General & High Risk Pregnancies

When we think about women’s health, we often think about pregnancy. For the moms-to-be that we work with, a pregnancy is one of the most joyful experiences in her life. And in the majority of cases, each pregnancy follows a routine course. Some women, however, have medical difficulties related to their health or the health of their baby. These situations, known as high-risk pregnancies, only occur in 6 percent to 8 percent of all pregnancies. But when we do, we understand all too well how worrisome the pregnancy can become.

Whether your pregnancy is following a routine course or is presenting with worrying developments, it’s normal to have questions about what to expect. That’s where we come in. When you walk into Somerset Gynecology and Obstetrics office, you can expect our OB/GYN providers to focus solely on your individual health needs in a warm and caring environment. Our team of reproductive experts is here for you - and your family. Schedule an appointment online or call us at (248) 816-9200!

 

FAQs on General and High-Risk Pregnancies:

I’m Not Pregnant Yet, But I Want to Be! What Do I Need to Do?

Before even attempting to conceive, it is ideal for hopeful future parents to take steps to address their fertility and preconception wellness. These can include the following:

  • Schedule An Exam: Prior to trying to conceive, it's worth meeting with a doctor to discuss your personal and family medical history, your current health status, and any medications or supplements you're taking. Doing so can help you evaluate potential pregnancy complications due to preexisting conditions, as well as allow you to check that your medications do not have negative side effects on developing children. Other likely points of conversation will be your diet, weight, exercise routine, and smoking and/or alcohol use.
  • Take Folic Acid: Taking 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid a day for at least one month before you conceive is highly recommended. Doing so can reduce the risk of certain developmental defects in pregnancy.
  • Consider Genetic Testing: Optional genetics tests, known as carrier screenings, can tell parents if they carry the genes for certain genetic disorders. This can help parents-to-be prepare for the potential health needs of their children (or look into IVF to remove the genetic risk from their pregnancy). Screening can look for cystic fibrous, sickle cell disease, Tay-Sachs disease, and other ailments. These tests can examine a sample of blood, saliva, or tissue from inside the cheek. Testing can be done before or during pregnancy.

I’m Pregnant! What Are My Prenatal Care Needs?

Congratulations! Now that you are pregnant, you need regular prenatal care. This includes the following:

  • Routine Exams: Regular exams during pregnancy will give expectant mothers opportunities to check on their physical health, emotional wellness, and their developing child. Typically, we recommend that moms-to-be visit their doctor every four weeks during the first two trimesters of pregnancy. In the third trimester, we recommend weekly or biweekly visits. Should more frequent visits be needed, this will be communicated to you as a patient.
  • Testing: As part of your prenatal exams, particularly during the first trimester, a number of basic wellness tests are recommended. These include blood typing, a complete blood count (to check for anemia), a urinalysis (for UTIs or elevated glucose levels), and screenings for hepatitis and STIs. Some tests will only be done initially, while others may be repeated throughout the entire pregnancy (ex. weight, blood pressure, and urine).
  • Ultrasound(s): Mothers-to-be can expect at least one ultrasound during their pregnancy, between 18 and 20 weeks. (Additional testing will be offered based on a patient's needs.) These tests use high-frequency sound waves to image the developing baby as well as the mother's reproductive organs. They can help monitor normal fetal development and screen for any potential problems.
  • Nutrition: A healthy diet is critical to your baby's growth and development. Pregnant mothers must eat from a variety of food groups, including fruits and vegetables, breads and grains, protein sources and dairy products. Aim to add an extra 300 calories a day (or more, based on your doctor’s recommendations) to your current diet. Expectant mothers should also research the latest statistics on the mercury content in fish, and adjust the amount of fish they eat accordingly. Additional nutritional guidelines can be found here.

Will I Experience Morning Sickness During My Pregnancy?

Potentially. "Morning sickness" is the general term used to describe nausea and vomiting due to the changes in hormones a woman experiences during pregnancy. Despite its name, it can occur at any time during the day. Most women experience morning sickness during their first trimester (with symptoms fading by their 14th week of pregnancy). Once you’ve confirmed that your symptoms are not due to a more serious cause, you can work with your doctor to find ways of lessening their severity.

Are There Any Specialized Services I May Need?

In some cases, a nonstress test is recommended after 26 to 28 weeks of pregnancy to check for problems in a pregnancy. A nonstress test (NST) is also known as fetal heart rate monitoring. This common prenatal test is used to check on a baby's health by measuring heart rate and seeing how it responds to a developing baby's movements. No stress is placed on the fetus during this testing.

What Happens if My Pregnancy Becomes High Risk?

A high-risk pregnancy is one that, without extra care, poses a greater risk to the mother or her fetus than a "standard" pregnancy. It is possible for an entire pregnancy to be high-risk, as well as for a pregnancy to become high-risk partway through the second or third trimester.

High-risk pregnancies generally refer to:

  • Pregnancies resulting in multiple births (i.e. twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Pregnancies with an increased risk of preterm labor
  • Pregnancies in women with diabetes, hypertensive disorders, blood clotting disorders, or autoimmune disorders

Depending on the nature of a high-risk pregnancy, different care plans are prescribed to address a woman's health, conditions, and circumstances. Generally speaking, however, a high-risk pregnancy will typically require more frequent prenatal visits and closer monitoring in general.

What Will Happen During Delivery?

Every pregnancy and delivery is different, depending on every mother and baby’s needs. Throughout her pregnancy, the mother should discuss her delivery preferences with her care team, as well as have a conversation about alternative delivery options should the need for them arise. This will typically involve conversations about vaginal births versus cesarean sections.

My Baby is Here... Where Do I Go With My Questions?

Questions regarding your baby will likely be directed at your pediatrician. Our team, however, is still here to discuss your gynecologic and reproductive health needs. This includes your questions about contraception and breastfeeding. Our team is able to write prescriptions for various methods of birth control, as well as for a breast pump.

We also offer care and referrals for the depressive disorders associated with a mother who has just given birth; these are a natural part of recovery (due to a woman’s changing hormones), and should be reported to your care team promptly.

Somerset Gynecology and Obstetrics is committed to providing every woman with the healthcare she needs as she prepares to start or expand her family. Contact us today to book your next appointment!