While we all aim to have a healthy and normal pregnancy, pregnancy is different for every woman. If you have a “high risk pregnancy,” this suggests that your pregnancy requires extra care by specialized healthcare providers, as your health or your baby’s may be threatened. Some pregnancies may progress to high risk over time, while other women may already be at an increased risk for complications even before they conceive.

Take note of these risk factors.
Sometimes, there is a great chance that your pregnancy will turn out to be high-risk as a result of a medical condition pre-pregnancy and other several factors. Medical histories of chronic hypertension, heart disorders, diabetes, asthma, blood clotting illnesses, and others, can increase your chances of having a high-risk pregnancy in the future. Surgical histories, such as multiple C-sections, surgery on the uterus, or multiple abdominal surgeries, can also make your pregnancy riskier.

Another factor is one’s maternal age, as pregnancy in teens as well as in women 35 years old and up may increase one’s risk for conditions such as gestational high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Meanwhile, pregnant women carrying more than one child, such as twins and multiples, are more at risk for complications than those who only carry a single fetus. In fact, about one-half of all twins and about 93 percent of triplets are born premature or born less than 37 weeks’ gestation.

Expect special tests during consultations.
Prenatal consultations are an essential part of your routine during pregnancy. These monthly to weekly checkups with your doctor are highly important, as they help monitor your pregnancy and your baby’s health. These doctor’s appointments are even more crucial for women with high-risk pregnancies. If you have one, you can expect to be given various tests and procedures on top of the routine prenatal screening examinations.

Around week 15 of your pregnancy, you may be requested to have an amniocentesis to detect certain genetic conditions, such as neural tube defects, in your baby. Such conditions should not be taken for granted as they target crucial organs of the body: the baby’s brain or spinal cord. During an amniocentesis, a sample of your amniotic fluid—the fluid that surrounds your baby inside the womb—is withdrawn from your uterus and tested for abnormalities.

A biophysical profile may also be suggested by your doctor. The purpose of such test is mainly to check on a fetus’ well-being. This procedure might only require an ultrasound to assess your baby’s condition, but may also involve fetal heart rate monitoring or a nonstress test, depending on the ultrasound results. Both procedures will require the use of an ultrasound machine and transducer cables and probes, and will require you to lie flat on your back throughout the test.

photo source

Your labor and delivery experience may be different.
Some women with high-risk pregnancies may not be able to have the labor they expected and the type of delivery they wanted from the start. All high-risk pregnancies have to be closely monitored at a hospital, which means that they wouldn’t have the option of a home birth or delivering at a birth center.

For women carrying multiples, early labor is expected. This is also more likely to happen in high-risk pregnancies, such as when there is too much amniotic fluid around the fetus or other particular conditions. Then, there is the possibility of having your labor induced to further prevent complications and health problems for you and your child as well as the likelihood of a C-section when a vaginal birth is not possible.

You can lower your risk for complications.
Being diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy definitely does not mean that you can’t have a healthy baby. It simply means that you will require extra care throughout your entire journey to motherhood. In fact, you can still achieve the best possible outcome for you and your baby.

To lower your risk for complications during a high-risk pregnancy, now’s the time to switch to a healthier lifestyle and to stick to good habits religiously. This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. If you smoke and drink pre-pregnancy, it’s highly recommended that you quit such habits while pregnant.

Women who have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure will be strictly monitored to keep their symptoms under control. Of course, you will need to do your part to keep your body’s normal levels throughout your pregnancy.

More importantly, having a high-risk pregnancy can be terrifying and stressful for many soon-to-be moms. Know that it is a normal feeling and that you are not alone. However, being anxious about it all the time can only do more harm than good to your health as well as to your baby’s. Relaxation techniques and activities may help, but it is also important to build a strong support system that you can rely on emotionally throughout your pregnancy.