Women often are not aware about the status of their health or associated risk factors before pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies are often a result of women engaged in less healthy behaviors. It is important to be aware of the difference between high-risk and low-risk pregnancy so women are able take better care of baby and themselves.
What is High-risk Pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy threatens the health of the mother & her baby. It often requires specialized care. Some pregnancies become high-risk as the pregnancy progresses and others are high-risk from start.
Differentiating Between High-risk and Low-risk Pregnancies
A high-risk pregnancy often has the following risk factors or indicators:
Old maternal age
High maternal weight
Pre-existing diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or blood disorder
Smoking, alcohol and drug abuse
Trimester Wise Care of the Mother
In the first trimester, a mother should get her dating scan, take folic acid and multi-vitamins, get regular antenatal checkups done. She should get vaccinated against Rubella. In the second trimester, mother should observe her baby movements because they are a positive sign of the baby’s health. In the third trimester, she should carry out an anomaly scan. All this time, if she has complaints of pain, bleeding, intractable vomiting and urinary problems, she should urgently visit the hospital.
Physical Activity During Pregnancy
Most women stop working out and become couch potatoes. Moderate-intensity workout is recommended in healthy pregnant women for e.g. brisk walking. It keeps the organs healthy. Physical activity also keeps the mood stable throughout the pregnancy. It is important to take a doctor’s advice at the first ante-natal checkup and formulate an exercise plan.
Nutritional Care During Pregnancy
About 300 extra calories are needed per day for a healthy pregnancy. Mother’s should have a balanced diet of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, with sweets and fats kept to a minimum. A healthy diet during pregnancy minimizes some pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and constipation.
Ante-natal care is preventive in nature. Mother should go to the doctor for regular checkups as advised.
Current Situation in Pakistan
The situation in Pakistan is bleak because of lack of knowledge about high-risk status of the pregnancy. Women regret this after their miscarriages and abortions. Unfortunately, pregnancy is often not diagnosed until the 28th week when most of baby’s growth is taking place. This growth requires folic acid and is a crucial stage which can lead to folic acid deficiency.
During pregnancy, women in Pakistan also often stop working out at all which leads to malfunctioning of the organs and severe mood changes. It is because of this that incidence of post-partum depression is rising in the country. Women take pregnancy as an excuse to eat just anything-everything in Pakistan which makes them over weight causing health problems.
Complications Arising Through Pregnancy
Many different complications can arise through pregnancy some of which are listed below:
Low birth weight
Pre-mature labor and birth
Ante-partum and post-partum hemorrhage
Precautions to Take
Following precautions can be taken to lower the risk of any complications during pregnancy: