Don't believe everything you read about high-risk pregnancy. In fact, there are countless myths floating out in cyberspace that can cause you undue worry and stress.
Our board-certified obstetricians weigh in below to dispel some of the most common high-risk pregnancy myths to help you understand what you can really expect during pregnancy. We hope that at the end of this article, you walk away with all the information you need to feel confident in your pregnancy.
What Is Considered High Risk?
A pregnancy is considered high-risk if mom or baby may require extra care during the pregnancy.
High-risk pregnancy factors include:
- Past pregnancy complications, like premature delivery
- Advanced maternal age
- High blood pressure
- Blood disorders or chronic diseases
- Substance abuse, heavy drinking or smoking problems
- Past infertility
As women get older, they more likely to have babies born with chromosomal abnormalities. Almost 1 out of 100 women who get pregnant after age 35 may have this kind of abnormal baby.
Common Myths About High-Risk Pregnancy
If reading the information above made you a little nervous, don’t be! Just be prepared to talk to your doctor about your risk factors and take a look at some of the common myths about high-risk pregnancy outlined below.
MYTH 1: One high-risk pregnancy means all my future pregnancies will also be high-risk.
Certain health conditions may change over time and will no longer be a risk in future pregnancies. Similarly, some fetal complications are not guaranteed to repeat themselves. Obviously, this depends on the type of risk involved, but one high-risk pregnancy does not necessarily mean you will have another.
MYTH 2: Having a high-risk pregnancy means pregnancy will be more difficult.
While high-risk pregnancy may require additional appointments and fetal monitoring, it doesn’t always mean your pregnancy will be more difficult. Your doctor will be able to walk you through the details of your specific risk factors, which may help put your mind at ease.
MYTH 3: High-risk means something is wrong with your baby
High-risk means there is more of a chance of unpredictability in your pregnancy, but it doesn’t mean complications are guaranteed. Many women deemed “high-risk” go on to have problem-free pregnancies and happy, healthy babies.
MYTH 4: If you’re over 35 then your pregnancy will be high-risk.
If you’re 35 and healthy, then your pregnancy has a good chance of also being healthy. Age alone isn’t the only driver of high-risk pregnancy. Typically, high-risk pregnancies are a combination of age and other medical factors. Women over the age of 35 may have more regular appointments and testing, but this is just precautionary unless other medical conditions or complications arise
MYTH 5: You can’t fly if you have a high-risk pregnancy.
In most instances, air travel will not cause any complications with your pregnancy. The biggest concern with travel is that if something goes wrong (or you go into labor) you will not be close to your obstetrician and the team of medical professionals who know you best. Traveling early in your pregnancy is fine, but all pregnant women are advised to limit or avoid travel after 36 weeks, and many airlines will not allow travel after 35 weeks. However, women with certain high-risk conditions should seriously consider avoiding overseas or long travel. Examples of some of these problems are: twins, previous premature delivery, diabetes that is not well controlled, high blood pressure, or bleeding problems.
Get more questions about traveling while pregnant answered here.
MYTH 6: A high risk pregnancy is a sex-less pregnancy.
Unless you have a specific complication or your doctor advised against intercourse, a regular sex-life is encouraged. You may need to switch up your positions to make things more comfortable, and you may notice more ups and downs in your libido, but in general, your love life can go on as usual.
MYTH 7: Any major change in your lifestyle is hazardous with a high-risk pregnancy.
Under the advice of your doctor, lifestyle changes can actually help you and baby! Changing your diet to include more nutritious foods and adding in moderate activity and exercise will help you feel great and kick-start healthy habits for baby, too.
High-Risk Pregnancy Patient Protocol
If your doctor has any concerns about your pregnancy or if you have any high-risk pregnancy factors, you may require additional monitoring, testing and screening during the course of your pregnancy, including:
- Genetic counseling or screening
- More frequent doctor visits and blood tests
- Diabetes management
- Additional ultrasound evaluations
- Regular fetal heart rate monitoring
In the majority of cases, high-risk pregnancy patients go on to have safe deliveries and healthy, happy babies. Your doctor will work closely with you to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident about your pregnancy and delivery.
Find an Obstetrician with High-Risk Pregnancy Experience
Seeing a doctor who specializes in helping high-risk pregnancy patients can put your mind at ease knowing you are in experienced, capable hands. Remember, your doctor has a wealth of information and is ready to help answer your questions.
If you’re interested in learning more about how Moreland OB-GYN can help you, contact us today.
Whether you’ve just decided to start a family or you’re in the early weeks of pregnancy, you likely have a lot of questions. We’re here to help.
Looking for more helpful information?
Download your pregnancy planning kit, now by clicking the image below.
At Moreland OB-GYN, we specialize in women’s health care and prioritizing the needs of our patients. We hope you’ll connect with us to help answer your questions and we hope you’ll turn to our experts as a trusted resource for information.