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What Is Considered A High-Risk Pregnancy?

In short, a high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that involves increased health risks for the pregnant person, fetus or both. As much as bringing a new life into the world is an awe-inspiring journey filled with anticipation and excitement, for some expectant mothers, this journey may come with additional challenges and concerns. Understanding what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of both mother and baby.

High-Risk Pregnancies

A high-risk pregnancy is defined as one that poses potential complications that could threaten the health of the mother, the baby, or both. These complications can arise due to various factors, including pre-existing health conditions, lifestyle choices, maternal age, and medical history. Here at Green Valley OB/GYN, we’re here to help you better understand what a high-risk pregnancy is.

Maternal Age

One of the key factors contributing to a high-risk pregnancy is maternal age. Women who are under 17 or over 35 years old are considered to be at higher risk due to the increased likelihood of certain complications. Younger mothers may face challenges related to physical immaturity and lack of prenatal care, while older mothers are more prone to conditions such as gestational diabetes, hypertension, and chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.

Pre-Existing Health Conditions

Pre-existing health conditions can significantly impact pregnancy outcomes. Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease can complicate pregnancy and require careful management to minimize risks. Some of these may include

  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Thyroid disease
  • Heart or blood disorders
  • Poorly controlled asthma
  • Infections

Women with these conditions should work closely with their healthcare providers to optimize their health before conceiving and throughout pregnancy.

Lifestyle Factors

Lifestyle factors also play a significant role in determining pregnancy risk. Smoking, alcohol consumption, and substance abuse can all increase the likelihood of complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight, and birth defects. It’s essential for expectant mothers to prioritize their health and well-being by adopting healthy habits and avoiding harmful substances during pregnancy.

History Of Pregnancy Complications

A history of pregnancy complications or previous pregnancy losses may indicate an increased risk for future pregnancies. Conditions can include

  • Preeclampsia
  • Preterm labor
  • Unusual location of the placenta
  • Very low fetal growth. Usually, overall fetal growth or a fetal abdomen size that’s less than the 10th percentile for gestational age is cause for concern. This condition is called fetal growth restriction.
  • Rh sensitization, which happens when a pregnant person’s blood group is Rh negative and the fetus’s blood group is Rh positive.
  • Placental abnormalities can recur in subsequent pregnancies

Pregnancy-Related Conditions

Certain pregnancy-related conditions, such as multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc.), also fall under the category of high-risk pregnancies. Multiple pregnancies pose unique challenges, including increased risk of preterm birth, low birth weight, and complications during delivery. Expectant mothers carrying multiples require specialized care and monitoring to manage these risks effectively.

In some cases, unforeseen circumstances during pregnancy may elevate the risk level. This can include complications such as fetal growth restriction, placental abruption, and maternal infections. Prompt recognition and management of these issues are crucial for optimizing pregnancy outcomes and reducing the risk of adverse events.

Contact Green Valley OB/GYN

High-risk pregnancy encompasses a range of factors that may increase the likelihood of complications for both mother and baby. Identifying and addressing these risk factors early on is essential for ensuring optimal pregnancy outcomes. Remember, your health and the health of your baby are top priorities, and you’re not alone on this journey.

At Green Valley OB/GYN, our physicians recognize the importance of overall health within gynecology and obstetrics. If you’re looking to learn more about a high-risk pregnancy, contact us at (336) 378-1110.