HIGH RISK PREGNANCY CARE
What is a high-risk pregnancy ?
A high-risk pregnancy is one where there are complications during pregnancy or delivery that can adversely affect the health or life of either the mother or the fetus.
Some pregnancies may be at high risk, due to pre-existing health conditions, while others may start out normally, but become high risk during the course of the pregnancy. With the advanced obstetric care available nowadays it is quite possible to have an uneventful and safe pregnancy, even with high-risk medical conditions. This however needs close monitoring of the mother and the fetus. With innovative changes in the medical field, treatment for pregnancy complications is now made available.
CONDITIONS LEADING TO HIGH RISK PREGNANCY
- Pre-Existing Medical Condition
Pre-existing medical conditions may increase the risks to the mother and the baby during the course of the pregnancy. Ideally women with preexisting medical or surgical conditions must consult their doctors before planning a family. This is, so that their medical condition can be optimized. Also, some medications taken for these conditions may be harmful for the fetus and may need to be adjusted accordingly. Women who have pre existing health problems may need more frequent scanning, more visits to the doctor for closer monitoring of the pregnancy and even earlier hospital admission in some cases. The following are some of the medical conditions that need close monitoring during pregnancy
- Heart disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Auto immune disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
- Multiple pregnancies
The condition where a woman is carrying two or more fetuses is called multiple pregnancies. Women with multiple pregnancies may have more severe morning sickness, greater breast tenderness, more weight gain. They also have a higher risk of developing preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and going into pre term labor. Their diet and activity levels also need to be monitored, so as to ensure optimum growth of the fetuses.
Women with multiple pregnancies will need more frequent visits to the obstetrician. From the second trimester on wards they will also need more frequent scans.
- Gestational diabetes
When a woman develops high blood sugar, for the first time, during her pregnancy, the condition is called gestational diabetes. This usually resolves after the pregnancy, but these women have an increased risk of developing diabetes later on in life. Risk factors, which increase the chances of developing gestational diabetes, are, being overweight, sedentary lifestyle, history of having a large baby in a previous pregnancy, women with PCOS, etc. One of the complications of gestational diabetes is a large fetus, which in turn can cause complications with labor and delivery. Also the baby may have problems with sugar levels, and jaundice after birth and may need specialist care.
Women with gestational diabetes need more frequent visits to the obstetrician to monitor both their and the health of their fetus. They need regular blood tests to check the sugar levels and keep it under control. In some women this may be done with just dietary changes and exercise while others may need medication.
In this medical condition the patient’s blood pressure shoots up during pregnancy and there are signs that her other organ systems are getting affected. This may lead to several complications such as preterm delivery, placental abruption, damage to the mother’s kidney, liver, brain eyes etc.
The mother might have to undergo several tests frequently for both the fetus and herself. Doctors might administer medicines to maintain the blood pressure levels. The expectant mother needs to take rest and if things get bad, she needs to be hospitalized for constant monitoring and high risk pregnancy care.