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How a High-Risk Pregnancy Affects Your Prenatal Care

If you’re deemed as having a “high-risk” pregnancy it can be quite scary sounding, but all it means is that you have factors that make it more likely that you might experience complications during your pregnancy. You benefit from receiving your prenatal care from a highly qualified provider, such as those at Capital Women’s Care in Silver Spring and Laurel, Maryland.

Your pregnancy may have started out high-risk or progressed to high-risk as the months went by. Regardless of the progression of your high-risk status, early and regular prenatal care can help you have a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Your prenatal care for a high-risk pregnancy will look a little different than that for a “normal” pregnancy. Read on to learn how different.

What is considered high-risk?

You may be at a higher risk for complications due to maternal age. Women younger than 17 or older than 35 have a greater risk for preeclampsia and gestational high blood pressure.

A mom with existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or lupus is also considered high-risk. Pregnancy can exacerbate your condition or be troublesome for your growing baby. I

f you’re overweight or obese, you’re also more likely to develop preeclampsia, hypertension, or gestational diabetes; you’re also at greater risk of needing a c-section, stillbirth, or having a baby with neural tube defects. This isn’t meant to scare you, but to let you know the facts. The National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD) has found that obesity raises infants’ risk of heart problems at birth by 15%.

Why is prenatal care so important?

Any pregnancy benefits from quality prenatal care, but this is especially true for high-risk pregnancies. When you receive care from a special team of health-care providers such as ours, you’re ensured the best possible outcomes.

Prenatal care provides you with education as to diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits to pursue (or curtail) during pregnancy. Plus, each visit includes special screenings and a check of your baby (or babies). The doctors ensure you’re gaining a healthy amount of weight and answer any questions you may have.

Generally, a high-risk pregnancy requires more frequent check-ins with the providers at Capital Women’s Care. During a normal pregnancy, you might come in once per month during the first trimester, twice a month during weeks 28 through 36, and once per week from week 36 forward.

When you’re high-risk, you’ll come in more often to have more regular monitoring. The exact nature of your visits and care depend on your particular condition and circumstances. In high-risk pregnancies, we watch for pre-term labor, diabetes, placenta previa, and hypertension in the mother.

What additional tests might be necessary?

If you’re a high-risk pregnancy, our doctors may recommend certain tests. A targeted ultrasound, for example, is a specialized type that can identify abnormal development in the fetus.

Amniocentesis is a test that can identify certain genetic conditions and neural tube defects early in pregnancy.You may also consider chorionic villus sampling to identify certain genetic conditions. Cordocentesis, or percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, identifies certain genetic disorders, blood conditions, and infections.

You may also undergo tests that measure the length of your cervix to determine if you’re at risk for preterm labor. These tests are offered in addition to standard lab and screening tests and ultrasounds.

Capital Women’s Care wants you to have the best possible pregnancy, delivery, and birth process possible. Regardless of whether this is your first or fifth pregnancy, premier prenatal care is essential – especially if you’re at a higher risk of complications. Women who are pregnant or planning to try in the next few months can call or book a consultation online

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