Congratulations! You have just discovered that you are pregnant. This can be thrilling but scary. Always remember that Lenmed is here to assist you in every way possible. Most pregnancies are problem-free, but you should be aware that complications can arise which involve the mother’s health, the baby’s health, or both. A pregnancy that is “high risk” may be a result of a medical condition present before pregnancy or a medical condition that develops during pregnancy.
Understanding the risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is very helpful in managing the problems.
- Advanced maternal age – Pregnancy risks are higher for mothers older than age 35.
- Lifestyle choices – Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs can put a pregnancy at risk.
- Maternal health problems – High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, heart or blood disorders, poorly controlled asthma, and infections can increase pregnancy risks.
- Pregnancy complications – Various complications that develop during pregnancy can pose risks. Examples include an abnormal placenta position, baby’s growth is less than normal and a blood condition that can occur when your blood group is different to your baby’s.
- Multiple pregnancy – Pregnancy risks are higher for women carrying twins or higher order multiples.
- Pregnancy history – A history of pregnancy-related blood pressure problems can increase risk during your next pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about your complete obstetric history.
- Gestational diabetes – This can complicate what seemed to be a healthy pregnancy. When it is diagnosed for the first time during pregnancy (usually in the last three months), it causes high blood sugar that can affect your pregnancy and your baby’s health. But it can be controlled with healthy food, exercise and medication. And the mother’s blood sugar usually returns to normal after the delivery.
In these cases, you will have a care plan so that your Lenmed obstetrician can closely monitor you and your baby, consult with other medical specialists and include more ultrasounds, tests and foetal evaluations. You may have to use home blood pressure monitoring, daily.
Talk to your Lenmed healthcare provider about how to manage any medical conditions you experience during pregnancy and how your health might affect labour and delivery.
Contact your doctor immediately if you have:
- Vaginal bleeding or watery vaginal discharge
- Severe headaches
- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Decreased foetal activity
- Pain or burning with urination
- Changes in vision, including blurred vision
- Sudden or severe swelling in the face, hands or fingers
A high-risk pregnancy might have ups and downs but be assured that you are likely to have a normal, healthy baby when health problems are under control and you get good prenatal care.
Although you may be extremely worried about pregnancy problems, much can be done to assist you and the baby. You can rely on your Lenmed obstetrician and team to advise you with the best care available today.
For more information please contact:
Dr Kobby Essel, Gynaecologist and Obstetrician
MBChB (WITS), FCOG (SA), MMED (UCT)
Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital
Tel: +27 (0) 11 923 7804
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.