If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you may be concerned about what constitutes a high-risk pregnancy. Or perhaps you’re already pregnant, and your doctor has told you that your pregnancy is high-risk. It’s enough to cause considerable worry for any expectant mom.
But what does the term “high-risk pregnancy” mean?
Specific criteria place you in this category, but close monitoring and care from an expert OB/GYN ensures the safest pregnancy and birth.
Dr. Kevin Hooker and the Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care team are fully invested in your health and your baby’s. Throughout your pregnancy, whether high-risk or not, we provide the most advanced obstetric care as you move through each trimester. Here’s what you need to know about high-risk pregnancy after 35.
What makes a pregnancy high-risk?
A diverse set of circumstances can cause a pregnancy to be deemed high-risk or one that poses potential problems for you and your baby — some circumstances you can control, some you can’t.
For example, things you can change to improve your chances of avoiding a high-risk pregnancy are losing weight if extra pounds are a problem, eating a balanced diet of nutrient-dense foods, being physically active, taking prenatal vitamins, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs.
Non-modifiable risk factors include becoming pregnant with multiple babies, having a history of miscarriage, and living with certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma, and autoimmune disorders.
Another is getting pregnant at an advanced age, which in the world of obstetrics means having a baby after age 35.
What makes having a baby after 35 more concerning?
We consider your pregnancy high-risk when you become pregnant after 35 because the risk for many potential conditions that can make for a complicated pregnancy or delivery increase, including:
- Your risk of having multiple babies
- Your risk of developing pregnancy high blood pressure (preeclampsia)
- Your risk of developing gestational diabetes, which leads to higher birth weight babies
- Giving birth prematurely (babies born prematurely can have complex problems)
- Having a baby with a low birth weight
- Your risk of needing a C-section
- Your risk of miscarriage
- Your risk of giving birth to a baby with a chromosomal condition, like Down Syndrome
- Your risk of stillbirth
We don’t list these risks to scare you but rather to keep you well-informed so you can pursue extraordinary prenatal care, which Dr. Hooker provides. We want you to feel empowered as you progress through your pregnancy if you’re over 35.
There are proactive steps you can take to ensure a healthier pregnancy in addition to the self-care practices we outlined earlier.
These include scheduling a preconception appointment at Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care so you can discuss any concerns and risks with Dr. Hooker before you become pregnant, getting the best prenatal care with Dr. Hooker, and getting tested for any chromosomal abnormalities while you’re pregnant.
Tests like amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling aren’t definitive but provide Dr. Hooker with information about chromosomal abnormality risks, while the prenatal cell-free DNA (cfDNA) screening can reveal the likelihood of a chromosomal abnormality through testing the DNA of both mother and baby through the mother’s blood.
With any prenatal testing, Dr. Hooker discusses both the benefits and risks with you.
Other safeguards that Dr. Hooker employs for pregnant women over 35 are ultrasounds to monitor your baby’s development, lab tests to stay on top of — and treat, if necessary — infectious disease or urinary tract infections, and ultrasounds that precisely monitor the length of your cervix.
Another test Dr. Hooker may recommend is cordocentesis, which identifies whether your baby has any genetic disorders, infections, or blood conditions. To do this test, we take a sample of fetal blood from your baby’s umbilical cord.
To ensure a safer pregnancy and birth and lower the risk of complications for you and your unborn baby if you’re over 35, getting closely monitored by Dr. Hooker is a must. He may also need to see you in the office more frequently throughout your pregnancy.
Contact our Haxasu, Arizona, office at 928-683-6767 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hooker, or use our convenient online booking tool.