Every pregnancy carries its risks. But good prenatal care and support can help you minimize those risks. Factors like age and overall health status can increase your chances of experiencing complications during pregnancy. Structural problems in the uterus or cervix can heighten the risk of difficulties like miscarriage , an abnormally positioned fetus, and difficult labor. These problems also increase the risk of a cesarean delivery.
Based on recent trends, this burden has been steadily increasing. Smokingtaking illegal drugs, and drinking alcohol also can cause health problems for a pregnant woman and her baby. Uncontrolled thyroid disease, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid can cause problems for the fetus, such as heart failure, poor weight gain, and birth defects. Chromosomal problems A woman over 35 has a higher risk of having Risk during pregnancy child with birth defects due to chromosomal Bad dorm girl. If you use cleaning products, glues, paint or any other household chemicals, follow Risk during pregnancy safety directions on the label. Larger text size Large text size Regular text size.
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- It often requires specialized care from specially trained providers.
- Many women are hesitant to engage in any sort of physical activity while they are pregnant , and rightfully so.
- This page provides some possible factors that could create a high-risk pregnancy situation.
- Taking medications during pregnancy can have risks and benefits.
- Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful.
- Miscarriage is a word used to describe the early loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
This page provides some possible factors that could create a high-risk pregnancy situation. This list is not meant to be all-inclusive, and each pregnancy is different, so the specific risks for one pregnancy may not be risks for another. Women who have any questions about their pregnancy should talk to a healthcare provider. What are some factors that make a pregnancy high risk? Can a high-risk pregnancy be prevented?
How is high-risk pregnancy treated? Share Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email. Existing Health Conditions. Even though high blood pressure can be risky for the mother and fetus, most women with slightly high blood pressure and no other diseases have healthy pregnancies and healthy deliveries because they get their blood pressure under control before pregnancy.
Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS. Women with PCOS have higher rates of pregnancy loss before 20 weeks of pregnancy, diabetes during pregnancy gestational diabetes , preeclampsia, and cesarean section. It is important for women with diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels both before getting pregnant and throughout pregnancy. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant, high blood sugar levels can cause birth defects.
Even women whose diabetes is well under control may have changes in their metabolism during pregnancy that require extra care or treatment to promote a healthy birth. That is another reason for women with diabetes to keep tight control of their blood sugar. Kidney disease. Women with mild kidney disease often have healthy pregnancies.
But kidney disease can cause difficulties getting and staying pregnant as well as problems during pregnancy, including preterm delivery, low birth weight, and preeclampsia. Nearly one-fifth of women who develop preeclampsia early in pregnancy are found to have undiagnosed kidney disease. For example, women with lupus are at increased risk for preterm birth and stillbirth.
Some women may find that their symptoms improve during pregnancy, while others have flare-ups and other challenges. Certain medicines to treat autoimmune diseases may be harmful to the fetus, meaning a woman with an autoimmune disease will need to work closely with a healthcare provider throughout pregnancy. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that makes hormones that help control heart rate and blood pressure. Uncontrolled thyroid disease, such as an overactive or underactive thyroid, can cause problems for the fetus, such as heart failure, poor weight gain, and brain development problems.
Thyroid problems are usually treatable with medicine or surgery. Being obese before pregnancy is associated with a number of risks for poor pregnancy outcomes. NICHD research also found that obesity increases the risk for sleep apnea and disordered sleep breathing during pregnancy. There can also be problems if overweight or obese women gain too much weight during pregnancy. NICHD research has shown that an integrated approach can help obese women to limit their weight gain during pregnancy , leading to better pregnancy outcomes.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that overweight women gain no more than 15—25 pounds during pregnancy and that women with obesity gain no more than 11—20 pounds. HIV can pass to a fetus during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that can reduce and prevent the spread of HIV from mother to fetus or child.
Although scientists and healthcare providers have known about Zika for decades, the link between Zika infection during pregnancy and pregnancy risks and birth defects has only recently come to light. NICHD-supported research has shown that infants born to mothers who were infected with Zika just before and during pregnancy were at higher risk for different problems with the brain and nervous system.
The most noticeable is microcephaly, a condition in which the head is smaller than normal. Young age. Pregnant teens are more likely to develop pregnancy-related high blood pressure and anemia lack of healthy red blood cells and to go through preterm early labor and delivery than women who are older.
Teens are also more likely to not know they have a sexually transmitted infection STI. Some STIs can cause problems with the pregnancy or for the baby. Prenatal care is important because it allows a healthcare provider to evaluate, identify, and treat risks, such as counseling teens not to take certain medications during pregnancy, sometimes before these risks become problems. Most older first-time mothers have normal pregnancies, but research shows that older women are at higher risk for certain problems than younger women, 14 including: Pregnancy-related high blood pressure called gestational hypertension and diabetes called gestational diabetes 15 Pregnancy loss 16 Ectopic pregnancy when the embryo attaches itself outside the uterus , a condition that can be life-threatening 17 Cesarean surgical delivery Delivery complications, such as excessive bleeding Prolonged labor lasting more than 20 hours Labor that does not advance Genetic disorders, such as Down syndrome, in the baby Lifestyle Factors.
