Is Your Pregnancy High Risk?
Pregnancy is exciting, but also sometimes unsettling. What if there’s a problem?
Having some specific health issues can put you into the category of a "high-risk pregnancy." It's an alarming label. But it doesn't mean that something will go wrong. Most women with high-risk pregnancies do well. They deliver a healthy baby and stay healthy themselves.
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you just need to work with your medical team to lower your chances of problems. You might also want to see a specialist in high-risk pregnancies or in maternal-fetal medicine.
Have the Healthiest Pregnancy Possible
Start by learning what will boost your chances of having a healthy, full-term baby.
- Keep appointments with your doctor or midwife, and talk about your risks.
- Eat a healthy diet and don’t drink alcohol.
- Stay in the weight range your doctor or midwife suggests.
- Take prenatal vitamins to make sure you get enough folic acid, iron, and other key nutrients.
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke. If you haven't been able to quit smoking, talk with your doctor or midwife about getting help. The sooner you stop, the healthier it is for you and your baby. But quitting at any time during your pregnancy will have worthwhile payoffs.
- Take only over-the-counter and prescription medicines that your doctor or midwife has OK’d for you.
- If you drink or use drugs, talk with your doctor or midwife. You can trust them, and they know where to find help specifically for pregnant women. The sooner you ask for help, the better off you and your baby will be.
- Work with your doctor to manage problems such as diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, or infection.
Take these steps to help improve your chances for having a healthy baby, even if you do have a high-risk pregnancy.
Your Health Before You Got Pregnant
Having health problems before you got pregnant can raise your risks during pregnancy. Work closely with your pregnancy care team -- before you get pregnant if possible -- if you have one of these problems:
- Autoimmune disease
- Breathing problems
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Kidney problems
- Previous miscarriages
- STDs or HIV
Your Health During a High-Risk Pregnancy
Pregnancy can take a toll on your body. It’s important to follow the basics of good prenatal care:
- Keep a healthy weight.
- Reduce stress.
- Keep all your medical appointments.
These will go a long way toward ensuring that your baby is born healthy.
In some cases, you may need extra medical care to help prevent preterm birth or manage other problems.
Gestational diabetes: Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause your blood sugar to get too high. That makes it more likely that your baby will grow larger than usual. Gestational diabetes can also raise your risk of high blood pressure. You may need a C-section instead of vaginal birth to prevent injury to your baby for these and other reasons.