There’s little in life as exciting as learning you’re pregnant. However, that excitement can feel scary when you learn your pregnancy is considered high risk. For many women with high-risk pregnancies, a healthy delivery is likely, but some women need specialized care to ensure both mom and baby remain healthy from conception to delivery and beyond.
What Is a High-Risk Pregnancy?
High-risk pregnancies are common and occur for many reasons. A pregnancy is considered high risk when a woman has one or more risk factors that increase the chance of preterm labor or health problems for mother or baby during or after pregnancy.
Risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy include:
- Maternal age (younger than age 17 or older than age 35)
- Expecting multiples (twins, triplets, etc.)
- Overweight (a body mass index of 25 or higher) or underweight (a body mass index below 18.5) prior to becoming pregnant
- Pregnancy-related health problems, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia
- Pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Previous pregnancy that involved premature labor or delivering a child with a birth defect or genetic issue
- Smoking, drinking, or taking drugs during pregnancy
Healthy Pregnancy, Safe Delivery
The first thing you should do if considering pregnancy is to visit your OB-GYN. This allows you to optimize your health before pregnancy, regardless of your age or other risk factors.
For optimal pre-pregnancy health, work with your provider to get any existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, under control. Reach a healthy weight. Give up tobacco, if you smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption. Basically, do whatever it takes to be as healthy as possible before getting pregnant so you can minimize your risk of pregnancy complications.
Once you become pregnant, don’t give up on your healthy lifestyle choices but do start prenatal care as early as possible. These appointments provide an opportunity to monitor your baby’s development with ultrasound and other evaluations. They also help your doctor advise you on issues such as diet and exercise and find potential health issues early on. If you or your baby develop any health problems, follow your doctor’s orders to minimize their impact.
Help Managing a High-Risk Pregnancy
Diabetes, high blood pressure, and other issues can complicate every aspect of pregnancy and birth. Therefore, it’s vital to get care from expert providers who deal with high-risk pregnancies on a regular basis.
At Henry Mayo, a group of OB-GYNs with special training are ready and willing to help manage any twists and turns you encounter on your pregnancy journey. From pre-pregnancy care to the birth experience, our team recognizes potential problems and knows how to treat them.
NICU Care for Baby
Once you’ve welcomed your new one, our care doesn’t end. We continue to monitor you and your baby as you recover. If an infant is born prematurely, has known or unknown medical issues that need monitoring, or has a difficult transition at birth, then the staff in our Kim and Steven Ullman Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is readily available to provide care.
Inside the NICU, a team of neonatologists, respiratory therapists, specialty trained nurses, and others work to give the youngest, most fragile patients the care they need to thrive. Whether antibiotics, breathing assistance, or feeding help is needed, the NICU team has the expertise and technology to make it happen.
On rare occasions an infant may require a higher level of care. In these cases, our NICU team will facilitate a transfer of the baby to a hospital with a Level 4 neonatal intensive care unit.
It can be very hard to predict which infants will and who won’t need help. Our NICU allows parents to access vital specialty care locally, so they don’t have to leave the greater Santa Clarita Valley while their infants are getting stronger and healthier.
Are you expecting? We can help, even when the unexpected happens. Learn more about our state-of-the-art Kim and Steven Ullman NICU.