What are the factors that put a pregnancy at risk?

By: Dr.Scott Pendergraft

Pregnancy is a very rejoice moment for parents. Couple who are planning to get pregnant should know everything about the pregnancy and the related health risks. Sometimes due to medical and personal reasons pregnancy can lead to complications that can be dangerous for mother and baby. Doctors advise that proper planning before pregnancy can ensure no later complications arise.
All the factors that can put a pregnancy at risk can be categorized into:
Lifestyle factors
Existing Health Conditions
Conditions of Pregnancy
Age of the women plays a vital role in deciding healthy pregnancy. Teenage pregnancy is very dangerous and teens are known to develop high blood pressure and anemia. Early labor is also common in pregnant teens. Among other problems for pregnant teens is inappropriate prenatal care and health that evaluate risks and ensures health.
Late year pregnancies are also problematic. Women who get pregnant after 35 are at increased risk of:
Prolonged labor
A cesarean delivery
Delivery complications
Labor that does not advance
Genetic disorder in infant
Lifestyle Factors
Alcohol consumption is found to be major reason of pregnancy related complications in women. Alcohol can pass to the fetus umbilical cord. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention women who drink during pregnancy are at increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Birth defects and FASD or fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can also result from drinking during pregnancy.
Smoking is another major lifestyle factor posing risk to fetus. Problems like preterm birth, SIDS or sudden infant death syndrome and birth defects can arise due to smoking.
Existing Health Conditions
Among all the complications the health conditions of a mother affects the pregnancy the most. Major health conditions that should be managed for a healthy pregnancy include:
High blood pressure
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Kidney disease
Autoimmune disease
Thyroid disease
These conditions are risky for the mother and the fetus. High blood pressure is major reason for kidney failure among pregnant women. PCOS can make it difficult to get and stay pregnant. While diabetic women can have a healthy pregnancy but unmanaged diabetes can cause birth defects. Autoimmune diseases uncontrolled thyroid disease can also result into health defects in baby like poor birth weight, birth defects and heart failure.
Conditions of Pregnancy
Multiple gestation or pregnancy with twin or triplets increases the risk of premature birth. Pregnancy pills and age of the mother are known to be associated with multiple gestation. Gestational diabetes or diabetes during pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm labor, high blood pressure and preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is also a dangerous condition in pregnant women that when left untreated can be fatal. This condition results in sudden spike in blood pressure after 20th week of pregnancy.
Pregnant women should always keep these health risks under check. Any minor health issue can offset major pregnancy complication.

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Dr. James S. Pendergraft opened the Orlando Women's Center in March 1996 to provide a full range of health care for women. www.womenscenter.com/

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