Uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk for preterm labor and delivery, Pre-eclampsia, and high blood pressure.
- Medical conditions that occur during pregnancy. Even if you are healthy when you become pregnant, it is possible to develop or be diagnosed with problems during pregnancy that can affect you and your baby.
Two of the more common pregnancy-related problems are:
- Preeclampsia is a syndrome that includes high blood pressure, urinary protein, and swelling; it can be dangerous or even fatal for the mother or baby if not treated. With proper management, however, most women who develop preeclampsia have healthy babies.
- Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes may have healthy pregnancies and babies if they follow the treatment plan from their health-care provider. Usually the diabetes resolves after delivery. However women with gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Risk Factors for High-Risk Pregnancy:
Maternal Age. One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the mother-to-be.
Medical conditions that exist before pregnancy. Conditions such as
• High blood pressure;
• Heart problems; Diabetes; Autoimmune disease
• Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
• Chronic infections such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can present risks for the mother and/or her unborn baby.
A history of miscarriage, problems with a previous pregnancy or pregnancies, or a family history of genetic disorders are also risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy.
Diagnosis of multiple fetuses may be made early in pregnancy. This is especially true if fertility treatments were used. In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnosis may be made by:
• Pregnancy blood testing. Levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) may be quite high with multiple pregnancy.
• Alpha-fetoprotein. Levels of a protein released by the fetal liver and found in the mother's blood may be high when more than 1 fetus is making the protein.
• Ultrasound. A diagnostic imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds can be done with a vaginal transducer, especially in early pregnancy. Or with an abdominal transducer in later pregnancy.
Preventing and Treating Pregnancy Complications
• Getting at least 400 micrograms of folic acid, beginning before and continuing through pregnancy
• Getting proper immunizations
• Eating a healthy diet and maintaining proper weight
• Getting regular physical activity, unless advised otherwise by your doctor
• Avoiding cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs (except for medications approved by your doctor)
• See your doctor regularly
If your pregnancy is considered high risk, your doctor may refer you to a perinatologist. Also called a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, a perinatologist is an obstetrician with special training in high-risk pregnancy care. This specialist will work with your other doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals to ensure the best possible outcome for both you and your baby.