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High Risk Pregnancy

High Risk Pregnancy can cause difficulties before, during and after pregnancy. If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, you and your baby may need special monitoring or attention throughout your pregnancy. Learn the causes of high-risk pregnancy and how to take good care of yourself and your baby.

What are the risk factors for High Risk Pregnancy?

Sometimes, a high-risk pregnancy occurs as a result of a medical problem before pregnancy. In some cases, complications that occur during pregnancy can cause high risks for the baby and mother.

Some specific risk factors for High Risk Pregnancy are:
  • Big age. The risk is higher in mothers over the age of 35.

  • Life style. Smoking, alcohol and drugs are among the factors that put pregnancy at risk.

  • Medical history. A previous cesarean section, low birth weight, or premature birth (before 37 weeks) may increase the risk in future pregnancies. Other risk factors include details such as fetal genetics, family genetic history, and history of children who miscarried or died shortly after birth.

  • Triggering reasons. Chronic causes such as diabetes, epilepsy and high blood pressure increase the risks during pregnancy. Blood-related problems such as anemia and infection are also clinical reasons that increase risks during pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy complications. Complications that may develop during pregnancy, such as uterine, cervical, placenta problems or morning sickness that persists within the first 15 days, also pose a risk. Reasons such as low or excess amniotic fluid, slow fetal growth, or Rh (rhesus) sensitivity (a problem that occurs when the mother's blood type is Rh negative and the baby's blood type is Rh positive) also increase risks during pregnancy.

  • Multiple pregnancy. Mothers carrying twins or more children are at greater risk.

  • Delayed pregnancy. If your pregnancy lasts longer than it should, you may be at risk.

What are the steps to be taken to have a healthy pregnancy during a high-risk pregnancy?

If you are having a risky pregnancy or want to prevent a risky pregnancy, follow these simple factors:

  • Make an appointment before pregnancy. If you are thinking of becoming pregnant, contact your healthcare provider. Your doctor will recommend that you take daily pregnancy vitamins and help you reach a healthy weight before pregnancy. If you have a health problem, your treatment may need to be changed before pregnancy. At the same time, your doctor will also inform you of the risk of any genetic disorders.

  • Be careful when using assisted birth technologies (ART). If you are going to become pregnant using assisted birth technologies, meet with your doctor about how many embryos will be added. The risk of premature birth is higher in mothers carrying more than one baby.

  • Review regular pre-pregnancy care. Pre-pregnancy care appointments will help you monitor your and your baby's health. Depending on the situation, your doctor will recommend whether you should take various medications.

  • Eat healthy. During pregnancy, you need more folic acid, calcium, iron and other essential substances. Daily pregnancy vitamins can help you fill the gap. If you have a condition such as gestational diabetes, consult your doctor for any extra supplements you may need.

  • Gain weight properly. Gaining the right amount of weight will positively affect the baby's health and make it easier for you to lose weight after birth. For a mother who was at a healthy weight before pregnancy, it is recommended to gain 11 to 16 kilos during pregnancy. If you were overweight before pregnancy, you need to gain less weight. If you are expecting twins or triplets, you may need to gain more weight. Talk to your doctor about the weight you should gain.

  • Stay away from risky situations. Quit smoking, do not use alcohol and drugs. Consult your doctor before starting or stopping any medication.

Do I need special tests?

If you are having a high-risk pregnancy, you may consider having various tests or imaging tests. Depending on the situation, your healthcare provider may recommend:

  • Special ultrasound. This type of fetal ultrasound can help identify suspected problems, such as maldevelopment, by imaging your uterus with high sound waves.

  • Amniocentesis. This test, which is performed by taking a sample of the fluid in your uterus that protects the baby (amniotic fluid), can be useful in determining the baby's genetic problems, spinal cord disorders, and brain-related problems that occur after the 15th week.

  • Chronic villus sample (CVS). During this test, sample cells are taken from the placenta. This test, performed between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy, can detect genetic disorders.

  • Cordocentesis. This test, also called percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, is a very special test performed by taking a blood sample from the baby's umbilical cord. This test, performed after the 18th week of pregnancy, can detect chromosomal disorders, blood diseases and infections in the baby.

  • Cervical length measurement. It is a test performed using ultrasound to measure the length of the cervix before pregnancy, in order to determine whether the birth is risky.

  • Laboratory tests. Your healthcare provider may use a swab to take a sample from your vagina for the presence of fetal fibronectin (the fluid between the fetal sac and the uterine wall). Fetal fibronectin may be a sign of preterm labor.

  • Biophysical profile. It is done to check the baby's health. Testing includes measuring fetal heartbeats and fetal ultrasound.

Some pregnancy tests (such as amniocentesis and chronic villus sampling) may cause a small risk of miscarriage. Before having the tests, think about the issue with your partner and compare the risks and advantages with your doctor.

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