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High Risk Pregnancies

For many expectant mom’s, pregnancy is a time of excitement, hope and dreams. We’d all be lying if we said we didn’t worry, at some stage, about whether our babies would be born with all their fingers and toes, but in general those concerns are relatively minor. For some pregnant women though, worrying is necessary because their doctors have placed them in the high risk category.

A high risk pregnancy could mean anything, from chronic conditions you had before you fell pregnant, to problems you could encounter before the baby is born. But you’d be relieved to know that with today’s medical knowledge and technology, most of these problems can be dealt with successfully and result in a healthy birth and more importantly a healthy baby.

So who is likely to be more at risk of having a high risk pregnancy?

  • A woman over the age of 35, because of decreasing hormone levels
  • A woman younger than 17
  • A woman who’s carrying more than one baby at a time
  • A woman who suffers from a chronic health condition e.g.: diabetes
  • A woman who has a history or gynaecological problems
  • A woman who has a history of miscarriages
  • A woman who has a sexually transmitted disease, including HIV
  • A woman who’s had medical help, falling pregnant i.e. IVF
  • A woman who has a child with a genetic disorder

For some doctors, a woman’s age could determine whether she’ll be treated as a high risk pregnancy. If you’re over the age of 35, the doctor may decide to monitor your pregnancy more closely. That’s because the older you are, the more likely you are to have complications, including high blood pressure and miscarriage. You also have a slightly greater chance of giving birth to a baby with certain conditions like Downs Syndrome.

But age doesn’t necessarily mean that you will experience problems. Your doctor will probably conduct a few tests, including an amniocentesis to make sure that there aren’t any problems.

If you have a chronic medical condition, like diabetes, heart problems, sexually transmitted diseases or uterine fibroids, your doctor may decide to monitor your pregnancy closely. He may opt to see you more regularly to manage your condition properly and ensure that you and your baby are healthy.

Your weight could also compromise your health and that of your unborn baby. A woman who is underweight and doesn’t gain enough during her pregnancy could result in an underweight baby. A woman who is overweight could end up with gestational diabetes and hypertension.

You also need to take responsibility for your baby’s health. Smoking, taking medication without your doctors’ consent and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol could harm your unborn child.

Then there are some problems that you could experience, simply because you’re pregnant. Some women find that they’ll have to deal with gestational diabetes, hypertension or early labour. Eating a good diet and leading a healthy, stress-free life could decrease your chances of dealing with these problems. Listen to your body. It’ll tell you when things aren’t right.

All these potential problems and a possible high risk pregnancy could leave you feeling a little overwhelmed. Remember though that if you visit your doctor regularly and follow his medical advice, most of these medical conditions can be dealt with successfully and you’ll give birth to a healthy, happy baby.

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