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High-risk Pregnancies Doubled to 40 percent of all Pregnancies in Past 5 Years: Doctors

High-risk pregnancies threaten both the mother and the child and are more challenging to manage.

Expecting mothers in the urban areas are more likely to experience high-risk pregnancy for which the numbers have soared in the past 5 years, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospital say.

High-risk pregnancy comprised 20 per cent of all pregnancies earlier which has now increased to 40 per cent. This has resulted in more preterm deliveries, where a baby is born before completing the gestation period of 37 weeks, according to the gynecologists.

“High-risk pregnancies are a big challenge because they threaten both the mother and the child. While the mother may develop gestational diabetes that increases her chances of becoming diabetic later in the life or more fatal conditions such as preeclampsia and eclampsia marked by sudden increase in blood pressure that can affect her kidneys, liver, and brain. The rise of high-risk pregnancies have also resulted in the more cases of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) babies who are likely to born with low birth weight, low immunity, low blood sugar, and low oxygen level as well as more red blood cells and a decreased blood flow due to that,” said Dr Ritu Sethi, Principal consultant,Columbia Asia hospital,Palam Vihar , Gurgaon

High-risk pregnancies are commonly witnessed in first-time mothers beyond the age of 35 and are characterized by an existing ailment in the mother including hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obesity, an overactive or underactive thyroid, anemia, diabetes,and sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS or Syphilis. Besides, lifestyle factors such as use of alcohol and tobacco also play a role in increasing the risk of a pregnancy. 

“Since most of the first-time mothers are over 35 years of age and may have undergone fertility treatments, they often carry twins or triplets.Besides, not many opt for pre-conception counselling sessions with the gynecologist to identify if there is any pre-existing condition that can complicate the pregnancy. PCOS, one of the most common lifestyle disorders today, can be found in many of the expecting mothers. They need continuous antenatal checkups throughout their pregnancy,” said  Dr Ritu Sethi, Principal consultant,Columbia Asia hospital,Palam Vihar , Gurgaon.

Some other factors that may increase the complications in a pregnancy include inadequate nutrition of the mother, pre-partum and post-partum bleeding, severe infection or sepsis, history of one or more miscarriage, obstructed labor or complications in a previous pregnancy. Continuous medical support through medication for targeted treatment of the disease, lifestyle modification, ultrasound to check the health of the fetus. Doctors advocate for pre-conception counselling sessions which may help to identify risk factors and are treated. Women who want to become mothers should stayhealthy before and during pregnancy to reduce the risk of a difficult pregnancy.

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