A high-risk pregnancy means that you and your baby will require additional or special monitoring during your pregnancy to reduce your chances of developing serious or life-threatening complications. As many as 10% of all pregnancies fall into the high-risk category. In many cases, high risk pregnancies simply cannot be prevented. For example, the following uncontrollable circumstances can make you a high-risk candidate during pregnancy:
- Maternal age (over 35 years old)
- History of high-risk pregnancy or C-section delivery
- Carrying twins or multiples
- Chronic pre-existing health conditions (diabetes, hypertension, obesity, kidney disease, and polycystic ovary syndrome)
Things You Can Do to Promote a Healthy Pregnancy and Birth
While you may not be able to change your age or the fact that you have a chronic health condition, there are some things you can do to increase your chances for a normal pregnancy, or one that is not considered high risk.
The following are ways to boost your preconception health (or your health before you conceive) and thus help prevent a high-risk pregnancy:
#1 Schedule a checkup
This is an important step before you decide to get pregnant. A routine checkup can ensure your body is healthy enough to conceive as well as pinpoint factors that may make pregnancy a challenge. The visit will include an evaluation of your medical history, medication use and lifestyle habits. There may be some changes you need to make, such as stopping a certain medication or quitting your smoking habit. You may also start taking prenatal vitamins before you conceive to boost your nutritional health.
#2 Attain a healthy body weight
Women who are overweight before pregnancy are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, hypertension and other serious conditions that would deem them a high-risk patient. In contrast, an underweight mother-to-be is more susceptible to miscarriage or preterm birth. A healthy pre-pregnancy weight can mean a lower-risk pregnancy
#3 Get physically prepared
Do you consider yourself active or sedentary? This can make a big difference in how well your body handles the extra physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth. Do your body a favor and get active before conceiving. This improves endurance and strength that you will undoubtedly need in the coming months!
At North Pointe OB/GYN, we are equipped to handle high-risk pregnancies. We recommend that you visit our office before you decide to start trying to have a baby. This gives our physicians the chance to talk to you about specific ways you can lower your risk for pregnancy complications.