High risk pregnancy care
September 22, 2020
High risk pregnancies are those that pose a danger to the health of the mother, child or both. Some pregnancies start off normally and become high risk as they progress, but some are high risk from the beginning or even from before conception. Regular prenatal check-ups and monitoring can help women in the high-risk group have healthy pregnancies and childbirth.
The causes of high-risk pregnancies can be
- Existing chronic illnesses including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease
- Repeated miscarriages
- Very early or very late pregnancies
- Obesity or extreme low weight
- Pregnancy complications such as abnormal placental position
- Multiple births such as twins, triplets or more
How high-risk pregnancies are managed
Management of high-risk pregnancies requires special expertise. Pregnancies that are high-risk require more frequent check-ups, additional monitoring, testing and assessment than normal pregnancies. Treatment will depend on the nature of risk.
If you suffer from any chronic disease, then the conditions will be treated and managed to reduce the risk. This will keep you and your baby in good health.
If you have contracted any infectious disease during pregnancy, it may lead to complications. Treatment during pregnancies also poses a problem as only medications that do not affect your baby can be used. Any mistake here can harm the foetus.
If you have a history of miscarriages, you will be given special care and monitored/ assessed as and when required to detect any anomaly and treat it at the earliest.
Special tests that may be required for high risk pregnancies
All pregnant women require periodic tests and scans, but if you are in the high-risk group you will require additional tests depending on your condition. These tests include:
A special foetal ultrasound to check for specific suspected problem or abnormal development.
Ultrasound for cervical length:
Used to check length of cervix to determine if you are at risk of preterm labour.
An ultrasound that may also combine fetal heart rate monitoring to determine fetal health.
Pre-natal cell-free (cfDNA) screening
Foetal DNA is isolated from your blood sample and screened to detect specific chromosome disorders.
Amniotic fluid, the fluid that surrounds the foetus is drawn after the 15th week of pregnancy to detect certain genetic conditions, and brain and spinal cord abnormalities.
Chorionic Villus Sampling:
Some cells from the placenta are removed between the 10th and 12th week and tested to detect certain genetic conditions.
If your pregnancy is high risk, then you should take extra care about your health and be vigilant to note any changes. The earlier any problem is treated, the greater your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
All pregnant women have to consult a doctor if they experience
- Bleeding or discharge
- Pain or cramping of lower abdomen
- Decreased movement of foetus
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Vision changes
- Severe headaches
- Sudden swelling of the face, hands or fingers
- Fever/ chills
- Vomiting/ persistent nausea
- Thoughts of harming yourself or their baby
Every pregnancy has its own share of risks, a high-risk pregnancy has more. But with extra support, care and treatment, you can still have a healthy pregnancy and baby.