It’s always nice to be treated special. On a flight. At a restaurant. In a pregnancy. Anywhere really, but especially in a pregnancy. And that’s exactly what happens in a high-risk case. A high-risk pregnancy is characterised by specific maternal or fetal factors that warrant special prenatal care. In this guide, we round up factors that might give rise to a high-risk pregnancy and also give you safety tips to tide you over this phase.
Understanding a High-Risk Pregnancy
A high-risk pregnancy is typically led on by a pre-pregnancy medical condition or caused by a complicated condition that develops during the course of the pregnancy. Risk factors include:
- Maternal age over 35 years
- Smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy
- History of C-sections, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, premature labour or low birth weight
- Genetic predisposition to specific medical conditions
- History of pregnancy loss, birth defects, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth
- Existing diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure
- Blood infections or disorders like anaemia
- Mental health problem
- Pregnancy complications pertaining to the placenta, uterus or cervix
- Abnormal amounts of amniotic fluid during pregnancy
- Restricted fetal growth
- Higher order pregnancy
Playing Safe During a High-Risk Pregnancy
Some mommas know in advance that they will feature in the high-risk category when pregnant, and some find out when they’ve already conceived. Regardless of when you find out, there are some simple tips you should follow to keep fate on your side.
Tip 1. Fix a Preconception Consultation
If you’re still planning your pregnancy, it is advisable that you plan a preconception appointment with your gynaecologist to know ways to minimise the risk when you conceive. You may be advised to start taking prenatal supplements or shed a few extra kilos to give your baby the best outcome. Alternatively, if you’re taking medication for an existing medical condition, your protocol may be tweaked. Your doctor may also ask you about the existence of any recurrent genetic trait or predisposition in your family that may need to be watched for.
Tip 2. Consider the Risk of Multiple Pregnancy With Fertility Treatment
Fertility treatments present a greater likelihood of multiple pregnancies, especially when ovulation-inducing drugs are employed. Multiple pregnancies typically lead to premature labour, requiring newborns to spend an extended period in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). With treatments where the number of embryos transferred can be decided beforehand, like in vitro fertilisation (IVF), your doctor may ask you your opinion on what seems like the right number. On Cloudnine, our IVF and ICSI protocols are capped by a 2-embryo transfer rule, meaning that your chances of conceiving multiples while conceiving successfully are balanced out.
Tip 3. Schedule Regular Prenatal Appointments
Once you’ve conceived, it’s all about being proactive. Prenatal consultations can give your doctor a chance to track your and your baby’s progress at regular intervals. If your doctor feels the need, you may be pointed to a specialist who can explore your case in greater depth.
Tip 4. Focus on Nutrition
During pregnancy, you need a little more of everything. More folic acid, more iron, more vitamins and more calcium. Ask your gynaecologist about which supplements are best taken during this time. It’s important to take a daily prenatal supplement to optimise your essential nutrients reserve.
Tip 5. Be Careful How Much You Gain
Some women find that pregnancy is a convenient excuse for binge eating and meaningless marathon meals. Too much extra weight, however, can affect your posture and agility during pregnancy. Conversely, the right weight gain can help support the added ecosystem your body now hosts. Learn from your doctor how much you should be gaining and check your weight periodically to see that you’re moving the right way.
With all this extra special care, you’re likely to make it to the finish line just fine. It’s always wise to be watchful though. With the right guidance and monitoring, you can turn a high-risk pregnancy in your favour.
If you found this article interesting and would like to know more, talk to a Cloudnine expert today!