A “high risk” pregnancy is a pregnancy that may be affected by one or more factors that may eventually lead to additional health issues for mother and/or baby. These health issues may worsen and potentially lead to premature delivery of the baby in some cases.
Some of the risk factors for a high risk pregnancy include:
1) High blood pressure
2) Diabetes, which can be present before pregnancy, or which develops during pregnancy.
3) Kidney disease
4) Heart conditions such as previous surgery for “hole-in-the-heart” or ischaemic heart disease
5) Autoimmune diseases in which the mother’s immune system attacks her own tissues, increasing her risk for pregnancy complications such as miscarriage.
6) Thyroid disorders
7) Blood disorders for example, low platelets or blood clotting disorders
8) Obesity - obese mothers are at higher risk for caesarean delivery
9) Extremes of mother’s age (less than 17 years or more than 35 years)
High risk pregnancies require more attention compared to uncomplicated ones. Additional medications may be prescribed during such pregnancies to prevent complications. Closer attention and follow-up (including with other medical specialists) may also be necessary, especially during the later stages of pregnancy. In some cases, the unborn baby undergoes extra ultrasound scans to monitor growth and development. Careful planning for eventual delivery of the baby will be needed to ensure safe outcomes for both mother and child.