What Makes a Pregnancy High Risk?

What Makes a Pregnancy High Risk?

“High risk.” The words stop you cold during an otherwise joyful time as you make plans to expand your family. Before you panic, it’s important to understand that there are any number of reasons why your pregnancy can be classified as high risk, from your age to preexisting health conditions.

To help shed some light on high-risk pregnancies, the highly qualified obstetrics team here at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology has outlined some of the more common reasons why a pregnancy may carry more risk and how we go about addressing those risks.

Maternal age and number of fetuses

There are some circumstances under which your pregnancy may be deemed high risk right from the start due to factors that are out of your control. For example, if you’re 35 years or older, we consider this to be, “advanced maternal age,” and we place you into the high risk category out of caution. On the other end of the spectrum, we may place you into a high-risk category if you’re in your teens.

The risks when it comes to younger or older maternal ages include gestational high blood pressure and preeclampsia. These conditions are not foregone conclusions, but we do want to keep a close eye out, just in case.

Another similar example is when you’re carrying multiples — like twins or triplets. Here again, we place you in a high-risk category so we can monitor you more closely. The reason for this is that more than half of twins are born at less than 37 weeks, as well as 93% of triplets. These early deliveries aren’t necessarily worrisome, but we do want to make sure we’re ready.

In each of these categories, our goal is to simply monitor your pregnancy more closely and to prepare ourselves for any hurdles that may arise.

Health factors that place you more at risk

There are some health factors that may cause us to place you into a high-risk pregnancy category, such as:

Of course, there are other, less common, health conditions that can potentially pose problems during a pregnancy, which is why we thoroughly review your medical history during your first prenatal visit.

Once we better understand any underlying health concerns, we can put a plan in place to keep both you and your baby as healthy as possible during your pregnancy. In many cases, this involves working with your team of healthcare providers to better manage your health during your pregnancy.

Previous pregnancy problems

If you have a history of miscarriage, a previous birth by Cesarean section, or other problems with pregancy in the past, we will likely put you into the high-risk pregnancy group out of caution.

Previous pregnancy problems are quite common, and many women go on to enjoy perfectly normal and healthy subsequent pregnancies. In fact, we can often meet VBAC goals — vaginal birth after C-section — if that’s your wish.

Our point here is that each pregnancy is unique, and our decision to label your pregnancy as high risk is designed to give you the extra care you need for a successful outcome.

If you have more questions about high-risk pregnancies, please don’t hesitate to contact our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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