Millions of women sail through their pregnancies without issue and give birth to healthy babies each year in the United States — there were 3.6 million live births in 2021 alone.
It might surprise you to know that some of these pregnancies were considered high-risk.
Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley understand how frightening it can be to have us label your pregnancy as high-risk, but it just means we’re going to keep a little closer eye on you and your unborn baby.
Below, we discuss 5 factors that place you in the high-risk pregnancy category, with the caveat that risk doesn’t necessarily equal reality — high-risk complications only occur in 6% to 8% of pregnancies.
1. Preexisting health conditions
One of the biggest drivers of high-risk pregnancies are women who head into their pregnancies with a preexisting health condition. For example, one of our concerns is high blood pressure, which affects nearly half of adults in the US.
Another big concern is diabetes, which is found in more than 11% of the population.
As well, obesity is also known to potentially create pregnancy complications. In 2018, more than 18% of women entered their pregnancies with preexisting obesity.
Any health condition — and there are more than the three we outlined above — that can potentially impact the health of the mother or the unborn child places you into a high-risk pregnancy category.
If you’re younger than 17 or you’re having your first child after the age of 35, we might place you into a high-risk category out of caution.
3. Previous pregnancy issues
If you experienced complications during a previous pregnancy or your delivery was challenging, it makes sense that we’re going to keep a closer eye on you and your baby during the next pregnancy.
If you’re carrying twins, triplets, or more, we’re going to deem your pregnancy as high risk just as a matter of course.
5. Lifestyle factors
If you have issues with a substance use disorder or you’re a smoker (or vaper), we’re going to want to monitor your pregnancy more closely.
As you can see, there are numerous conditions that can place you into a higher-risk category during your pregnancy. Much of what we discussed above are those conditions that we know about ahead of time. There are times when your pregnancy can start out as normal risk, but move over into high risk if complications develop, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
If you’d like more information about high-risk pregnancies or you need to come in for prenatal care, we invite you to contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule a consultation.