Pregnancy is an exciting time; you are creating a life inside you and not many feelings will come close to the emotions you will experience at this time. You will be ecstatic most of the time but anxious a few times as you worry if your baby is doing fine in there and if she’s developing like she should.
Your fear is understandable as as many as 8% of all pregnancies are termed high risk.
A pregnancy is diagnosed as high risk if the growing fetus has a high chance of being born with a health condition. It is usually a delicate time in your life and you would need to be placed under a watch list and under close monitoring by your doctor to manage the situation.
Although this is a sensitive issue, it doesn’t mean you or your baby are necessarily at risk. You are most like to carry your pregnancy to term and birth a healthy baby if you religiously attend all your antenatal appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions.
What Causes High-risk Pregnancies?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor will explain to you what caused your condition and what you are likely to expect,
Your pregnancy could be so diagnosed if you fall into any of these categories:
1. You Have Cervical Incompetence
Cervical incompetence simply means your cervix is incapable of keeping of keeping a pregnancy. Your cervix is about 3-5cm long and is the passageway to your womb. During pregnancy it remains tightly shut and sealed with a thin line of mucous which keeping your baby safely shielded in and protected from infections. Just before you go into labour, this mucous plug falls off and your cervix begins to dilate and gets wide enough for your baby to pass through into the world.
Cervical incompetence results in miscarriage or premature birth if not properly handled.
2. The Presence of Previous Medical Conditions
If you’ve had certain medical conditions like anaemia, epilepsy, or a high blood pressure, your pregnancy is also termed high risk. Being diabetic while pregnant increases the risk of you birthing an unusually large baby which could result in complications during your delivery.
High blood pressure or anaemia are also dangerous, health conditions that should be monitored closely.
3. You are Carrying Multiple Pregnancies
You will get placed on the high-risk pregnancy list if you happen to be pregnant with twins, triplets, or more. And the way it works, the more babies you have in there, the higher the risk.
Multiple pregnancies are high risk because there is a very high likelihood of your baby prematurely, thereby increasing the possibilities of them developing health conditions later on.
4. You Have a History of Premature Labour
With a history of going into labour before your due date, your current pregnancy will also get placed on the high risk list as a precaution. With this, it can be managed as adequately as possible to reduce or prevent a premature birth.
5. You Have Been Diagnosed with Placenta Previa
Placenta previa occurs when the placenta lies low in your uterus covering your cervix partially or completely. Women with placenta previa are advised against vaginal delivery as the placenta can get ruptured by the baby’s head during his descent, causing her to haemorrhage.
6. You Have Been Diagnosed with Preeclampsia
Preeclamsia is when your blood pressure is abnormally high and you have an excess amount of protein in your urine. It is a condition that affects up to 8 percent of pregnant women.
Preeclamsia is usually life-threatenin￼g if not detected in time and properly managed.
7. A History of Problems with Previous pregnancies
Having a two or more miscarriages will make your doctor place your current prenancy on the watch list so you can be given adequate care.
8. You are Over 35 Years of Age
While having a baby when you are above 35 is termed high risk, it no way means your pregnancy is not viable as more and more women over 35 years of age are going on to have healthy pregnancies and smooth deliveries. It just means your pregnancy would also be closely monitored so complications (if any) that arise can be detected early and nipped in the bud.
How to Manage a High-risk Pregnancy
1. Register for Your Antenatal Classes on Time
You should register for antenatal classes as early as 12-16 weeks or as soon as you discover you are pregnant to reduce your chances of having complications. You should also work with your doctor and discuss any fears you have with him.
2. Eat Healthy
Your baby needs a lot of nutrients to grow healthy and so do you as the pregnancy might take a slight toll on your body. You should eat meals high in nutrients and also take your prenatals (folic acid, iron, B-complex, calcium, and any other drug your doctor prescribes).
3. Get Plenty of Rest
Rest as much as possible and ask to be placed on a bed rest if you feel there’s a need for it.
4. Get Placed on the Right Medications
Your doctor will place you on the right medications after running some tests on you to determine your condition. These medications will alleviate or eradicate your health challenges, making it easy for you and your baby to thrive.
5. Get an Ultrasound Carried Out
Get an ultrasound done or get your doctor to schedule you for one close to your due date. This way, you can have a close idea of what to expect during your delivery and know the best course of action to take.