Have you been thinking about pregnancy, but are concerned about the possibility of complications? Understanding what increases the chances of a high-risk pregnancy can help you minimize the likelihood of complications occurring.
At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, Drs. Fredric Melius, Julie Schurr, and Michael Cardwell, along with our team of experienced midwives: Christine Kern Steffen, Allison Scholl, and Kate Metzger, can help you avoid a high-risk pregnancy or assist you in navigating any complications.
Top reasons for a high-risk pregnancy
The main reasons a pregnancy could be considered high risk usually have to do with preexisting conditions. You could be younger or older than recommended for a pregnancy; be carrying multiples; have diabetes, a thyroid condition, kidney disease, or an autoimmune disorder; or have had a miscarriage in the past.
You should discuss any of these conditions with your doctor or midwife before you become pregnant, if possible, or as soon as possible after you become pregnant. This will help us ensure you and your baby have the care you need to be healthy.
5 ways to reduce your risk of pregnancy complications
While many causes of a high-risk pregnancy are out of your control, there are things you can do to help give yourself and your baby the best shot at an uneventful pregnancy and a natural birth.
1. Start your pregnancy at a good weight
Being at a healthy weight can help reduce the chances of complications. Being underweight can lead to poor nutrition for your growing baby and a premature birth, while being overweight can lead to a smaller-than-expected baby, and increase your chances of preeclampsia, a complication that manifests with high blood pressure and organ damage, most often to the liver and kidneys..
2. Plan your babies for your prime childbearing years
Being the right age can help you be strong and ready to withstand pregnancy and childbirth. If you’re under the age of 20, you may not have finished growing completely, and pregnancy can be hard on you and your baby. If you’re over the age of 35 and having your first baby, the risk of complications and birth defects increases.
3. Tell your doctor about preexisting conditions
If you have any health issues, take daily medications or supplements, or have chronic illness or pain, tell your practitioner. We can help design a pregnancy and birthing plan that works around your existing challenges.
4. Ask about ways to reduce chances of pregnancy loss
If you have ever suffered a pregnancy loss or miscarriage, particularly one after the first trimester, ask about possible cervical incompetence. We can find out if it is the cause of your lost pregnancy and recommend treatment to help you carry to term.
5. Don’t drink or smoke
Drinking and smoking during pregnancy have been linked to birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight. If you need help stopping, just ask — our team will work to help you protect your baby’s health and yours.
Have more questions about high-risk pregnancy? Contact our office today at 608-218-4825 or book a consultation online.