Here at Obstetrics & Gynaecology Consulting Group, our very own Dr Robin Thurman is a fully qualified high risk pregnancy obstetrician. Under her guidance, any concerns that you may have regarding your high-risk pregnancy will be addressed with sensitivity and care. Together, we will create a plan to ensure that you and your baby remain healthy and safe.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that poses a threat of potential complications that could affect the mother, the baby, or both. High risk pregnancies require regular monitoring and special care from a specialist to help ensure the best outcome for the mother and baby.
Identifying the cause of a high-risk pregnancy and taking extra care of yourself and your baby is key to preventing additional complications.
Risk factors for high risk pregnancy
An obstetrician will determine whether your pregnancy is of high risk based on the chances of having complications that could impact the mother or baby during pregnancy, and result in pre-term delivery. Sometimes, a pregnancy can be identified as high risk before a woman falls pregnant.
Factors that could indicate a high-risk pregnancy include women who:
- Are aged over 35 years – the risk of genetic disorders and miscarriage increases with age
- Are pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.)
- Have delivered prematurely in a previous pregnancy or have a history of pregnancy complications
- Have had difficulty falling pregnant or have a history of miscarriage
- Have existing health conditions, such as diabetes, cardiac conditions, epilepsy or high body mass index (BMI)
- Have uterine abnormalities or other female reproductive disorders
- Have had prenatal tests that indicate fetal anomalies or other serious health problems
Is a high risk pregnancy evident from the onset of pregnancy?
As mentioned, a high risk pregnancy can sometimes be identified before a woman is pregnant. Other times, an otherwise healthy woman may also become high risk during the course of her pregnancy. It is for this reason that careful, experienced antenatal care is important for all women.
Sometimes, pregnant women can develop or be diagnosed with pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is the most common serious medical condition that occurs during pregnancy. Symptoms include high blood pressure, urinary protein and swelling. If not treated, preeclampsia can be dangerous or even fatal for the mother or baby. However, with proper management, most women who develop preeclampsia have healthy babies.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. However, women with this condition can still have a healthy pregnancy, provided that they follow a treatment plan. Typically, the diabetes will resolve after delivery.
How can I promote a healthy pregnancy?
There are a number of things that you can do to increase your baby’s health and your own health and avoid pregnancy complications. This is regardless of whether you know beforehand that your pregnancy will be high risk or if you just want to do what you can to avoid a high risk pregnancy. This includes:
- Scheduling a preconception appointment to discuss risks beforehand
- Getting to a healthy weight before trying for a baby
- Finding an obstetrician who specialises in high risk pregnancies
- Seeking regular prenatal care to monitor your health and your baby’s health
- Educating yourself on your condition and what makes your pregnancy high risk
- Switching up your diet to include more protein-rich foods, fruits and green, leafy vegetables
- Quitting smoking, drinking and taking drugs. Speak to your health care provider regarding any prescription and over-the-counter medicines or supplements that you may take
- Staying as active as possible during your pregnancy
Remember that it is still possible to have a healthy baby, even if your pregnancy is high risk. Of course, it is still only natural to have concerns about the health of your baby.
Ultimately, while a high risk pregnancy does indicate a higher chance of unpredictability during your pregnancy, it doesn’t guarantee that there will be complications. Having early and regular prenatal visits with your doctor will increase your chances of having a safe delivery and a happy, healthy baby, despite a high risk pregnancy.
Why is expert care so important in high risk pregnancies?
Women who have any of the aforementioned risk factors should be under the care of an obstetrician who specialises in high risk pregnancies. An obstetrician with this experience and knowledge will be able to identify any concerns and alter the care during pregnancy. This may mean having more frequent medical checkups, additional scans or blood tests, or scheduling a C-section in the weeks before your due date.