More than 3.6 million babies are born in the United States every year. Although the majority of women experience routine pregnancies and births, between 6-8% of those pregnancies are high-risk.
A high-risk pregnancy means that you or your baby have certain health issues that increase your risk of complications during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Some pregnancies are identified as high-risk from the start, while others may become high-risk closer to delivery.
Finding out that your pregnancy is high-risk can be scary, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a positive experience and a healthy baby. A. Michael Coppa, MD, and our obstetrics team specialize in comprehensive prenatal care.
We partner with you to manage your health before, during, and after pregnancy. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, here’s what you can do to protect your health and your baby’s health too.
Identify and manage preexisting health conditions
Your health before you get pregnant affects your health during pregnancy. Certain chronic or preexisting conditions can increase the likelihood that you’ll have a high-risk pregnancy, but actively managing those conditions can lower your risk.
Talk to Dr. Coppa and our team if you have:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
While these conditions may make your pregnancy high-risk, we can work with you to control symptoms and reduce your risk of complications. Treatments may include pregnancy-safe medication, lifestyle changes, and other methods to make your pregnancy safer.
Get regular prenatal care
Prenatal care is essential for every pregnant woman, whether the pregnancy is considered high-risk or not. But a high-risk pregnancy means you might need extra appointments or additional testing throughout your pregnancy.
We perform routine tests, check your vital signs, and monitor your baby’s growth at each appointment. With a high-risk pregnancy, you may benefit from more frequent ultrasounds or specialized testing, including genetic testing.
We continuously monitor your health, because certain issues can develop during pregnancy that turns a low-risk pregnancy into a high-risk one.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, and it can affect women who didn’t have diabetes before getting pregnant. Preeclampsia is another possible pregnancy complication that develops when your blood pressure gets too high.
Regular prenatal appointments allow us to track your health and identify any changes, should they arise. If your condition changes, we adjust your care plan to ensure you and your baby remain as healthy as possible.
Learn the signs of pregnancy complication
Listen to your body, particularly when you’re pregnant. Learn to recognize potential warning signs so you can get the care you need, whether your pregnancy is high-risk or not.
Contact us right away if you notice such changes as:
- Abdominal cramping
- Contractions before 37 weeks
- Decline in fetal activity
- Severe headaches
- Vaginal bleeding
If you have severe abdominal cramping or heavy vaginal bleeding, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
High-risk pregnancy creates unique challenges for moms-to-be, but managing your health is possible with the right care. Contact us to schedule your first prenatal appointment. Our offices are located in Cranston, Smithfield, and Providence, Rhode Island.