Understanding a High-Risk Pregnancy

Hearing that your pregnancy is high-risk might be worrisome, even frightening. Every pregnant woman wants to come through the experience with good health for her and her baby. Most of the time, that’s exactly what happens. But, if your pregnancy is considered high-risk, there are factors that require close supervision.

The conditions that make your pregnancy high-risk may be present before you get pregnant or may develop during the course of your pregnancy. Fortunately, in the majority of cases, everything works out fine as you’re closely monitored by your doctor. In this blog, Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, explains what defines a high-risk pregnancy and how he monitors it.

Factors that make a pregnancy high-risk

Approximately 6-8% of women have high-risk pregnancies, so they’re not uncommon. It’s one of the most frequent complications we encounter in obstetrics. Dr. Weyhrich has a lot of experience managing pregnancies that present special challenges.

In general, high-risk pregnancies fall into one of two categories: conditions that are present before you become pregnant or ones that develop during your pregnancy. Both types of conditions can threaten the safety of you or your baby, and the conditions are often ones that you can’t control. 

Proper management is key to a successful outcome. Furthermore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can minimize some of the risks, especially before you get pregnant.

Preexisting conditions that can make a pregnancy high-risk 

Conditions that are present at the time of pregnancy can automatically put you in the high-risk category. Some of the conditions include the following:

Maternal age

If you’re younger than age 17 or older than age 35 when your baby is due, you’re statistically at a higher risk than if your baby is due between those ages.

Preexisting medical conditions

Having certain health conditions before pregnancy also requires more frequent monitoring. Some of the conditions that can make you high-risk include the following:

Complications during previous pregnancies

If you have a history of complications from previous pregnancies, we’ll definitely watch you more closely for signs of recurring issues.

High-risk conditions that can develop during pregnancy

Some conditions can develop during pregnancy that may put you at a higher risk. They include the following:

Multiple babies

One of the most obvious conditions is a pregnancy with two or more babies. In this case, we’ll closely monitor the growth and development of your babies throughout pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes

Another condition that can occur during pregnancy is gestational diabetes. This is the reason we perform the glucose challenge test between 24-28 weeks of pregnancy. Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop during pregnancy, even if you don’t normally have diabetes. Although gestational diabetes can be well-controlled and managed, it can increase the chances that you’ll have a large baby. It can also increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is another condition that can develop during pregnancy. With preeclampsia, a pregnant woman can experience high blood pressure, swelling, and other potentially serious issues. Preeclampsia usually begins after 20 weeks of pregnancy. If Dr. Weyhrich detects this condition, he’ll monitor you very carefully.

If you have questions about high-risk pregnancies or want to discuss your concerns, Dr. Weyhrich can help. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with the office of Darin L. Weyhrich, MD, today.

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