Thursday, February 17, 2011

High Risk Pregnancy

I am often told that a woman is experiencing a high risk pregnancy. This is when a medical or pregnancy- related complication is a threat to you or the pregnancy. Sometimes this complication cannot be predicted in advance but rather becomes obvious as the pregnancy develops. There are many circumstances that merit the label high risk. It doesn't mean that there will not be a good outcome for you and the baby. Generally, more tests can be performed and your provider visits may be more frequent in number for close monitoring. A perinatalogist may be recommended to you. This is a doctor who can closely examine and treat the developing pregnancy but your obstetrician or midwife will help you deliver the baby, not the specialist.

Your pregnancy may be considered high risk for a variety of reasons and complications:
Viruses that could have an effect on the developing baby, such as Varicella, CMV ( cytomegalovirus ) , Hepatitis, HIV and AIDS, Rubella, genital Herpes are considered a risk.
Pre-term labor which may be treated with bedrest, medication and surveillance is a risk.
A pregnancy which goes beyond the estimated date of delivery is a risk.
Abnormal positions ( breech and others )may be considered a risk.
Substance abuse is a risk.
Age is a risk factor when over thirty five or under fifteen.
Multiples is a risk factor.
Medical conditions of the mother such as diabetes ( type one or gestational ), heart disease, history or development of hypertension are risks.
History of miscarriage, stillbirth, incompetent cervix and any previous poor outcome is a risk factor.
History of depression, whether previous postpartum or not, is a risk factor.

So you may consider your pregnancy high- risk, for sure, especially when there is a considered factor, however, please know that your provider is always cognizant of the fact that every pregnancy is precious to you and you need not be labeled high-risk to get the best of care.