Generally, pregnancies follow their natural process and a healthy baby is born. However, sometimes there are factors that can cause risks to the mother and unborn baby. Doctors refer to this as ‘high-risk pregnancy.’ Are you at risk? Here’s what you need to know.
Sexually-transmitted diseases are a risk factor. Marie Stopes South Africa’s clinics perform HIV and STD testing. Please get tested before you become pregnant.
- Chronic medical conditions existing before pregnancy
Medical conditions such as diabetes; autoimmune diseases; lung, kidney and heart problems; sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs); genetic disorders and a family history of miscarriages have the potential to present risks to both the mother and unborn baby.
If you are planning to fall pregnant, it’s important that you discuss any conditions you may have, with your doctor.
- Medical conditions that can cause complications during pregnancy
This is a form of diabetes that can occur during pregnancy. As with other types of diabetes, it affects how the body handles glucose (sugar) which results in high blood sugar levels; this can affect the mother and baby’s health.
However, there are preemptive methods that can help control gestational diabetes. By making certain lifestyle changes such as following a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
This is a syndrome that usually presents during the later stages of pregnancy. The primary indicator is high blood pressure in women who’ve had it before; high levels of protein in urine also point to the condition. Symptoms include swelling in legs, feet and hands. If this condition is not diagnosed, it can lead to eclampsia which is very dangerous.
Labour that begins before your 37th week of pregnancy is termed premature labour. Unfortunately, there is no way to know for certain if a woman will go into preterm labour but certain infections or a shortened cervix can put you at higher risk.
A small percentage of babies have structural development issues which can cause unanticipated problems.
This is a condition where the placenta covers the cervix. It can cause bleeding when a woman is having contractions. A cesarean section (also known as a C-section) may be required if the placenta is still covering the cervix when the woman is close to delivery.
Treatment and prevention of high-risk pregnancy conditions
- Getting at least 400mcg (micrograms) of folic acid daily beginning before and continuing during pregnancy
- Getting the necessary immunisations
- Eating a nutrient-rich diet and maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting regular physical activity
- Don’t smoke cigarettes, avoid alcohol, and drugs.
- Only use medications approved by your doctor.
How Marie Stopes South Africa can help you
Marie Stopes is the global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health services.
MSSA offers a pregnancy care service which includes tests to determine if you’re pregnant and the gestation period. Find your nearest centre on our website and get in touch via our easy online booking form to schedule your pregnancy scan.
In South Africa, we operate 17 conveniently-located centres across 7 provinces and are a Section 21 non-profit organisation recognised for the quality of our clinical services and our non-judgemental, client-friendly approach.