While complications could potentially happen in any pregnancy, a high-risk pregnancy is one in which there is a greater risk of complications. A pregnancy could be considered high-risk whenever the mother has one or more of the following risk factors:
- Age: Women who are younger than 18 or older than 35.
- Medical History: Certain health conditions, or coming from a family with a history of those conditions. These include, but are not limited to, diabetes, anemia, cancer, mental health problems and high blood pressure.
- Pregnancy History: Women who have had pregnancy complications such as miscarriages, prior C-sections and early labor.
- Pregnancy Complications: Women who develop certain pregnancy complications,including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, too much or too little amniotic fluid, or restricted fetal growth.
- Number of Babies: While twins are a blessing, they also put a woman at greater risk for complications.
- Infections: Infections such as HIV, Hepatitus C, Rubella and chickenpox.
- Lifestyle Choices: Smoking, drinking, or using drugs.
Just because your pregnancy is considered high-risk does not mean that you won't deliver a healthy and happy baby. It simply means that you will need to be even more careful, and that your doctor will want to monitor you a little more closely to make sure that both you and your baby stay healthy.
If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, make sure to see your doctor regularly, eat a healthy, balanced diet, exercise in moderation and avoid risky substances. Be sure to also keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctor. Be truthful about your medical history and any symptoms that you have had or are having. Follow your doctor's advice and don't be afraid to ask questions.
A pregnancy should be a time of excitement. Take care of yourself and your baby and work closely with your doctor, and chances are everything will turn out just fine!