Avoiding a High-Risk Pregnancy
A high-risk pregnancy occurs when a mother and/or a child are at an increased risk for medical complications. While soon-to-be mothers must do their best to achieve a healthy pregnancy and attend regular doctor’s appointments, some problems can occur suddenly and can’t be prevented.
UPMC offers individualized approaches for women with high risk pregnancies. A plan of action can include procedures like nonstress tests and neurologic tests to ensure that both the safety and health baby and mother over the 40-week span.
With the help of your healthcare provider, you can come up with a plan to lower your chance of a high-risk pregnancy.
Symptoms of High-Risk Pregnancy
The symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy vary and depend on the underlying causes.
Symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy can include, but are not limited to:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding
- Persistent headaches
- Elevated blood sugar
- Abnormal fetal growth
- Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
- Decreased fetal activity
- Pain or burning with urination
- Regular or frequent contractions
- Blurred vision
Causes of High Risk Pregnancies
The causes of high-risk pregnancies include several factors, including preexisting medical conditions, lifestyle choices and age. Teenagers and women who become pregnant after age 35 tend to be at the highest risk for developing pregnancy-related problems.
Other specific risk factors include:
- Drug and alcohol use, as well as smoking
- Certain conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, thyroid disease, autoimmune diseases (such as lupus or multiple sclerosis), obesity, epilepsy, HIV, and anemia
Certain conditions can develop during pregnancy that can lead to issues before and/or after a baby is born, including:
- Multiple gestation. Occurs when a woman is pregnant with twins, triplets or more, increasing the risk of infants being born prematurely.
- Preeclampsia. Can affect the mother's kidneys, liver and brain. Preeclampsia is a sudden blood pressure spike seen in pregnant woman after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Gestational diabetes: occurs when the body cannot effectively process sugars and starches (carbohydrates), leading to high sugar levels in the blood stream.
Treatment of High-Risk Pregnancy
Treatment options for high-risk pregnancy depend on the underlying causes. Women with pre-existing medical conditions should work with their healthcare providers to keep their conditions under control during pregnancy. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy, speak with a skilled health care provider at UPMC.
UPMC experts are here to help you decrease your odds of pregnancy risks in Williamsport and Wellsboro, PA, and the surrounding areas.