As you sit in the doctor’s office for your first prenatal visit, you may be scared and wondering why your doctor keeps using the phrase high-risk for your pregnancy.

The first thing you need to do is to relax and listen to your doctor. They will help you to get through pregnancy and birth with as few problems as possible. Of course, you are probably still confused and scared, so you may have a lot of questions you want to ask. Here is a bit of information to help you understand why you are considered high-risk, and what you can do about it.

What Does High-Risk Really Mean?

It is important you understand that high-risk does not mean something wrong with you or your baby. It does mean that something is going on that increases the risk of another thing happening that could put you or the baby in danger. High-risk means you have to be aware of health issues and concerns going on and take extra, special care of yourself.

What Makes You High-Risk?

Generally, you will be considered high-risk if you are over the age of  35. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. As you age, so do your eggs. The egg that was fertilized may have aged in a way that changed something in its genetic code. A woman over 35 is more likely to have a child with a genetic disorder like Down’s Syndrome or have another condition.

Additionally, your weight, smoking habits, alcohol consumption, and drug use can also put your pregnancy at high-risk. Although the situation would have been best if you had gotten everything under control before becoming pregnant, life doesn’t always work that way. Luckily, these factors are things you can control.

While the process may be difficult, you should talk to your doctor about how you can manage your weight and quit your bad habits for the health of your baby.

Diabetes and high blood pressure will also put you in the high-risk category. If you have either of these conditions, it will be imperative that you work with your doctor to make sure your blood sugar and blood pressure remain as stable as possible. As long as you can keep things stable, everything should be fine.

What Happens During a High-Risk Pregnancy?

Depending on the circumstances, your doctor will probably have you come in for extra visits. You may not need the extra visits in the beginning, or the beginning may be the most crucial time. You may also have additional testing done later on in the pregnancy to see how the baby is doing.

If you feel something is wrong, contact your doctor. It is better to err on the side of caution than to wait until it is too late. Be aware, but do not be paranoid. The most important thing you can do for yourself and your baby is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Eat good, nutritious foods, get plenty of rest, and work with your doctor.

You may also need to be on bed rest for a while, or even for the remainder of the pregnancy. While this may be an inconvenience, follow the doctor’s orders. Besides, this extra rest will come in handy once the baby is born.

Don’t be afraid to contact your doctor for any concerns. At Rappahannock Women’s Health Center we have someone ready and willing to help you at any time, no matter what you are worried about. The more we can ease your worries or help you overcome a situation, the better the situation will be for you and your baby.