7 Factors That Increases Your Chances of a High-Risk Pregnancy
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  • A woman's pregnancy becomes a high risk one for two reasons: the mom or the baby developed conditions that threaten their health, explains ManilaMed's Dr. Maynila Domingo, an obstetrician-gynecologist whose subspecialty is maternal-fetal medicine, in an interview with SmartParenting.com.ph

    Dr. Domingo wants to stress that high risk pregnancies don't automatically result in adverse outcomes. It's possible that a patient may be considered high-risk but didn't have any complications. We now have specialists who can attend to the different needs of women with high-risk pregnancies. "There is a good chance that a high risk pregnancy results in a good outcome," she adds. 

    Being tagged as high risk is scary, but it allows doctors and you and your partner to be more aware of any possible complications that may arise. Doctors can monitor your pregnancy more closely to give you the proper care you need. Here are the factors that may tag your pregnancy as high risk: 

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    1. Mom-to-be is pregnant for the first time
    First-time pregnancies are always considered high-risk because their bodies are still discovering what it is like to adapt having a fetus inside for the first time. 

    The second or third pregnancies can be considered high risk depending how many years have passed between pregnancies. "Ideally, you have to allow your body to recover, about a year and a half to three years, before you get pregnant again. But if too long naman, like five years or more, parang nag-reset na yung katawan mo. So when you get pregnant again, parang first pregnancy mo na ulit," Dr. Domingo explains. 

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    2. Mom-to-be has a pre-existing condition
    If you've been diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes, cancer, a blood disease, a reproductive health condition such as PCOS, a neurological condition such as epilepsy, or even a mental health issue, then your pregnancy will be considered high risk. 

    It's also crucial to know if the mother has infectious diseases that can be passed on to the baby. For example, infants of moms infected with Hepatitis B should receive medication to prevent babies from getting infected. In certain conditions, it may be best that some babies be delivered via C-section. 

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    3. Mom-to-be developed a pregnancy complication
    Immunological conditions such as APASpre-eclampsiagestational diabetes, or thyroid issues that developed during pregnancy will mean a delicate pregnancy. These conditions can result in serious complications. Women who have had had complications in previous pregnancies is also a factor. 

    4. Mom-to-be's age
    Pregnant women 35 years old and above are considered high risk, especially if it's her first pregnancy. The only reason for the magic age is because the eggs a woman will produce in her lifetime is already pre-determined before birth. "As women get older, the risk of the ovaries releasing an 'unhealthy egg' also increases," Dr. Domingo explains. Older people, in general, are also more prone to hypertension or diabetes, she adds. 

    Teenage girls who are pregnant are also considered high risk because their bodies are experiencing changes in the body brought about by pregnancy but they're going through puberty, says Dr. Domingo. 

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    5. Mom-to-be got pregnant via assisted reproductive technology
    Women who conceive with the help of assisted reproductive technology (ART), either intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) will "need closer monitoring because they have higher chances of failure in implantation, the baby developing congenital anomalies, or getting pregnant with multiples," Dr. Domingo says.

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    6. Mom-to-be is carrying multiples
    If you have more than one baby growing inside you, whether you got pregnant via IVF or not, it's considered high risk. "Nag-iiba yung how we monitor the pregnancy and how we decide to deliver the babies."  

    7. The baby has developed a congenital condition
    Dr. Domingo cites some examples such as the baby has hydrocephaly, spina bifida, heart problems, and chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome.

    When it comes to baby's health, you have to consider the baby's parentage, both the mother and father. Dr. Domingo clarifies that while a lot of risks are linked to the woman's reproductive health, men also have a biological clock, but occurs later in life. Men older than 40 years old may also have difficulty producing 'healthy sperm,' she says.

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    While you cannot do anything about family and medical history, women can invest in pre-conception counseling. "Even before you get pregnant, you need to find out medical problems beforehand and address those. Proper diet and exercise to achieve ideal wieght also helps," Dr. Domingo suggests. It allows pregnant women to receive early prenatal care, such as getting enough pregnancy essential nutrients, such as folic acid and iron, through supplementation, which gives you a better chances of a healthy pregnancy. 

    When you're already pregnant, Dr. Domingo cannot emphasize enough the need for full prenatal checkup attendance. "As soon as you miss your menstruation, have that early prenatal check up," she advises. Take all the laboratory tests needed, as per the advice of your doctor and follow his instructions to the letter.

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    Even if you're high risk, you can have the best possible care, so take it one day at a time. You may have more tests done (and may shell out more money for them) and overall, the pregnancy may be more difficult to mange than usual, but it's all for you and your baby's health. 

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