Many women feel paranoid about their pregnancies, but there are some circumstances in which you must take special care to ensure a safe and healthy birth. Pregnancy can be considered high-risk for a variety of reasons. Here, we’ll look at what you need to know about your high-risk pregnancy.

What is Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?

If a woman is younger than 17 or older than 35, is severely underweight or overweight before pregnancy, has diabetes, high or low blood pressure, or has any other severe pre-existing health condition, they could be high risk. Women in these categories need to be wary of the effect these issues could have on their pregnancy.

Lifestyle choices can also complicate a pregnancy. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or using other drugs can all put a pregnancy at risk.

Lastly, some psychological issues might make a pregnancy high-risk. Women with depression, anxiety, other mental illnesses might find that pregnancy makes these issues worse.

The Basics of Self-Care

The first step in preparing for a high-risk pregnancy is to plan with your doctor to get health problems under control. Ultimately though, it’s up to you to reduce risks when it comes to daily behavior.

Start with a healthy diet, including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean protein. Find ways to exercise without putting yourself at risk of injury. Do your best to maintain a healthy weight, reduce your stress levels, and avoid raw meat. Most of these are applicable even when not pregnant, but they become especially important when you have another life to consider.

Mental health can be every bit as important as physical health when it comes to self-care. If you’re feeling stressed or depressed, talk to a mental health professional about it. If you can’t do that, at least maintain an open dialogue with family members or your partner about your feelings. Hormones might make you feel crazy sometimes, but you don’t have to go through it alone.

Mental self-care doesn’t end when the baby is born. There are plenty of ways for new mothers to care for themselves after giving birth.

Consider a Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist

This doctor, also known as a perinatologist, is traditionally trained as an OBGYN but receives an additional three years of training related to complications during pregnancy. If you are high-risk, your obstetrician might recommend this already. Consult with them before and during pregnancy to assess your risks more thoroughly.

Will You Need Special Tests?

Your doctor might recommend additional tests to assess your health risks better. Specialized ultrasounds can detect abnormal developments, and urine tests can check for urinary tract infections and screen for diseases like HIV.

It might be beneficial to take a prenatal cell-free DNA screening. In this process, a doctor takes DNA samples from both mother and child for analysis. This test can help to detect chromosome problems.

In some cases, a doctor might call for more in-depth genetic screenings. Amniocentesis is common, a test in which a sample of amniotic fluid is drawn from the uterus after the first trimester. Doctors can find abnormalities in the nervous system through this procedure.

If these sound frightening, remember that you’ll always be better off knowing more so that you can better prepare for your baby’s arrival.

Prepare for Emergencies

Have a plan for unexpected issues that may come up. It’s best if both you and your partner know what to do in a stressful situation. Otherwise, you could accidentally make things worse.

For instance, maternal cardiac arrest is on the rise in the United States. A larger quantity of blood than usual is present in the body, leading to a higher risk for heart attack. There’s a common misconception that CPR and defibrillation are too dangerous to perform on a pregnant woman.

In reality, performing CPR on pregnant women is mostly the same as on a non-pregnant person. Knowing to use CPR in pregnancy might save two lives.

There are plenty of other conditions that might arise and catch an expectant mother off guard. Intense pain, including headaches, cramping, and burning during urination, might occur. Sometimes vaginal bleeding, fever, and dizziness may also make a woman feel something has gone wrong. Make a plan, both medically and psychologically, to deal with these potential issues.

Will Your Next Pregnancy Be High-Risk?

One high-risk pregnancy does not mean that you should expect the next one to be similar. You might have complications in one and not the other. However, if the underlying causes of risk still exist, they will likely cause similar issues.

However, if your previous pregnancy ended with an early delivery, you have a greater risk of having preterm labor in the next one. It’s wise to keep your doctor in the loop and ensure your medical records are complete so your medical provider can offer the best and most customized care possible.