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Is Your Pregnancy High Risk?

Whether it’s your first or third, when you hear that your pregnancy is high risk, your heart may race and anxiety levels soar. Though there are many reasons why your pregnancy may be considered high risk, the designation means you and your baby need extra prenatal care and attention to make sure you’re both healthy throughout your 9-month journey together. 

At our office in Harlingen, Texas, our experienced OB/GYN, Dr. Lena Speck Hopkins specializes in obstetric care and has helped many women with high-risk pregnancies successfully bring healthy babies into the world. 

You may be wondering: Is my pregnancy high risk? We understand your question and want to share the factors that are taken into consideration when determining whether you need a little extra monitoring during your pregnancy.

Factoring in your age

Your age is one of the primary factors that determines if your pregnancy is high risk. Teens and women who are 35 and older are at greater risk of developing pregnancy-related complications, such as gestational high blood pressure (preeclampsia) or gestational diabetes. That’s why if you fall into this group, you require extra prenatal care. 

Teen mothers are also more likely to experience preterm labor and delivery, while older moms may be more likely to have prolonged labor or labor that fails to advance. 

Your personal medical history

Your body goes through many changes during your pregnancy. In addition to changes in the size of your belly and the number on the scale, pregnancy also doubles your blood volume, alters your hormone levels, and changes the way your body processes calcium. These changes can lead to many of the symptoms associated with pregnancy, such as heartburn, fatigue, mood swings, and muscle cramps.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the stress and strain of pregnancy may make it harder for you to control your condition, which may affect you or your baby’s health. 

Some common health conditions that put you in the high-risk category include:

Obese women are also considered to have high-risk pregnancies. According to the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, obesity increases your risk of developing sleep apnea (a dangerous condition that disrupts breathing while you sleep) while you’re pregnant. Your pre-pregnancy body weight may also lead to larger-than-normal fetal growth (medically called macrosomia) which may complicate your delivery. 

Various pregnancy-related issues

We may also consider your pregnancy to be high risk if you have a pregnancy-related issue that requires close observation and care. Carrying twins, for example, may lead to premature birth or the need for a cesarean section.

Though many factors that make your pregnancy high risk are known in advance, it’s possible for a normal, low-risk pregnancy to become high risk if you develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. A history of these conditions in a prior pregnancy may also mean that any subsequent pregnancies will be considered high risk.

With your high-risk pregnancy, you may need to see us more often and we may request additional testing. This extra medical care is aimed at helping you and your baby stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.  

To get expert care for your high-risk pregnancy, contact us today by calling the office or using the online booking tool.

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