How do high risk pregnancies affect mom and baby?

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Answered by: Laura, An Expert in the Pregnancy: Complications Category
For many women, being pregnant is an experience that is filled with joy and bliss. However, some have high risk pregnancies and as such they need to take extra care of themselves. High risk pregnancies can be varied; from diabetes and obesity to carrying multiples and developing pre-ecclampsia, each comes with its individual dangers and as a result of this additional care is required. The majority of women whose pregnancy is deemed to be high risk can continue to have a normal birth without any complications, but for a few extra obstetric care may be necessary.

When you go for your initial obstetric appointment, the doctor leading your pregnancy will alert you if your pregnancy is high risk. One of the first, and most common high risk factors, is having had previous multiple miscarriages. For those women who have had more than one miscarriage extra care may be needed, as it is often hard to determine whether they will be prone to a subsequent loss. Such care may include earlier or extra scans for reassurance.

Some women may have high risk factors in their pregnancy that cannot be modified and are pre-existing. Diabetes and obesity are two common examples of pre-existing risk factors, both of which can be controlled through efforts made both by mom and her medical team. If you suffer from diabetes during your pregnancy you may have insulin shots offered to you by your obstetrician, as well as advice from a nutritionist. Nutritional advice is generally offered to women who suffer from obesity, to ensure that both mom and baby have a good outcome throughout the pregnancy and birth.

For some women, complications in pregnancy can occur even when they start out as a non-high risk woman. Placental problems, pre-ecclampsia and pre-term labor all occur during pregnancy even in women who are not initially high risk. The most common placental problem is placenta previa, a condition where the placenta partially covers the cervix. This condition can come with blood loss risks for both mom and baby and usually requires a c-section for safe delivery.

Pre-ecclampsia is classed as being pregnancy induced hypertension and is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality. However, in the developed world it is well managed and with a monitored pregnancy and birth, both mom and baby make it through safe. Finally, pre-term labor is something that can occur as a secondary risk factor or it can be a risk factor that is posed as the mom has a previous history of it. Women who are at risk of pre-term labor usually have extra obstetric appointments and a carefully monitored labor.

Although pregnancy is not usually dangerous, some high risk factors can lead to enhanced obstetric monitoring. Although having a high risk pregnancy can be rather scary, it is important to remember that extra obstetric care is enough to get you and your baby through the experience. Taking good care of yourself during your pregnancy will go a long way to ensuring a healthy outcome and a happy experience.

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