Pregnancy can be nerve-racking all by itself, but if your doctor tells you your pregnancy is high risk, it can become even more stressful. A high-risk pregnancy may mean more doctor visits, switching doctors or even bed rest — or it may just mean your doctor is keeping a close eye on you and your baby.
If you or your developing baby have any issues that could put your health at risk during pregnancy, your pregnancy is considered high risk. A high-risk pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean your pregnancy has serious problems. It simply means that your health care team will be closely monitoring it
Several factors can cause your pregnancy to be classified as high risk. Some factors, like your age, weight, health conditions or pregnancy history, mean your pregnancy may be classified as high risk from the moment you become pregnant. Other factors, like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, fetal health problems or preterm labor, can crop up during your pregnancy and make it high risk.
Sometimes, your doctor will recommend bed rest for your high-risk pregnancy. Bed rest is most common for conditions involving high blood pressure, vaginal bleeding and premature labor, and your doctor may recommend bed rest at any point during your pregnancy. Bed rest is often meant to soothe physical and emotional stress that may be making a potentially serious problem worse.
Though you can’t protect yourself completely from a high-risk pregnancy, there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Maintain a healthy weight and include at least 400 micrograms of folic acid in your daily diet before you try to conceive. If you smoke, quit. And start prenatal appointments as soon as you know you’re pregnant.
If you’re not sure what guidelines you should follow during your high-risk pregnancy, ask your health care provider. She’s the best person to help you understand what special cautions you may need to take or to relieve your worries by letting you know that you can continue your usual routine.