High risk obstetrics domain deals with women in which some condition puts the mother or the developing fetus (or both) at an increased risk for complications during or after pregnancy and birth.
How High Risk Pregnancy is different from normal pregnancy in terms of physician care?
Obstetricians treating high risk pregnancy help women who have /may have an increased risk for complications during their pregnancy. These pregnancies require advanced ultrasound exams and enhanced obstetrician expertise in diagnosing and treating problems related to high risk pregnancy. In comparison to normal pregnancy these patients require multi-disciplinary approach, frequent obstetric check-ups & expert neonatal care.
What are high-risk factors in pregnancy?
Maternal Age : One of the most common risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy is the age of the mother-to-be. Women under age 17 or over age 35, when their baby is due, are at greater risk of complications than those between their late teens and early 30s. The risk of miscarriage and genetic defects in babies further increases after age 40.
Medical conditions that exist before pregnancy : Conditions such as high blood pressure; breathing difficulties, kidney diseases, heart problems; diabetes, autoimmune disease; sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); or 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.
Medical conditions that occur during pregnancy : It is possible to develop or be diagnosed with problems during pregnancy that can affect a normal woman and her baby. Two of the more common pregnancy-related problems are:
Preeclampsia is a syndrome in which there is a tendency to develop high blood pressure with swelling in body. In this condition urine examination starts showing This condition 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 which develops during pregnancy. This condition stays till the pregnancy lasts. Usually the diabetes resolves after the gestational event. Women with gestational diabetes may have healthy pregnancies and babies if they follow the treatment plan from their health-care provider.
Pregnancy-related issues : Often a pregnancy is classified as high risk because of issues that arise due to the pregnant state. These conditions are not related to mother’s health. These include:
Premature labor / birth is developing labor pains with expected premature birth that begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Although there is no way to know which women will experience preterm labor or birth, there are factors that place women at higher risk, such as certain infections, a shortened cervix, or previous preterm birth.
Multiple births mean a pregnant woman is carrying more than one baby (twins, triplets, quadruplets, etc.). Multiple pregnancies, which are more common as women are using more infertility treatments, increase the risk of premature labor, gestational diabetes, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.
Placenta Previa is a condition in which the placenta covers the cervix. The condition can cause bleeding, especially if a woman has contractions. If the placenta still covers the cervix close to delivery, the obstetrician may schedule a cesarean section to reduce bleeding risks to the mother and baby.
Fetal problems : Fetal problems can sometimes be seen on ultrasound. Approximately 2% to 3% of all babies have a minor or major structural problem in development. Sometimes there may be a family history of fetal problems, but other times these problems are completely unexpected.