Most women have normal and natural pregnancies that are not high-risk. Some women, however, do have high risk pregnancies because of three reasons, according to Cedars-Sinai. You may have a high-risk pregnancy if you have medical problems before you become pregnant, if you develop medical problems during your pregnancy or if you have problems associated with the pregnancy.
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
Women who have pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, lupus or chronic infectious problems, such as HIV or hepatitis, will need special attention if they become pregnant. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, discuss with your doctor if you are planning to become pregnant. Some medications you take may need to be changed, you should not take some medications at all, and some medications are fine to take throughout your pregnancy. You don’t want to stop taking your medication when you become pregnant, because that could put you and your pregnancy at an even higher risk, according to Cedars-Sinai.
Problems that Develop During Pregnancy
Sometimes women develop certain conditions because of the pregnancy. These conditions are generally limited to the pregnancy. High blood pressure and diabetes fall into this category. These problems develop as a reaction to how your body responds to the chemicals produced by your placenta or your fetus. These types of problems are mostly genetic from the mother’s side of the family, and while they cannot be prevented, your doctor can screen you for these problems and can manage them if they do develop. Ultrasounds and other noninvasive tests can monitor your baby’s well-being, and your doctor will teach you how to manage your blood pressure or diabetes.
The most-common problem related to high-risk pregnancies is delivering prematurely, before 37 weeks. If you already had a premature baby, you are at higher risk for this happening again. Twins or multiples also increase the chances of your delivering early. Another pregnancy-related problem is placenta previa, where the placenta covers the cervix. This causes bleeding during contractions. A woman may need a C-section with placenta previa, depending on if the placenta is still covering the cervix at delivery time.
Even if you have no pre-existing medical conditions, certain factors put you at increased risk for certain birth defects. Genetic problems such as Down syndrome increase with a woman’s age, especially women older than 35. Stop smoking. Smoking almost doubles the risk of having a low birth-weight baby, according to the March of Dimes. Smoking also doubles the risk of placenta previa. You should stop drinking, too. The more you drink, the higher the risk of having a baby born with fetal alcohol syndrome, according to the Kids Health website.
Be as Healthy as Possible
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, you can take certain steps to become as healthy as possible. Start taking folic acid. Continue to take it while you are pregnant. Maintain a healthy weight. You should not be overweight or underweight for optimal health. Eat nutritious foods, and start seeing a health care provider for prenatal visits as soon as you find out you are pregnant.
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