Even though pregnancy can be a time of anticipation and even a little worry for many women, most pregnancies progress without any problems, resulting in a healthy delivery. But sometimes, pregnancy poses medical risks, either for the mom-to-be, the unborn baby, or both. These are high-risk pregnancies, and they affect about 8% of all pregnant women in the United States.
As a top-rated board-certified obstetrician, Paul W. Morrison, M.D., who serves the Evansville area at his practice in Newburgh, Indiana, offers care for women with high-risk pregnancies. He provides treatment and support to help women reduce the risks for themselves and their babies. In this blog, Dr. Morrison explains what can make a pregnancy high risk.
In general, a high-risk pregnancy is any pregnancy where there is an increased risk of a serious medical problem for you, your baby, or both. Here are some of the factors that can increase your chances of having a high-risk pregnancy.
Your age is one factor that can determine whether or not your pregnancy is high risk. In general, women who are older than age 35 when they become pregnant for the first time are at an increased risk of developing complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
On the flip side, if you’re under age 17, you and your baby also have an increased risk of developing problems during pregnancy or delivery. In addition, younger patients may not get the prenatal care they need to stay healthy, and they may not be aware if they have other conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections.
If you’re obese or significantly overweight, your pregnancy may also be considered high risk. Being overweight also increases your risk of developing other complications during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Pregnancy risks and complications are more common among women who:
Your risk for developing complications can also increase if you don’t get any exercise during pregnancy
Medical problems that exist prior to pregnancy and problems that develop during pregnancy can both result in a high-risk pregnancy. These problems include:
These problems can affect your pregnancy in different ways, including increasing the risks of premature birth and infant death. It’s very important to begin prenatal care as early as possible, so your care can be tailored to your specific needs.
If you’re carrying multiples (twins, triplets, etc.), your pregnancy is considered high risk. In addition, if you’ve had problems with a prior pregnancy or you’ve had a Cesarean section, your risk of developing complications is also elevated. Some genetic issues can also carry a higher pregnancy risk. Depending on your health history, Dr. Morrison may order genetic testing to determine if these problems are present.
High-risk pregnancies certainly aren’t the norm, but they’re probably more common than you realize. Prenatal visits and preconception counseling can help you understand your risks, so you can take important steps for your health and the health of your baby. To learn more about high-risk pregnancies, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D. today.