Ask our midwife: about high-risk pregnancies

For the past few weeks we've been looking at midwives, and the types of antenatal care you can expect to receive when pregnant.

 

But what does a high-risk pregnancy mean, and what impact will this have on your maternity care?

Over to Summaya, our in-house Pregnacare midwife:

So, what's a high-risk pregnancy?

Rationales for why women are deemed to be 'high-risk' can vary and can change during the course of the pregnancy.

At booking 'high-risk' risk factors could include anything from:

  • Pre-existing or recently diagnosed medical conditions
  • Being overweight
  • A history of miscarriages or stillbirths
  • Diabetes
  • A mental health history
  • Being in a relationship where domestic violence occurs
  • Sickle cell or thalassemia
  • HIV, Hepatitis B or C, sexually transmitted infections

Although this list is not exhaustive.

Complications can arise and develop in the course of the pregnancy, such as developing pregnancy related illnesses such as pre-eclampsia or obstetric cholestasis which can turn a low risk pregnancy to a high risk one.

It is therefore important that you are open and honest with your midwife and other healthcare professionals enabling us to support you in the best way possible in the course of the pregnancy and the first few weeks postpartum.

What does having a high-risk pregnancy mean for my antenatal care?

At the booking appointment key risk factors will be identified for the pregnancy based on you past and present medical history all of which will be explained to you.

Those who have risk factors identified will be referred to appropriate healthcare professionals required so that you and the baby can get the support you need in the pregnancy.

Having a high-risk pregnancy can also impact the type of delivery that's available to you; it's likely you won't be allowed a home birth or to use a midwife-led centre.

But most importantly, don't panic, as you'll be receiving the best and most appropriate care for you and your baby during pregnancy.

You can also read our midwife advice on healthy diet during pregnancy, the benefits of breastfeeding, and how to qualify to become a midwife.

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