Your pregnancy is considered high-risk when you have one or more medical problems that could affect your health or the health of your baby. About 6-8% of all pregnancies are in this category.
Your pregnancy can be considered high-risk if you:
- Are in your teens or older than age 35
- Are underweight or overweight
- Have a chronic medical issue before pregnancy
- Have a history of pregnancy complications or loss
A pregnancy with twins or other multiple babies is also considered high-risk. Some pregnancies begin as low-risk then develop complications like preeclampsia or gestational diabetes that change it to a high-risk condition.
Regardless of the reason you have a high-risk pregnancy, your prenatal care will likely include more extensive monitoring and testing to prevent complications.
Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care in Chicago and Northbrook, Illinois, are high-risk pregnancy experts. We provide the specialized attention and support you need to ensure that you and your baby remain as healthy as possible through delivery.
Appropriate prenatal care can help prevent complications as your baby grows. You can do your part in protecting your health and the health of your baby by taking the following precautions.
Go to all recommended prenatal visits
Pregnancy is a state of constant change for both you and your baby. Prenatal visits scheduled at intervals allow us to monitor these changes and ensure that you and your baby remain healthy.
In a high-risk pregnancy, these changes can have a more significant impact if they influence an existing medical condition. Regular prenatal visits allow us to screen and diagnose complications as early as possible to improve the results of treatment.
Prenatal care is key to ensuring the health of expectant mothers and their babies in all types of pregnancies. When expectant mothers go without prenatal care, their babies are three times more likely to be born with a low birth weight and five more times likely to die during delivery than babies of mothers who had prenatal care.
Your prenatal appointments are also a good time to ask questions and address concerns related to your pregnancy. Maintaining an ongoing relationship with your physician gives you the physical and emotional support you need to remain healthy.
Follow a healthy diet
Following a healthy diet gives your body the fuel it needs to support your growing baby. Generally, a balanced diet that includes a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats is a good start.
Avoid added sugar, salt, and the urge to binge on unhealthy cravings. A proper diet can help regulate high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and other potentially dangerous conditions. We may recommend that you take folic acid, iron, and a multivitamin if appropriate.
Drink at least 8-12 glasses of water daily. Water is key to the development of amniotic fluid, extra blood, and new tissue during pregnancy. It also forms the placenta, which is the source of nutrients for your baby as they grow.
Monitor medical conditions
If you have a preexisting chronic medical condition at the time you become pregnant, you must work diligently to prevent your illness from affecting your pregnancy. We monitor you to ensure that your daily maintenance regimen protects your health without affecting your baby.
If necessary, your prenatal care may require changing your established medications to those that won’t affect your baby. You may also have to undergo special tests or more frequent monitoring to track your baby’s development.
You might develop new medical conditions during your pregnancy. For example, having high blood pressure or being overweight can make you more likely to develop gestational diabetes.
No matter how your health changes, follow our recommended routines and treatments for the best chance of having a healthy full-term pregnancy.
Make lifestyle changes
You can prevent controllable risk factors from affecting your pregnancy. Follow these standard guidelines and lifestyle changes to improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy:
- Stop smoking immediately
- Stay away from secondhand smoke
- Don’t drink any type of alcohol
- Avoid interaction with people who have contagious illnesses
- Follow recommendations for physical activity and working
- Maintain weight gain within approved limits
Reduce your risk of complications during a high-risk pregnancy by scheduling a prenatal examination as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment online or call our Chicago or Northbrook office to arrange a consultation today.