When you’re lost in the excitement of having a baby and building the family you’ve hoped for, it can be easy to forget that pregnancy places a significant strain on your body. Most women handle the physical stress, but some health factors and other issues can increase the potential for medical challenges that may affect your or your baby’s health.
It’s important to note that many, many women undergoing a high-risk pregnancy deliver healthy, beautiful babies. Understanding what factors may lead to a high-risk pregnancy can provide insight regarding what actions you can take before, during, and after delivery to experience your own success story.
If your pregnancy is high-risk, one of the most valuable assets you can have is a skilled obstetrician who is experienced with the special challenges related to your condition.
Dr. Sanford White is a well-respected specialist in Somerset, New Jersey, who has delivered high-quality pregnancy care to many women in the high-risk category. His patients love his professionalism and warm personality that’s blended with just enough humor to make you feel at ease.
Dr. White is happy to shed a little light on what may cause a high-risk pregnancy and what it might mean for you and your baby.
First and foremost, being high-risk doesn’t mean giving up
When we diagnose you with a high-risk pregnancy, it means we take a few extra but often very simple steps to help ensure a successful delivery.
We may ask you to come in more frequently for blood pressure checks and other monitoring. We may need to adjust your diet or the medications you take for an existing health condition. We may give you a pass on any form of strenuous exercise or suggest you increase your physical activity.
Rather than feeling defeated over your high-risk pregnancy, we partner with you to provide the extra care you and your baby need.
Existing health conditions and high-risk pregnancies
Sometimes pregnancies are considered high-risk because of a medical condition that existed before you became pregnant. This might include:
- Diabetes, any type
- Elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
- History of heart disease, breathing disorders such as poorly controlled asthma, or blood-clotting abnormalities such as deep vein thrombosis
- Multiple abdominal surgeries, C-sections, or uterine surgeries for conditions such as fibroids
- Thyroid disease, which can result in poor fetal weight gain and birth defects
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can make it difficult to become pregnant and increases your risk of miscarriage
- A history of miscarriage or premature birth
- Obesity or being significantly underweight
Lifestyle choices such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, or drug abuse also increase the odds of having a high-risk pregnancy. Age is another important factor. Teens are at higher risk of developing pregnancy-induced hypertension and other complications, and women over 35 have increased pregnancy risks.
Conditions during pregnancy that may move you into the high-risk category
Sometimes a condition that develops when you become pregnant puts you and your baby at higher risk, such as if you’re carrying more than one baby.
Other concerning issues that can develop during a pregnancy include:
- Abnormal positioning of the placenta
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
What we can do about a high-risk pregnancy
Now that we’ve raised your anxiety level to a 12 over the many complications that can occur with a pregnancy, rest assured that most women, even those with high-risk pregnancies, experience successful deliveries.
Whenever possible, we recommend that you come in for counseling before you become pregnant to give your baby the healthiest start possible. This becomes even more important if you have medical conditions or a surgical history that could affect your pregnancy.
Sometimes you can take steps before pregnancy to limit your risks. For instance, we may suggest you gain or lose weight, tighten your diabetic control, or manage your blood pressure levels more effectively before conceiving.
It’s also vital that you see your doctor as scheduled for appropriate prenatal care. We can spot concerning changes quickly during these visits and have an amazing amount of advanced technology and treatment strategies available to reduce the risks associated with complicated pregnancies.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy or wonder if your history puts you at risk, schedule an appointment with Dr. White today.