It can be stressful and scary to hear you have a high-risk pregnancy, but with extra care, you can still have a normal pregnancy and birth.
What makes a pregnancy high risk?
A high-risk pregnancy means that you or your baby have a condition that needs additional monitoring and specialized care.
There are many conditions that can lead to your pregnancy being designated as high risk. Some of those conditions include:
- Pre-Pregnancy Maternal Conditions: Your health can play a large role in pregnancy. The risk increases if you are obese or have a disease, cancer, family genetic condition, or other health condition prior to pregnancy. If you are under 17 or over 35 years of age, you also are at a higher risk for complications.
- Pregnancy-Related Conditions: If you have had pregnancy-related complications in the past, such as miscarriage, pre-term labor or eclampsia, that also can increase your risk. Or, if you develop pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or other pregnancy-related conditions during your pregnancy you may start receiving high-risk pregnancy care. There also can be issues with the structure of your uterus, cervix, or placenta that can cause complications.
- Moms of Multiples: Pregnancies of multiple babies, such as twins or triplets, takes additional monitoring and care for both you and your babies.
- Fetal Conditions: Birth defects, genetic conditions, Rh incompatibility, and other fetal conditions can put the baby and sometimes the mother at risk as well.
My provider told me I’m high risk, now what?
In most cases, your doctor or midwife will refer you to a perinatal specialist like Perinatal Specialists of Kansas City, who can collaborate with your provider and provide more specialized monitoring, care, and expertise. You’ll still continue to see your primary care provider for most of your standard pregnancy care, but you’ll also have appointments with the perinatal specialist.
At Perinatal Specialists of Kansas City, we’ll begin your first appointment by getting to know you and your health history. Depending on your condition, we may recommend testing or additional ultrasounds to get a better understanding of you and your baby’s health. We also may recommend certain procedures if we think they can provide answers or protect the health of you and your baby.
At your appointments with us, we give you the time to talk about your concerns and to feel heard. We collaborate with you to create a care plan and can help you make informed decisions about your pregnancy. We also will work together to help you make lifestyle changes when needed, such as changes to your diet or daily routine to ensure the safest pregnancy.
Can I do anything to lower my risk?
With many maternal and fetal conditions, a lot can be done to manage the condition during your pregnancy.
First, it’s important to keep up-to-date on your prenatal visits so that we and your primary provider can monitor your condition and adjust your care plan as needed. You also should follow your pregnancy care plan and doctor recommendations between appointments.
Having a healthy lifestyle can also help reduce your risk. We can help support you with lifestyle changes including providing exercise recommendations, nutritional counseling, and other guidance to maintain a healthy weight. We also always recommend getting plenty of rest, limiting caffeine, and avoiding smoking, drinking and illegal drugs.
Some early interventions can help improve outcomes, so we always recommend seeing a doctor early on in your pregnancy.
The best time to get help is before your pregnancy. Consult with your doctor before you conceive to talk about if you can benefit from lifestyle changes, genetic counseling, or pre-conception counseling.
Contact Us for Help
We are leaders in maternal fetal medicine, offering state-of-the-art screenings and tests, as well as advanced ultrasounds and monitoring options to reduce your risk before and during your pregnancy.
Whether you have medical concerns before getting pregnant or find out you or your baby are at a higher risk after conception, Perinatal Specialists of Kansas City can help. Contact us at (913) 291-0069 to book your first appointment.