Pregnancy and childbirth are natural and life-changing processes. While they can be painful, they’re generally safe for most women. In 2019 alone, the U.S. saw over 3.7 million children born, most commonly in women ages 15-44 (with first-time births averaging around age 27) with a low rate of low birth weights (8.31%) and preterm births (10.23%).
Some women face higher risks with pregnancy and there are many factors that can contribute to making childbirth far more complicated. Let’s explore the risk factors that can complicate pregnancies, what causes them, and how they can be managed.
If you live in the Las Vegas, Nevada area and you’re going through a high-risk pregnancy, Dr. Staci McHale and the skilled specialists at New Beginnings OB-GYN provide women with comprehensive prenatal care. This will help ensure the safety of you and your baby.
What is considered a high-risk pregnancy?
Any pregnancy where the mother or child has one or more conditions that create greater than normal dangers is considered high risk, and can create complications before, during, and after delivery. This can result from a variety of factors that may be pre-existing or may develop during pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies can be completely safe for both mother and child, but more monitoring and care throughout the pregnancy will be needed to make sure everything goes smoothly.
What factors increase risk?
Here are some factors that can contribute to risks during pregnancy:
This common risk factor can affect older and younger women. If you’re under 17 or over 35 you and your child are at greater risk than women in the ages in between. Miscarriage and birth defects become a greater risk for women over 40.
Illegal drug use, alcohol, and smoking during pregnancy are all personal choices that can affect the health of you and your baby.
Pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), autoimmune disorders, and depression can complicate childbirth.
Having multiple babies in one pregnancy (twins, triplets, etc.) can increase the risk of complications.
A previous history of pregnancy-related conditions like preeclampsia (developing high blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy), eclampsia (a more severe version that can lead to seizures or coma), premature labor, and placenta previa (a condition where the placenta covers the cervix).
How can they be managed?
Managing this type of pregnancy means making lifestyle changes where possible and treating conditions that can increase risk. Quitting smoking, drinking, and illegal drugs, losing weight, eating a healthier diet, and lowering blood pressure are some basic changes you can make to reduce the risk of complications. Medical conditions (diabetes, STDs, autoimmune disorders and others) need to be treated during your pregnancy to help improve your health and lower complications for you and your baby.
You may get tests like prenatal DNA screenings, specialized or targeted ultrasounds, or genetic screenings depending on the conditions that are making your pregnancy high risk. Along with regular checkups to monitor you and the baby there are many ways to reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy.
If you’re dealing with a high-risk pregnancy make an appointment with Dr. McHale and New Beginnings OB-GYN today to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.