Getting pregnant is one of the happiest times of a woman’s life, and yet it comes with its share of downsides. Depending on the mother’s history and health status, the pregnancy may be termed a ‘high-risk pregnancy’ and create problems for both the mother and baby. Though it may sound rather alarming to the mother-to-be, it basically means you need to be extra careful with yourself and your diet as well as following the doctor’s instructions, taking all the prescribed supplements and going for regular visits. You will also need to make a conscious effort of monitoring your baby’s movements each day – to notice any undue changes.
Other factors to avoid include alcohol, smoking, staying away from people with infections and exercising regularly to stay fit.
High-risk pregnancy puts both the mother and child’s health at risk and could include preterm labor, preeclampsia, placental problems, retarded growth of the fetus, etc. You will be monitored very closely throughout the course of the pregnancy and may have to see a maternal-fetal specialist, also known as a perinatologist.
A pregnancy is considered the high risk if you have health issues such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, are under 17 years or over 35 years old or are into illegal drugs, smoking, and alcoholism. It’s also considered a high-risk pregnancy if you have had miscarriages in the past, are having multiple pregnancies (more than one fetus) or have a child with genetic problems like Down’s syndrome or conditions of the heart, lung or kidneys. Past history of preeclampsia, eclampsia, preterm labor, infections like HIV, chicken pox, toxoplasmosis, CMV, hepatitis C or syphilis, etc, also put you in the high-risk pregnancy category.
You may also be put into this category if you have health issues like sickle cell disease, asthma, lupus, heart valve problems or rheumatoid arthritis. You need to be very frank with your doctor and let him know about your complete medical history. Ideally, you will have more frequent prenatal follow-ups than regular pregnancies and be checked for blood pressure, urinary infections, genetic problems, growth of the baby, and be prescribed appropriate medications for pre-existing conditions that are safe during pregnancy.
You need to watch out for some problems yourself too; advice your doctor immediately if you pass out, have vaginal bleeding, severe pelvic pain, sudden swellings in the body, severe headache, sudden vision problems, fever, belly pains, sudden release of fluids per vagina or your baby stops moving.
All of the above symptoms represent an emergency visit to the hospital.