High-risk obstetrics is the medical care of and treatment for women with high-risk pregnancies. High risk means that the mother or the baby has an increased risk of developing a health issue. The term may be frightening, but it just a term for doctors to ensure that special attention is paid to the progression of the pregnancy and the needs of the mother and baby. Common conditions that can be caused by high-risk factors are preterm labor, preeclampsia, slow growth or low birth weight of the baby, and problems with the placenta.
The most obvious difference is that women with high-risk pregnancies will have more frequent appointments with the obstetrician. The mother’s blood pressure may be checked more regularly and more frequent urine testing will be done to keep an eye on developing preeclampsia and urinary tract infections. More ultrasounds may be required to closely monitor the baby’s growth and development. For older mothers-to-be, or for women who have had genetic problems in previous pregnancies, the doctor may order more genetic screenings. Many doctors prefer that high-risk pregnancies are planned to deliver in a hospital. It is also possible that if the doctor thinks that the health of the mother or baby are at risk that labor may need to be induced early.
Pregnant women should attend all of their doctor visits. They should eat a healthy and balanced diet and only take vitamins, supplements or medications prescribed by the doctor, such as a daily folic acid supplement. If the doctor approves, it is important to take regular exercise. Do not smoke or consume alcohol or drugs. The doctor can provide support on stopping these and other unhealthy habits.
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