When you’re pregnant, there’s always a risk of complications for you and your unborn baby. When things go as planned, it’s wonderful. But when they don’t, it can be scary.
Women in the San Antonio, Texas, area trust OB/GYN practitioner Christopher Serrano, MD at Serrano Ob/Gyn Associates, with their high-risk pregnancies. He provides exceptional care from conception to birth, and he does everything he can to help expectant mothers stay well and give birth to healthy babies. If needed, he consults with a perinatologist, a doctor who specializes in treating unborn babies who are at high risk of complications.
What is a high-risk pregnancy?
A pregnancy is considered high-risk, requiring extra care and monitoring, when there’s a greater chance of complications. It doesn’t mean something will happen; it just means certain factors that pose more risk are present. Even pregnancies that start with the average level of risk can become high-risk if complications develop.
A high-risk pregnancy occurs for many reasons. For example, maybe you had a problem during a previous pregnancy — such as preeclampsia (high blood pressure) — or your baby was born prematurely. You could be carrying twins or higher multiples, which means you have a chance of going into labor early.
Having a chronic disease also can increase your potential for problems during pregnancy. Talk to Dr. Serrano about your concerns so he can help you determine the risks. Examples of conditions that could pose issues with your pregnancy include:
- Advanced maternal age — mothers over 35 have a higher risk
- A history of miscarriages
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Thyroid disease
- HIV or AIDS
- Sickle cell anemia or other blood disorders
- Kidney disease or diabetes
Lifestyle habits could also put you in the high-risk category. These include smoking, using illegal drugs, or excess alcohol consumption.
Conditions that may arise during pregnancy
Even if you start your pregnancy healthy, you could develop a health condition that needs extra monitoring. Examples include:
- Preeclampsia, a syndrome that includes high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in your urine
- Gestational diabetes, which affects how your body processes sugars
- Premature labor (before 37 weeks gestation)
- Placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta covers your cervix; a Cesarean section delivery may be needed
- Problems with fetal development
High-risk prenatal care and considerations
At each visit, Dr. Serrano examines you and your unborn baby for any signs of trouble. You also get bloodwork done and have ultrasounds each time so he can monitor the baby’s growth. He may order specialized tests, including:
- Amniocentesis: taking a sample of amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby to test for genetic conditions and brain or spinal cord problems
- Cordocentesis: taking a blood sample from the umbilical cord and checking for blood disorders and infections
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): removing cells from the placenta and testing for genetic conditions
Dr. Serrano may recommend that you see a perinatologist, also called a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. In certain circumstances, your care team may put you on bed rest.
It’s important to be aware that high-risk births must be done in the hospital to make sure you and your baby are safe. That means no home births or birthing centers.
We know having a high-risk pregnancy can be stressful and emotionally draining. It can also cause worry, anxiety, or depression. That’s why we encourage our patients to reach out to friends and loved ones for support and to talk to other women who’ve been through similar circumstances.
When to call us
If you’re pregnant and you notice any changes in your baby’s movement, or if you develop painful cramps, vaginal bleeding, or start having contractions, get to the hospital as soon as possible. Otherwise, call us with your concerns and we can get you scheduled for an appointment right away.
If you’re pregnant or think you may be, schedule a visit today. We handle high-risk pregnancies and provide excellent OB/GYN care to all patients in the San Antonio area. Contact us at 210-545-7700, or request an appointment online.