, DelhiZarafshan Shiraz
A high-risk pregnancy is one that threatens the health or life of the mother or her foetus and as per the reports, only 6-8% of all pregnancies are high-risk. Although most women experience normal pregnancies, learning more about common complications during pregnancy can help you make smart choices for your health and your baby’s health.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sujata Gandhare-Rajput, Senior Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals in Pune’s SB Road, shared, “Some pregnancies become high risk as they progress, while some women are at increased risk for complications even before they get pregnant for a variety of reasons. Early and regular prenatal care helps many women have healthy pregnancies and deliveries without complications. It often requires specialized care from specially trained providers.”
According to her, risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy can include:
- Existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or being HIV-positive.
- Overweight and obesity.
- Obesity increases the risk for high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, neural tube defects, and caesarean delivery.
Tips to prevent having a high risk pregnancy
Dr Sujata Gandhare-Rajput suggested the following 6 tips to prevent a high risk pregnancy:
- Maintain or achieve a healthy weight before pregnancy – Being overweight or obese while pregnant increases your risk of developing a variety of complications, like high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and stillbirth. If you’re planning to get pregnant, achieving a healthy weight before pregnancy reduces your risk of complications. Follow a healthy diet and get regular exercise to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight. While pregnant, follow the doctor’s guidelines for weight gain to ensure a healthy labor and delivery.
- Manage pre-existing health conditions – Uncontrolled pre-existing health conditions can make a pregnancy high risk. Common conditions that can affect pregnancy include: High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV, autoimmune diseases like lupus or multiple sclerosis. Pregnancy takes a toll on your body. Managing health conditions with medication and lifestyle changes before pregnancy helps your body work at its best while you’re pregnant.
- Take prenatal supplements – While you’re pregnant, your body needs more of certain nutrients to support your growing baby. Taking a prenatal vitamin or supplement can give you folic acid, iron, protein and calcium that you aren’t getting from your normal diet.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs – Drinking alcohol, smoking or using tobacco products and taking drugs while pregnant can significantly impact your baby’s health. If you drink alcohol while you’re pregnant, you increase the risk of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which causes serious birth defects. Smoking cigarettes can cause low birth weight in babies and even intrauterine fetal death. Using illegal drugs or misusing prescription drugs can cause birth defects, and it’s even possible for babies to be born addicted to a drug used during pregnancy. Take only the medications prescribed by your doctor during pregnancy.
- Know the risks of older maternal age – Your risk for pregnancy complications increases beginning at age 35. These complications include difficulty getting pregnant, miscarriage, and genetic abnormalities in the baby. Fertility begins to decline slowly around age 30 and speeds up for women 35 and older. Common complications that mothers 35 and older may face include:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Gestational diabetes
- Needing to have a c-section (cesarean) birth
- Women in their 20s are at the lowest risk for complications during pregnancy.
6. Visit the doctor regularly during pregnancy – Regular prenatal appointments are critical to monitor both your health and the health of your growing baby. At each appointment, doctor checks your vital signs and measures the baby’s progress. If potential issues are identified, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, we develop a treatment plan to give you the healthiest possible pregnancy and birth.
Time gap between two pregnancies
Dr Sujata Gandhare-Rajput asserted, “While having a second child is a personal choice, it’s considered best to wait for some time before you conceive again. These days, most women start their pregnancies late, in thirties, which doesn’t leave them with a choice of having wide gap between two pregnancies because of decreasing fertility.”
She concluded, “It is advised to fully recover from one pregnancy and childbirth before conceiving again. According to a study review, there is significantly higher risk of premature and low birth weight babies if conceived within first 6 months of delivery. A gap of 18-23 months between two pregnancies is best and ideal as it gives you time to recover and replenish your body’s resources. Taking steps to improve your health before and during pregnancy can make a big difference for you and your baby.”