A pregnancy is considered to be “high risk” if the woman or baby has an increased risk of a health problem during or right after birth. While “high risk” may sound scary, it is actually just a term that doctors assign to certain patients so that they receive special attention during their pregnancies. As a high risk patient, doctors will closely monitor every stage of a woman’s pregnancy and keep an eye on any potential problems that may occur.
Many women who are classified as “high risk” during their pregnancies often give birth to perfectly healthy babies without any complications at all during their maternity. For instance, a woman with a family history of premature births will be monitored closely for signs of preterm labor, but she may go full term without any medical intervention needed.
Some women are classified high risk from the moment a pregnancy is confirmed. Diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, previous miscarriages or preterm labor are considered to put a woman and her baby at a higher risk for problems. Women with any of these conditions will often need to come in for regular blood work, physical exams, and ultrasounds to monitor the growth of the baby and health of the mother.
Other women will find out about half-way through their pregnancies that they are considered high risk. Most women have a detailed sonogram around week 20, and if there are any indicators of a problem she will be treated as a high risk patient for the remaining duration of her pregnancy.
As a high risk patient, you will be treated with the utmost care and concern for you and your baby. Your doctor will walk you through every aspect of your pregnancy and will probably ask other doctors with specialities in the high risk obstetrics areas to help monitor you and your baby. The health and safety of you and your baby are the most important things, and your doctor will support you.
Posted on behalf of Sean Lambert M.D., North Pointe OB/GYN Associates