While there are no set guidelines as to what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy, there are certain circumstances that can lead to one. Amberly Davidson MD, a gynecologist with Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology, says high-risk pregnancies will vary in different situations, and provides information on risk factors as well as how to protect yourself during your pregnancy.
I’m Having Multiples: What Can I Expect?
"In almost every case, multiples are considered a high-risk pregnancy, and the higher the number, the higher the risk," Dr. Davidson says. "When you have more than twins, your pregnancy will almost always be classified as high-risk."
Having a family history of multiples is not a clear indication that you will have a high-risk pregnancy, however. When you have multiple gestations, the focus turns to monitoring disorders that might develop, including:
If you are pregnant, you can develop these disorders at any time, but they are most likely to develop during your third trimester.
Are There Other Risk Factors?
Aside from multiples, if you've had previous preterm deliveries, your pregnancy will be classified as high-risk since you could have a subsequent preterm delivery. Additional risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- Renal disease
- Advanced maternal age
- People with certain uterine malformations that may predispose them to preterm labor or delivery
- People who require a cervical cerclage
“A lot of people try to put a label on high-risk, and it would be hard to make a list of everything that fits that definition,” Dr. Davidson explains. “You can become high-risk at any time.”
There are a number of things you can do during your pregnancy to help reduce risks, including:
- Having access to early and good prenatal care
- Taking prenatal vitamins
- Maintaining a well-rounded diet
- Maintaining a basic fitness and exercise schedule
While cravings do occur during pregnancy, Dr. Davidson reminds women that everything needs to be consumed in moderation, especially if you are diabetic. You can also help balance out cravings by remaining active; for many women, this can continue until they’re delivery date. If you are high-risk, you may be advised to reduce or discontinue physical activity during your pregnancy.
Where Should I Deliver?
When considering where you should deliver, Dr. Davidson says it’s important to select a facility that has the ability to handle a pre-term baby. Be sure to discuss delivery options with your physician and make plans well in advance of your due date.