The term "high risk" can be especially intimidating when used to describe a pregnancy. Even still, others might be relieved to know that the use of the term is simply another way for practitioners to ensure certain patients receive adequate or special care the duration of their pregnancy.
What is Considered a High Risk Pregnancy?
It is important to understand that being considered high risk does not always mean the patient or baby will develop problems at any time of the perinatal period. Different factors can cause a pregnancy period to be deemed as high risk. The following conditions are just some of the reasons that might influence a physician’s decision in categorizing a pregnancy as such: a sudden or unusually slowed growth rate of the baby, multiple pregnancies, a problem with the placenta, and early labor. High-risk pregnancy specialist Dr. Gilbert Webbsays maternal age and medical history are also factors which can contribute to the classification of a pregnancy as high-risk.
Additional Contributing Factors to a High Risk Pregnancy
Practitioners heavily emphasize the importance of patient integrity because the possibility of a complex pregnancy can very easily increase as a result of outside influences or other health deficiencies the mother may already have. For instance, the patient might have high blood pressure or be diabetic.
If the mother is ill, has a serious infection or any underlying potentially fatal medical issue such as, preeclampsia or HIV/AIDS, for example, the doctor is no longer simply worried about the pregnancy.
There are a series of factors in question. Those concerns are as follows:
• Possible medication type if necessary
• Mother’s response to the medication
• How her response and the medicine effects the baby
• The mother’s overall health status
• Whether or not the baby will be negatively impacted by the mother’s health
• The necessity of an early delivery if applicable
The patient must remain honest with her physician about any issues she may be experiencing throughout her pregnancy. Self-diagnosing and ignoring any medical concerns is strongly discouraged. The patient should never take any medicines of any sort without first speaking with her doctor; as taking certain medications can result in undergoing potential life threatening complications for her and her baby.
What Symptoms Should the Patient Watch For?
In the event that the patient experiences any of the following symptoms, it is critical that she call her physician or contact other emergency services immediately. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to loss of consciousness, the feeling of the umbilical cord pressing down into the vagina, chronic pain in the belly or pelvic region, severe vaginal bleeding, and abnormal fluid leakage from the vagina. The patient should also consult with a doctor if she notices any vaginal bleeding, swelling in the face, hands, feet, or sudden problems with her eyesight.
How Will the Doctor Care for the Patient During Their Pregnancy?
Some expecting mothers opt to consult with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist or perinatologist who specializes in the field high risk pregnancies. The extra care the doctor provides will entail close observation, frequent testing and appointments with the intention of spotting any signs of complications, if present, as early as possible.
Attending all doctor visits is critical to having a successful delivery. Women are advised to consult with a physician about the time and desired location of delivery. Some practitioners caution their patients about giving birth outside of the hospital and even encourage the expecting mothers to undergo labor and delivery inside the facility. Should the doctor feel that the patient’s or the baby’s health is at risk, he or she may advise the patient to have an early delivery.