the symptoms, risks and treatment of your high-risk pregnancy. Ask what you can do to protect yourself and your baby to ensure the best possible outcome. And educate yourself on your specific health conditions and how they may affect your pregnancy.