A high-risk pregnancy is one in which there is a good chance of something going wrong. There is a high risk of complications affecting the mother, the baby or both. For example, women who are over 35 are more likely to have a child with Down syndrome or other chromosomal abnormalities, while a teenage mother is more likely to have a child with a low birth weight.
There are several factors that can lead to a high-risk pregnancy. The age of the mother is one of the most common. Generally speaking, if a woman is under 20 or over 35, her pregnancy is considered high-risk.
A pregnancy is also considered high-risk if the mother has a serious health problem, like diabetes, HIV, high blood pressure or heart disease. Similarly, if a woman has a history of problems with earlier pregnancies, her subsequent pregnancies will be considered high-risk. Pregnancies that involve multiple babies, like twins or triplets, are also considered high-risk. The more babies a woman is carrying, the greater the chances of complications.
What are Some of the Signs?
In many cases, the woman will know from early on that she has a high-risk pregnancy. If she has diabetes, she will already know. If the doctor finds she is carrying triplets during a check-up, she will know her pregnancy is high-risk.
In other cases, a healthy woman will develop symptoms that indicate something has gone wrong with her pregnancy. Such symptoms can include:
• Bleeding from the vagina
• Pain or cramps in the lower abdomen
• Decreased fetal moving
• Watery discharge from the vagina; it can trickle or gush out
• Regular or frequent contractions well before the due date
• Pain or burning when urinating
• Persistent headaches
• Changes in vision, including blurred vision
What is Gestational Diabetes?
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops in pregnant women – and usually goes away after the woman has given birth. Women with the condition can have healthy children, providing they follow their doctor’s treatment plan. Women who develop gestational diabetes are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes later on.
Gestational diabetes is most common in overweight women with a family history of diabetes. Women who are Asian, African American, Hispanic or Native American are more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
What is Placenta Previa?
In a normal pregnancy, the placenta attaches to the rear of the uterus, well away from the cervix. In some cases, the placenta either lies low near the cervix or covers it. The resultant condition, placenta previa, is more common in women who smoke, are older, have had uterine surgery or who are carrying multiple children.
Placenta previa is seen during the early stages of pregnancy, but the placenta often moves back as the pregnancy progresses. In about 10 percent of cases, the placenta stays near or over the cervix – and that can cause bleeding as the pregnancy progresses. To prevent severe blood loss, the doctor will often perform a Cesarean section sometime before the due date.
Attend Regular Appointments
There are certain things you can do to reduce your chances of having a high-risk pregnancy. One of the most important steps to take is scheduling regular appointments at the Georgia Center for Female Health, located in Peachtree Corners. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!