What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is a term used to describe many conditions that can develop and affect a mother or her baby before, during, or after pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies do not necessarily mean that your pregnancy will be more challenging or difficult than a low-risk one. It does mean, however, that you will need to consult a physician who specializes in high-risk obstetrics, like our very own Dr. Ott.
What conditions lead to high-risk pregnancies?
While not all of these conditions will result in a high-risk pregnancy, the most common ones include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Pre-eclampsia, a condition that is unique to pregnancy where you experience high blood pressure in conjunction with protein in your urine and edema (swelling of the skin)
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as herpes or syphilis
- Obesity, which increases your risk of diabetes, hypertension, and pre-eclampsia
- Pregnancies with twins or higher-order multiples, which have a higher risk of fetal anomalies and growth problems, especially if they share a placenta
High-risk considerations also include women who are of advanced maternal age (35 years or older).
Will all of my future pregnancies be high-risk?
No, you may experience fetal complications with one pregnancy that you won’t with another. Certain health conditions can also change over time. However, if you had a pregnancy that ended in preterm delivery, you are at greater risk of having preterm labor during your next pregnancy.
How often should I see a doctor during a high-risk pregnancy?
During a typical pregnancy, expectant mothers should see their OB/GYN about once a month until the third trimester. Once in the third trimester, she should transition to two visits per month until the 36-week mark. At 36 weeks, the visits should move to once a week until the time of birth.
With high-risk pregnancies, the mother and baby need to be closely monitored and additional visits will likely be recommended. Ultrasounds will be done several times and an amniocentesis may be performed around the 15-week mark. Amniocentesis also allows for genetic testing to be completed, if desired.
Request an appointment in the San Fernando Valley
If you are pregnant and wish to consult with a high-risk obstetrician in West Hills, California, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gary Ott. Dr. Ott specializes in high-risk obstetrics and he will help guide you every step of the way. If your pregnancy is at a high-risk, he will create a birthing plan to ensure the health of you and your baby. To schedule an appointment at Premier Women’s Health Associates, give us a call at (818) 346-5000 or request an appointment online. We proudly serve Calabasas, West Lake, Thousand Oaks and the surrounding areas.