High Risk Pregnancies - What to do now?
Having a baby is typically a natural procedure. Women go into labor on or near their due date after a full-term pregnancy and give birth to a healthy baby. However, not all pregnancies are easy. Some women have a high-risk pregnancy, as defined by doctors.
When there are possible difficulties that could harm the mother, the baby, or both, a pregnancy is termed high-risk. To help assure the greatest outcome for the mother and baby, high-risk pregnancies must be managed by a professional.
Reasons that a pregnancy may be considered high risk include:
- Age of the Mother – The mother-to-be’s age is one of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy. Women under the age of 17 or over the age of 35 when their baby is due are more likely to have difficulties than those in their late teens and early 30s. After the age of 40, the risk of miscarriage and genetic problems grow even more.
- Prenatal Medical Conditions – High blood pressure, lung, kidney, or heart problems, diabetes, depression, obesity, autoimmune illness, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and long-term (chronic) infections such the human immunodeficiency virus are all dangers to the mother and infant.
- Pregnancy Complications – Frequently, a pregnancy is labeled as high risk due to complications that emerge during the pregnancy and have little to do with the mother’s health. Premature labor, numerous pregnancies, placenta previa (a condition where the placenta covers the cervix), fetal abnormalities, and other issues are among them.
For women whose pregnancies are considered high-risk, a biophysical profile (BPP) may be scheduled. This is a test that examines the health of the fetus. It’s commonly done after the 28th week of pregnancy and combines a nonstress test (NST) with an ultrasound check. An NST is typically used to assess the fetus’s health. The procedure entails placing a fetal monitor on the mother’s abdomen and interpreting the fetal heart rate in response to fetal movements. It usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, and you don’t have to stay in the hospital overnight.
Your doctor may refer you to a Fetal Medicine Specialist if your pregnancy is considered high risk. A Fetal Medicine Specialist will collaborate with your other doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to ensure that you and your baby have the best possible outcome.