Alcohol use. Currently, research shows that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink while pregnant. According to one study supported by NIH, infants can suffer long-term developmental problems even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.
Research shows that smoking marijuana and taking drugs during pregnancy can also harm the fetus and affect infant health. Conditions of Pregnancy. Multiple gestation. Pregnancy with twins, triplets, or more fetuses, called multiple gestation, increases the risk of infants being born prematurely before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Both giving birth after age 30 and taking fertility drugs have been linked with multiple births.
Having three or more infants increases the chance that a woman will need to have the infants delivered by cesarean section. Twins and triplets are more likely to be smaller for their size than single infants. If infants are born prematurely, they are more likely to have difficulty breathing. Gestational diabetes can cause problems for both mother and fetus, including preterm labor and delivery, and high blood pressure.
It also increases the risk that a woman and her baby will develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Many women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies because they work with a healthcare provider to manage their condition. Preeclampsia and eclampsia. The condition can be fatal for both the mother and the fetus or cause long-term health problems. Eclampsia is a more severe form of preeclampsia that includes seizures and possibly coma.
Previous preterm birth. Women who went into labor or who had their baby early before 37 weeks of pregnancy with a previous pregnancy are at higher risk for preterm labor and birth with their current pregnancy. Healthcare providers will want to monitor women at high risk for preterm labor and birth in case treatment is needed.
NICHD research has shown that, among women at high risk for preterm labor and birth because of a previous preterm birth, giving progesterone can help delay birth. Birth defects or genetic conditions in the fetus. In some cases, healthcare providers can detect health problems in the fetus during pregnancy. Depending on the nature of the problems, the pregnancy may be considered high risk because treatments are needed while the fetus is still in the womb or immediately after birth.
For example, if certain forms of spina bifida are detected in the fetus, the problems can be repaired before birth. Certain heart problems that are common among infants with Down syndrome need to be corrected with surgery immediately after birth. Knowing a fetus has Down syndrome before birth can help healthcare providers and parents be prepared to give treatment right away.
FAQs: Preeclampsia and high blood pressure during pregnancy. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS fact sheet. Pregnancy if you have diabetes. Chronic kidney disease in pregnancy. Pregnancy and kidney disease. Kidney disease and maternal and fetal outcomes in pregnancy. Autoimmune diseases fact sheet. Thyroid disease fact sheet. Newborn size among obese women with weight gain outside the Institute of Medicine recommendation.
Institute of Medicine. Weight gain during pregnancy. FAQ Having a baby especially for teens. Teenage pregnancy. Older mothers more likely than younger mothers to deliver by caesarean. Birth Defects Research. The effect of maternal age on chromosomal anomaly rate and spectrum in recurrent miscarriage. Diagnosis and management of ectopic pregnancy. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: Alcohol use in pregnancy.
Persistent dose-dependent changes in brain structure in young adults with low-to-moderate alcohol exposure in utero. Tobacco, drug use in pregnancy can double risk of stillbirth. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy linked to changes in baby's immune system. Don't smoke. Prenatal exposure to marijuana may disrupt fetal brain development, mouse study suggests. Twins, triplets, multiple births. FAQs: Preterm premature labor and birth. The association between short interpregnancy interval and preterm birth in Louisiana: A comparison of methods.
Some STIs can cause problems with the pregnancy or for the baby. Read this next. FAQ Having a baby especially for teens. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information: verify here. Children's Health. It has only been in the last ten years that this area has been thoroughly researched and it has been found that not only is exercise during pregnancy safe but it is beneficial for both the mother and for her baby. Twins, triplets, multiple births.
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Pregnancy Risk Factors: Age, Weight, Preexisting Conditions, and More
Every pregnancy carries its risks. But good prenatal care and support can help you minimize those risks. Factors like age and overall health status can increase your chances of experiencing complications during pregnancy.
Structural problems in the uterus or cervix can heighten the risk of difficulties like miscarriage , an abnormally positioned fetus, and difficult labor. These problems also increase the risk of a cesarean delivery.
Women under the age of 20 have a significantly higher risk of serious medical complications related to pregnancy than those over Teenage mothers are more likely to:. As you age, your chances of conceiving begin to decline. An older woman who becomes pregnant is also less likely to have a problem-free pregnancy. Older women are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes , or cardiovascular disease that can complicate pregnancy.
A woman over 35 has a higher risk of having a child with birth defects due to chromosomal issues. Down syndrome is the most common birth defect related to chromosomes. It causes varying degrees of intellectual disability and physical abnormalities.
Prenatal screening and tests can help determine the likelihood of chromosomal complications. According to the Mayo Clinic , the risk of miscarriage increases for women who are over the age of One study even found that paternal age can have an effect on miscarriage — if the father is over 40 and the mother is over 35, the risk for miscarriage is much greater than if just the woman is over Women over 35 are more likely to have complications commonly associated with pregnancy regardless of age, including:.
