So you’ve reached the 12 week mark…phew! If you are like me you would have waited until now to ‘officially’ spread the news! I will never forget how excited I was…I AM PREGNANT! Besides the morning (and evening) sickness…I loved every minute of my pregnancy! I would read every new development from my trusted baby app, most mornings flooding my husband with all this new knowledge. In my opinion I was plain sailing and I couldn’t understand why some women complained about pregnancy.
We made it to 20 weeks…yay half way! But this was also the beginning of my downfall. The dreaded word Pre-eclampsia was never mentioned during my pregnancy, but it’s presence was always the elephant in the room. I had become a high risk without even taking it seriously. Even after being warned I could give birth as early as 34 weeks, I still didn’t think about the risks I was going through or giving birth to a premature baby. The night I gave birth, the ‘condition that should be named’ hit a climax and my body was losing the battle. With a blood pressure reading of 200/120, our daughter was born at 30 weeks at 3:50 in the morning. We survived the night but the journey was far from over.
What is high risk pregnancy?
High risk pregnancy is defined as a condition that threatens the life of the mother and foetus. Besides Pre-eclampsia (1), there are a few other conditions that make it onto the high risk list. Namely, gestational diabetes (diabetes that develops during pregnancy), chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus, stillbirth, Placenta Previa, HELLP syndrome and multiple births just to name a few (2). There are a number of health factors that can promote a high risk pregnancy like obesity, stressful lifestyle, mature age, unhealthy lifestyle choices, and previous pregnancy problems.
Now take a breath, if you have been told you may be high risk that doesn’t necessarily mean you will have problems during your pregnancy. Many women have gone on to have a healthy pregnancy with minimal birth complications. You will need special monitoring and perhaps extra treatment & medication provided by your OBGYN or Midwife. Serious conditions may result in preterm (3) birth where your little one/s will need to spend time in NICU care.
What can I do?
It is vital that all appointments with your OBGYN or Midwife are kept, eat a healthy diet, keep away from alcohol, cigarettes or drugs that are dangerous for the baby. Try and attend an antenatal course, the knowledge and support you will receive is priceless. You may be advised to limit your working hours (depending on your career) or be admitted to the hospital for monitoring. The main thing you can do is relax.