I'm Pregnant. How Do I Know if My Pregnancy is High Risk?

Most pregnancies are joyous events that go smoothly, without complication. But, in some cases, a woman’s health, complications with the baby’s health, or unforeseen issues (like twins) raise the risk that something might go wrong with mom or baby during development and/or delivery.

At the practice of Alan Patterson, MD, we have expertise in supporting women through all stages of pregnancy, even if you have a high-risk case. Women in Coral Springs and Boca Raton, Florida, trust Dr. Patterson during this precious time, in fact, he’s delivered more than 5,600 babies in normal and high-risk circumstances.

In some cases, you might know in advance that your pregnancy is high risk, but in other cases, a problem comes on completely unexpectedly. Read on to learn some of the most common reasons for a high-risk pregnancy.

Maternal age

Women who will be younger than 17 or older than 35 at the time of delivery are at greater risk of complications compared with women of 17 to 35. As you pass age 40, your risk of experiencing a miscarriage or your baby developing genetic decreases increases even more.

Mom’s medical condition

If the mother has an existing condition, such as diabetes, lupus, a sexually transmitted disease, or high blood pressure, her health, as well as the health of the baby, may be compromised.

Maternal conditions that develop during pregnancy

You may have started your pregnancy perfectly healthy, but you can develop health problems during the nine months. For example, you may suffer preeclampsia, a combination of symptoms that include high blood pressure, urinary protein, and swelling that can be fatal for mother or baby if not treated properly. Other women can develop gestational diabetes, which can put mom and baby at risk during pregnancy and delivery. If you have these conditions, proper treatment helps you manage the complication and go on to have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Multiple fetuses

If you’re carrying more than one baby — twins, quadruplets, or more — you’re considered high risk. Often, women who undergo fertility treatments become pregnant with multiples. When you’re carrying multiple babies, the extra stress on your body makes it more likely you’ll go into labor before your due date, develop gestational diabetes, or experience high blood pressure.

Preterm labor

If you go into labor before 37 weeks of gestation, the rest of your pregnancy is considered high risk. While any woman could technically go into preterm labor, you’re at higher risk if you suffer an infection, had a previous preterm birth, or have a shortened cervix.

Placenta previa

If you’re diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix, you may experience abnormal bleeding even during contractions. In cases of placenta previa that do not resolve, you will need a c-section to reduce bleeding risks to mom and baby.

Fetal abnormalities

Sometimes, Dr. Patterson detects a fetal problem, such as minor or major structural issues, during ultrasound screenings that could cause complications during pregnancy or delivery.

Whether you’re at risk for complications during pregnancy or not, it’s a good idea to follow specific healthy strategies. Always take your prenatal vitamin, keep up with your prenatal visits, stay away from intoxicants and drugs, eat a healthy diet, and stay active.

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, are pregnant, or just think you might be, Dr. Patterson can help. For quality obstetrics care, call the office of Dr. Patterson or schedule an appointment using this website.

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