A high-risk pregnancy might pose challenges before, during or after delivery. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you and your baby might need special monitoring or care throughout your pregnancy. Understand what causes a high-risk pregnancy, and what you can do to take care of yourself and your baby.
What are the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy?
Sometimes a high-risk pregnancy is the result of a medical condition present before pregnancy. In other cases, a medical condition that develops during pregnancy for either mom or baby causes a pregnancy to become high risk.
Specific factors that might contribute to a high-risk pregnancy include:
What steps can I take to promote a healthy pregnancy?SWhether you know ahead of time that you'll have a high-risk pregnancy or you simply want to do whatever you can to prevent a high-risk pregnancy, stick to the basics. For example:
Do I need special tests?
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might consider various tests or procedures in addition to routine prenatal screening tests. Depending on the circumstances, your health care provider might recommend:
Some prenatal diagnostic tests — such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling — carry a small risk of pregnancy loss. Ultimately, the decision to pursue prenatal testing is up to you and your partner. Discuss the risks and benefits with your health care provider.
Can I have a planned home birth?
Home birth generally isn't recommended for high-risk pregnancies. It depends on why your pregnancy has been deemed high risk, however. During your prenatal care, your health care provider will review a list of medical conditions during pregnancy and labor that would compromise the safety of a planned home birth.
Your health care provider might caution against a planned home birth if:
What can I do to ease my anxiety?
If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might feel scared or anxious about your pregnancy. You might be reluctant to think about the future and nervous about prenatal visits — for fear that you'll hear bad news.
Unfortunately, anxiety can affect your health and your baby's health. Consult your health care provider about healthy ways to relax and stay calm. Some studies suggest that certain techniques — such as imagining pleasant objects or experiences or listening to music — can reduce anxiety during pregnancy.
What else do I need to know about high-risk pregnancy?Consult your health care provider about how to manage any medical conditions you might have during your pregnancy and how your health might affect labor and delivery. Ask your health care provider to discuss specific signs or symptoms to look out for, such as:
Also, find out which signs or symptoms should prompt you to contact your health care provider and when to seek emergency care.
A high-risk pregnancy might have ups and downs. Do your best to stay positive as you take steps to promote a healthy pregnancy.