Pregnancy is a period requiring special care for both the mother and the baby. A high-risk pregnancy can, therefore, call for more specialized monitoring and care before, during, and after delivery. If your doctor just pronounced your pregnancy as high-risk, read on to find out what you can expect and how you can protect yourself and your baby through high-risk obstetrics in McAllen, TX.
Risk Factors for a High-Risk Pregnancy
More often than not, a high-risk pregnancy results from a pre-existing medical condition or one that develops during pregnancy. Some factors that may contribute to a high-risk pregnancy include:
Pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia and rhesus sensitization, which happens when the mother has a different RH factor from the fetus.
- Advanced age. If the mother is over 35 years old, the risks are higher for both mother and child.
- Lifestyle habits such as smoking and consuming alcohol.
- Multiple pregnancies. Women carrying twins or more are at a higher risk during pregnancy.
- Health problems such as epilepsy, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
- A pregnancy history of stillbirths and miscarriages.
How to Promote a Healthy Pregnancy
Regardless of whether your doctor has declared your pregnancy as high-risk nor not, you may protect yourself and your child by:
- Avoiding substances such as illegal drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter prescriptions (unless allowed by your healthcare provider).
- Scheduling preconception appointments. If you’re planning to get pregnant, you should consult your doctor about prenatal vitamins and folic acid that you may need to start taking, your medical history, and your body weight.
- Seeking regular prenatal care. You might be referred to a specialist in maternal-fetal medicine, genetics, pediatrics, or other areas as the need arises.
Special Tests for High-Risk Pregnancy Mothers
Some prenatal diagnostic tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling carry a small risk of pregnancy loss. You should discuss them with your obstetrician before getting them. Besides these, your health care provider might recommend the following tests:
- Invasive genetic screening
- Prenatal cell-free DNA screening
- Specialized ultrasound
- Ultrasound to measure the cervix length
- Lab tests include testing your urine for urinary tract infections and testing for other conditions like HIV and syphilis
- Biophysical profile. This prenatal ultrasound checks on the general well-being of the baby
When Should You Contact Your Obstetrician?
Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Reduced fetal movement
- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal bleeding
- Chills and fever
- Blurred vision
- Sudden or severe swelling in the hands, face, or fingers
- Pain and burning when urinating
- Vomiting or persistent nausea
- Persistent headaches
It is important to know that a high-risk pregnancy does not necessarily mean you will face complications. In fact, most high-risk pregnancies go off without a hitch, presenting minimal or no risk. That said, working with a professional from the get-go is crucial to your and your baby’s health.
The team at the Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley understands the anxiety that may plague a high-risk pregnancy and is dedicated to making your term as safe and enjoyable as possible. If you have any questions or concerns about your pregnancy, contact the clinic to discuss the special care provided under high-risk obstetrics.