In general, giving birth to a healthy baby is a natural process. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks; in which a woman goes into labour on or before her due date mentioned by her gynecologist and gives birth to a healthy baby. After one or two days of her delivery, she starts her day-to-day life with her growing family. But this is not the case with all women, some women face challenges before, during or after delivery, what doctors refer to as a high-risk pregnancy.
A high-risk pregnancy is referred to presence of potential complications in a pregnancy which could affect the mother, the baby or both. Women who have high-risk pregnancy, need specialized care to help ensure the best outcome for the mother and baby.
Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy:
The factors which place a pregnancy at risk are as follows:
- Maternal Age: One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the woman. Women who will be under age 17 and over age 35 are at higher risk. Pregnant teens are more likely to develop high blood pressure and anaemia. The risk of miscarriage and genetic defects further increases after age 40.
- Medical History: A history of miscarriage or recurrent pregnancy loss and a family history of genetic disorders are also risk factors of high-risk pregnancy. Conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, lung, heart, thyroid problems can put mother and/or her unborn baby at risk.
It’s important to consult your doctor if you have any of these medical complications before you are planning to get pregnant. This helps you to get advice and precautions to optimize the health of you and your baby.
- Lifestyle Factors: Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol can put a pregnancy at risk. Smoking during pregnancy puts the fetus at risk for preterm birth and certain birth defects. Even a second-hand smoke can cause serious health problems for woman and her developing fetus. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy passes directly to the fetus through umbilical cord which leads to abnormal facial features, short stature and low body weight.
Pregnancy Complications: Pregnancy risks are high when woman carries more than one baby i.e., twins, triplets, quadruplets etc. Various complications that develop during pregnancy such as problems with uterus, cervix or placenta and too much or low amount of amniotic fluid also increases the risk of pregnancy.