Women who are obese are at a higher risk than normal-weight women of having babies with certain birth defects, including:. Obese women are also more likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes during the pregnancy or to have high blood pressure. This can lead to a smaller than expected baby as well as increase the risk for preeclampsia.
Women who weigh less than pounds are more likely to deliver prematurely or give birth to an underweight baby. People with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes may experience complications during pregnancy. Poor control of diabetes can increase the chances of birth defects in the baby and can cause health concerns for the mother.
This is called gestational diabetes. Dietary changes will be recommended. You may have to take insulin to control your blood sugar levels. Women who have gestational diabetes are at much higher risk for developing diabetes after their pregnancy is over. Testing for diabetes once your pregnancy is over is recommended. You should be screened for STIs during your first prenatal visit.
Women who have an STI are very likely to transmit it to their baby. Depending on the infection, a baby born to a woman with an STI is at a higher risk for:. Not only is there a risk that these infections can be passed from mother to child, but they can also cause serious complications during pregnancy. For example, an untreated gonorrhea infection can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth , and low birth weight.
Pregnant women who have HIV can transmit the virus to their child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. Babies born to mothers living with HIV may receive such medication for several weeks after birth.
Some preexisting medical conditions can make you more susceptible to complications during pregnancy. Some examples include:. Pregnant women with chronic high blood pressure are at an increased risk for a low birth weight infant, preterm delivery, kidney damage, and preeclampsia during pregnancy. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can cause irregular periods and your ovaries to not function properly.
Pregnant women with PCOS have a higher risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia. Examples of autoimmune diseases include conditions like multiple sclerosis MS and lupus. Women with an autoimmune disease may be at a risk for premature delivery or stillbirth.
Women with kidney disease have an increased risk of miscarriage. Additionally, they should work with their doctor throughout their pregnancy to monitor their diet and medications. While uterine fibroids can be relatively common, they can cause miscarriage and premature delivery in rare cases. A cesarean delivery may be required when a fibroid is blocking the birth canal. Complications arise in multiple-birth pregnancies because more than one baby is growing in the womb.
Because of the limited amount of space and the additional strain multiple fetuses put on a woman, these babies are more likely to arrive prematurely. Many pregnancy complications, like high blood pressure and diabetes, are more common in multiple pregnancies.
Examples include things like a prior preterm delivery, a prior stillbirth, or prior incidence of genetic or chromosomal problems. While every pregnancy has risks, some factors such as age, weight, and preexisting medical conditions can lead to an increased risk of complications.
If you fall into any of these groups, you should be sure to speak to your doctor about it. That way, you can get the prenatal care and assistance that you need while reducing any risks. Identifying your triggers can take some time and self-reflection. In the meantime, there are things you can try to help calm or quiet your anxiety…. If your take on meditation is that it's boring or too "new age," then read this. One man shares how - and why - he learned to meditate even though he….
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Women under age Teenage mothers are more likely to: deliver prematurely have a baby with low birth weight experience pregnancy-induced hypertension develop preeclampsia Some risk factors connected to young age include the following. An underdeveloped pelvis can lead to difficulties during childbirth. Nutritional deficiencies. Young women are more likely to have poor eating habits. Nutritional deficiency can lead to extra strain on the body that causes more complications for both the mother and child.
High blood pressure. Developing high blood pressure in pregnancy can trigger premature labor. This can lead to premature or underweight babies who require specialized care to survive.
Women over age Common issues include the following: Underlying conditions Older women are more likely to have conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes , or cardiovascular disease that can complicate pregnancy.
Chromosomal problems A woman over 35 has a higher risk of having a child with birth defects due to chromosomal issues. Miscarriage According to the Mayo Clinic , the risk of miscarriage increases for women who are over the age of Other complications Women over 35 are more likely to have complications commonly associated with pregnancy regardless of age, including: an increased risk of developing high blood pressure or gestational diabetes while pregnant being more likely to have a multiple pregnancy twins or triplets higher likelihood of low birth weight needing a cesarean delivery.
Being either overweight or underweight can lead to complications during pregnancy. Obesity Women who are obese are at a higher risk than normal-weight women of having babies with certain birth defects, including: spina bifida heart problems hydrocephaly cleft palate and lip Obese women are also more likely to be diagnosed with gestational diabetes during the pregnancy or to have high blood pressure.
Underweight Women who weigh less than pounds are more likely to deliver prematurely or give birth to an underweight baby. Sexually transmitted infections STIs. Preexisting medical conditions. Some examples include: High blood pressure Pregnant women with chronic high blood pressure are at an increased risk for a low birth weight infant, preterm delivery, kidney damage, and preeclampsia during pregnancy.
Autoimmune disease Examples of autoimmune diseases include conditions like multiple sclerosis MS and lupus. Kidney disease Women with kidney disease have an increased risk of miscarriage. Uterine fibroids While uterine fibroids can be relatively common, they can cause miscarriage and premature delivery in rare cases.
Multiple pregnancies. Multiple-birth pregnancies.