A Look at High-Risk Pregnancies
When a woman is considering having a child, it is important for her to take good care of herself and make healthy lifestyle choices, including practicing proper nutrition and staying physically active. Taking these precautions can help to prevent complications associated with high-risk pregnancies. A high-risk pregnancy occurs when a woman has one or more illnesses or factors (such as advanced maternal age) that could put her or her developing child at risk for experiencing health-related complications. Certain conditions can also develop during a pregnancy to make it high-risk. A few of these health problems include:
- Gestational diabetes
Like other forms of diabetes, this condition results in high blood sugar levels due to the body’s inability to produce or utilize insulin, the hormone that facilitates glucose uptake into the cells of the body. When this condition is properly managed with the help of a knowledgeable specialist, mothers are usually able to deliver healthy babies. When blood sugar levels are not managed, however, this condition can pose serious health risks to both mother and child.
This syndrome leads to high levels of protein in the urine and abnormal changes in liver enzymes during a woman’s pregnancy. Preeclampsia also causes high blood pressure in expectant mothers. Without proper management, this condition can lead to serious long-term health problems and can even be fatal for the mother and child.
- Preterm labor
Labor that begins before the 37th week of gestation is considered preterm. The baby is not fully developed before this time and may not be able to survive outside his or her mother. While physicians cannot predict which women are at a higher risk for experiencing preterm labor , there are defined factors, such as a shortened cervix, that may increase a woman’s risk.
The staff of West Hills Hospital & Medical Center’s Maternal and Child Health Center is dedicated to providing the highest quality of medical care for expecting mothers and their families. We also offer Childbirth and Baby Care Classes to help you approach the birthing process and new motherhood with confidence. Contact our friendly staff at (818) 676-4000 to find out more about how we can help you to have a peaceful and enjoyable birthing experience.