Having a high-risk pregnancy means that you have one or more conditions that increase the risk of you or your baby having medical problems during pregnancy or delivery. These conditions can include being older than age 35, being underweight or overweight, having a chronic medical issue, or being pregnant with twins or other multiples. You can also be high-risk if you have a history of pregnancy complications or loss.
While many women with high-risk pregnancies deliver healthy full-term babies without complications, having a high-risk pregnancy means you’ll have more extensive monitoring. High-risk pregnancy expert Gwen Allen, MD, of Gardena Women’s Center in Gardena, California, provides professional care to women whose pregnancies require specialized attention. Dr. Allen and her staff will work to ensure that you and your baby stay as healthy as possible from your first prenatal appointment through delivery.
Dr. Allen and the staff of Gardena Women’s Center can help you stay healthy as your baby grows. You can do your part by following these safety tips for high-risk pregnancies.
Attend all prenatal visits
Both you and your baby exist in a constant state of change as your baby grows. Frequent prenatal visits allow Dr. Allen to monitor these changes and how they affect the health of you and your baby. In high-risk pregnancies, these changes can have a more significant impact if they affect an ongoing chronic medical condition. Recognizing and addressing complications as early as possible can improve the outcome of any required treatment or intervention.
In addition to attending all prenatal visits, it’s important to take all recommended screenings and tests. This may mean having blood tests and ultrasounds more often than you would if you had a low-risk pregnancy. Dr. Allen may also recommend other types of screenings depending on the conditions affecting your pregnancy.
Even if you’re healthy and proceed normally through your high-risk pregnancy, prenatal visits play a crucial role in ensuring the health of your baby. When mothers don’t get prenatal care, their babies are three times more likely to be born with low birth weight and five times more likely to die before or during delivery than babies of mothers who did receive prenatal care.
Prenatal visits also allow you to ask questions and discuss your concerns about your changing body. During prenatal visits, Dr. Allen and her staff will provide caring support to help you deal with the unique circumstances affecting your high-risk pregnancy.
Control any medical conditions
If your pregnancy is considered high-risk because you have a chronic medical condition, you must remain vigilant in controlling your illness. This may mean changing established medications to prevent any adverse effects for your baby or undergoing special tests to monitor your baby’s development. Your treatment may vary depending on the conditions affecting your pregnancy.
Having a high-risk pregnancy can also increase your risk of developing new medical conditions. For example, being overweight or having high blood pressure can also increase your risk of developing gestational diabetes. If you develop this or any other new medical condition during your pregnancy, you’ll have to follow a new treatment plan and new routines to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Maintain a healthy diet
Eating a healthy diet can help control existing medical conditions and fuel your body to support your growing baby. Having a mix of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats provides the basis of any healthy diet. Avoiding added salt, sugar, and the urge to binge eat can help you regulate obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other conditions. If Dr. Allen advises you to do so, you may benefit from taking iron, folic acid, and a multivitamin during your pregnancy.
You should also consume at least 8-12 glasses of water a day. Water helps to form the placenta, which delivers nutrients to your baby during pregnancy. It also contributes to the development of amniotic fluid, extra blood, and new tissue.
Live a healthy lifestyle
Depending on your circumstances, Dr. Allen may recommend specific actions that can help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy. In general, all women who have high-risk pregnancies can benefit from making the following lifestyle changes:
- Stop smoking
- Avoid secondhand smoke
- Don’t drink alcohol
- Stay away from people with colds and other infections
- Keep weight gain within approved limits
- Follow instructions for staying active and working
- Maintain a record of what you eat to monitor your calorie intake
To find out more about staying safe and healthy during a high-risk pregnancy, book an appointment online or over the phone with Gardena Women’s Center today.