Progressive Women's Healthcare

Can a High-Risk Pregnancy Be Prevented?

May 28, 2024
Can a High-Risk Pregnancy Be Prevented?

The two words you’d rather not have associated with your pregnancy are “high risk.” There are many potential roads to a high-risk pregnancy; some are avoidable, while others aren’t. Let’s take a look.

There are more than 3.6 million live births in the United States each year, and you want to join these numbers with the smoothest pregnancy journey possible. So when you hear about high-risk pregnancies, you know you want to avoid this designation. Sometimes it is possible, but often it isn’t.

At Progressive Women’s Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, our skilled and experienced team of providers, which includes certified midwives, helps successfully guide women through pregnancy, from routine to high risk. When it comes to high-risk pregnancy, here’s what we want you to know.

What makes a pregnancy high risk?

When we deem a pregnancy high risk, it’s due to the fact that there are circumstances that lead to a higher-than-average potential for complications for the mother or the unborn child. 

In many cases, this categorization is cautionary and doesn’t mean you will experience problems. While there are more than 3.6 million live births each year in the US, there are some 50,000 severe pregnancy complications

Many different sets of circumstances can lead us to label a pregnancy high risk, such as:

  • Maternal age — under 17 and over 35
  • Body weight on both ends of the scale — being underweight or being obese
  • Having a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease
  • Expecting multiples
  • Known genetic risks, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell disease
  • Lifestyle considerations, namely drug, alcohol, and tobacco use
  • Mental health issues like depression

As you can see, there are some high-risk pregnancy qualifications that you can do nothing about, such as your age, and some that are well within your control, such as drinking and smoking.

Preventing or managing a high-risk pregnancy

As to the question posed in the title about whether you can prevent a high-risk pregnancy, the answer is often no. 

Where you can avoid a high-risk pregnancy is by taking some action in advance of becoming pregnant, such as quitting tobacco, alcohol, and drug use and getting your weight to a healthy level.

If your pregnancy is high risk because of circumstances that are beyond your control to change, there’s still plenty you can do to boost your chances of a successful and smooth pregnancy. For example, if you have a pre-existing health condition such as diabetes, which affects more than 38 million Americans, it’s imperative that you get your blood sugar levels under control.

Even if you start your pregnancy out in great health with normal risk, you can develop pregnancy-related issues like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia that move you to high risk.

Whether you start your pregnancy as high risk or you get there later, our team is with you every step of the way. Through comprehensive prenatal care, we monitor your pregnancy closely and provide you with the tools and expertise you need to safely navigate this exciting journey.

The bottom line is that a high-risk pregnancy doesn’t mean there will be problems — only that your risks for some issues are higher. In many cases, women with high-risk pregnancies encounter no problems and go on to build the families of their dreams.

If you want to learn more about managing a high-risk pregnancy, we invite you to call our office at 404-383-7387 or click here to book an appointment today.