If you are pregnant and have been termed “high risk”, your OBGYN may recommend extra and earlier screening tests. Depending on the type of risk, you may also be asked to modify your diet and/or activity level. In some cases of high risk pregnancy, total bed rest is recommended. There are a variety of different types of high risk pregnancies including Gestational Diabetes, Preeclampsia and Incompetent Cervix.
Gestational Diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop in some women late in pregnancy (usually after the twenty-fourth week) and may be harmful to the baby, but is otherwise undetectable and without symptoms. Between twenty-six and twenty-eight weeks of pregnancy, all patients are asked to take a screening for Gestational Diabetes.The Gestational Diabetes screening test involves checking your blood glucose (sugar) level exactly one hour after drinking a measured amount of glucose. Most pregnant women pass this screening test, and, if so, no further testing for diabetes is needed. Patients who do not pass this screening will need to take a second, more extensive test. If you test positively for Gestational Diabetes, your OBGYN will recommend a special diet and will closely monitor you throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.
Preeclampsia or “toxemia” is a condition in pregnant women marked by high blood pressure accompanied with a high level of protein in the urine. Women with preeclampsia will often experience swelling in the feet, legs and hands. When present, preeclampsia usually appears during the second half of pregnancy. If preeclampsia is left untreated, it can lead to eclampsia and can cause seizures, coma and even the death of the mother and the baby. Preeclampsia requires careful monitoring of both the mother and the baby. Treatment may require activity restriction, bed rest, hospitalization or medication.
Incompetent Cervix is a condition in pregnant women where the cervix becomes weakened and begins to open before the baby is ready to be born. If it is not treated properly, an Incompetent Cervix may lead to a miscarriage or premature delivery. Treatment involves a procedure called a Cerclage where the cervix is sewn closed, usually between weeks fourteen and sixteen, to prevent premature labor. The sutures are removed between weeks thirty-six and thirty-eight to prevent any problems when you go into labor.
If your pregnancy has been termed “high risk” for any of these reasons or more, it is vitally important for you to follow all of your OBGYN’s instructions. This will give you the best possible chance of having a healthy pregnancy and carrying your unborn child to term.