Pregnancy is an exciting time for many mothers-to-be. It involves preparation for the birth of the baby, scans to determine the sex of the baby, and excited family members and friends. Unfortunately, many women experience high-risk pregnancies that can threaten the life and health of the mother and the baby. Though the majority of women experience a normal pregnancy, up to 8% have a high-risk pregnancy that threatens the health of themselves and their baby.
Every pregnancy is trying in its own way, but high-risk pregnancies are especially difficult. In such cases, it’s crucial to manage the pregnancy right from the first trimester through to labor and birth. My name is Dr. Shaurin Patel, and I am a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynecology at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma. I can help you maneuver a high-risk pregnancy with compassion, understanding, sensitivity, and professionalism.
Are you at risk?
In most cases, there are known risk factors that contribute to the possibility of a high-risk pregnancy. The good news here is that knowing what the risk factors are means that they can be addressed before pregnancy occurs. In this way, we can minimize the risks.
Here are three major factors that contribute to a high-risk pregnancy:
A woman’s levels of fertility and chances of conceiving decline sharply after the age of 35. With more and more women focusing on their careers rather than having children in their 20s, this means that more women are potentially at risk of having a troubled pregnancy.
The chances of a miscarriage are higher in older women, and this can threaten the health of the mother. It’s also more likely that an older woman will pass on chromosomal defects, resulting in birth defects. Down Syndrome is one of the most common birth defects across the country in women over the age of 35, with 6,000 babies born each year with this chromosomal defect.
It’s well known that obesity contributes to a wide range of other health conditions, but it’s also a contributing factor to a high-risk pregnancy. Obesity can be the cause of a number of birth defects in the baby, including stillbirth, neural tube defects, and heart problems.
Additionally, obesity can also place the mother-to-be in danger and is a risk factor in developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and high blood pressure. The mother may also need to have a Cesarean delivery.
3. Disease and other health concerns
A number of pre-existing diseases and lifestyle factors can contribute to a high-risk pregnancy, including:
- Drugs, smoking, and alcohol: A pregnant woman should never smoke, take drugs, or engage in drinking alcohol. All of these substances can contribute to a high-risk pregnancy and can result in a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome, low birth weight, ectopic pregnancies, birth defects, and babies that exhibit drug withdrawal symptoms.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: STDs, such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, HIV, and hepatitis, can be passed to the baby. Furthermore, some of these diseases can also contribute to a higher risk of miscarriage and premature birth.
- Other diseases: Many pre-existing health conditions can contribute to a high-risk pregnancy. High blood pressure, kidney disease, lupus, asthma, and thyroid disease are all serious risk factors during pregnancy and must be monitored and managed.
Managing your pregnancy
Many women face the prospect of a pregnancy that threatens the life and health of both themselves and their unborn child, which can result in a difficult time for the woman and her family members.
In these cases, it’s important to carefully monitor and manage symptoms and risk factors. In these cases, I will schedule more regular appointments, keep a close eye on the health of you and your baby, and schedule extra screening and testing. If necessary, I can also organize counseling.
My name is Dr. Shaurin Patel, and I can help you navigate your pregnancy. I understand that it’s a difficult time both physically and emotionally, and I’ll do my best to ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to see me at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, using our convenient online portal.