Managing high-risk pregnancies

SAFE BABY

Managing high-risk pregnancies

Motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman’s life. The health of both the mother and the foetus is of paramount importance and regular checkups and good prenatal care can ensure a safe and healthy delivery without complications.

However, a preexisting disease or unforeseen illness can complicate the pregnancy, which can put the mother or the child at risk. A pregnancy is considered to be of high risk when there are potential complications that could hamper the health of the mother, the baby or both. Here are certain common factors:

Advanced maternal age: In the last decades, there has been a trend towards deferred childbearing. It is important to understand that the pregnancy risks are higher for mothers aged 35 and older.

Lifestyle choices: Smoking, alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.

Medical history: A prior C-section, low birth weight baby or preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) might increase the risk in subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors include a family history of genetic conditions, a history of pregnancy loss or the death of a baby shortly after birth.

Underlying conditions: Chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune disease and epilepsy increase pregnancy risks. A blood condition, such as anaemia, an infection or an underlying mental health condition can also increase pregnancy risks.

Pregnancy-related issues: Issues that arise during pregnancy itself, irrespective of the mother’s health, could often lead to complications. These include premature labour, multiple pregnancies and placenta previa.

So, here is what you can do to promote a healthy pregnancy:

Eat a healthy diet: During pregnancy, the mother needs more folic acid, calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. A daily prenatal vitamin can help fill any gaps.

Gain weight wisely: Gaining the right amount of weight supports the baby’s health and makes it easier to shed the extra pounds after delivery.

Avoid risky substances: It is advisable to quit smoking and reduce alcohol consumption.

(The author is consultant gynaecologist, Fortis Hospital, Bengaluru)

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