A high risk pregnancy is one that could potentially threaten the life of the mother or the unborn child. According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, not all high risk pregnancies start out that way. In fact, a pregnancy may become high risk in the later stages. That’s why early prenatal care with regular checkups is vital to having a pregnancy and delivery without complications.
Dr. Gwen Allen of Gardena Women’s Center in Gardena, California is an expert in obstetrics and high risk pregnancies. If you think you might be at risk before or during pregnancy, Dr. Allen can answer all your questions and help you through the process.
Will I have a high risk pregnancy?
There are some conditions you may develop before or during pregnancy that could lead to a high risk pregnancy. These include:
- Being pregnant with multiples (twins, triplets,etc.)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Age is another factor that contributes to high risk pregnancies. If you’re over the age of 35, you have a higher chance of developing high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. Fortunately, having one high risk pregnancy doesn’t mean that all future pregnancies will be high risk. Each pregnancy is different, especially because health conditions change over time
Managing your high risk pregnancy
Besides speaking with Dr. Allen before and during your pregnancy, you’ll want to consider some of these tips for managing your high risk factors:
Prenatal care is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your baby while you’re pregnant. The first eight weeks of your pregnancy is a critical time. Caring for yourself properly and attending all of your check-ups can increase your chances of having a safe and healthy pregnancy.
Prenatal care includes monitoring your blood pressure and having your urine regularly tested to keep an eye on your blood glucose levels. Additionally, you’ll want to take the appropriate prenatal vitamins. Dr. Allen understands the importance of prenatal care and regular checkups. She’ll help you maintain a healthy pregnancy from beginning to end.
Prenatal vitamins help fill in the gaps of any nutritional deficiencies. Pregnant women require more folic acid, iron, iodine, and calcium. Women with high risk pregnancies need at least 400 micrograms of folic acid every day, ideally before pregnancy and throughout the following nine months. Folic acid protects the baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Calcium is also critical to prevent the loss of bone density in the mother and to stimulate bone growth for the baby. Extra iron helps blood carry oxygen to both mother and child. Women who are pregnant need extra iodine to prevent stunted growth of the baby and other congenital disabilities. When you attend your prenatal visits, you’ll learn all about which prenatal vitamins you’ll need to take.
Prenatal vitamins should include:
- Folic acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
Dr. Allen will create a specific vitamin regimen for you and your baby.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women have certain vaccines before, during, and after their pregnancies. These immunizations don’t just protect you, but they also protect the health of your unborn child. For example, the CDC guidelines state that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine should be given one month before pregnancy occurs. Another example is the flu shot, which can be given to a pregnant woman before, during, or after pregnancy.
Keeping your energy levels up by remaining active can improve your general health and help you cope with any stress you might be feeling. You may need to modify certain exercises, but any kind of movement that gets your heart pumping is good for you and the baby.
Avoid drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes
Drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are unnecessary risks that can lead to severe complications in a high risk or any other pregnancy. Talk to Dr. Allen if you need help eliminating these risky behaviors from your life.
Having an expert in high risk pregnancies like Dr. Allen sets your mind at ease during a time that can be scary and stressful. Call us today at 310-504-3025 to make an appointment, or use our convenient online scheduling tool.