Pregnancies at risk can be caused by a variety of factors such as stress, unhealthy lifestyles or previous illnesses.
Unfortunately, pregnancies do not always go as you would like. There are women who sometimes have to contend with a risky pregnancy, which entails higher than normal risks for the foetus or the future mother. But what are the causes, the symptoms and how should we behave when the gynaecologist provides his diagnosis?
There may be several causes for a risky pregnancy. The most common are stress, the type of work done, the living conditions, the state of health with which the pregnancy comes, the age. And even the symptoms can vary a lot: just as a pregnancy is never the same as another, the risks and manifestations can also change a lot from the future mother to the future mother. So let’s make it clearer.
The most common causes of a risky pregnancy
The causes of a risky pregnancy can be as diverse as the causes. First of all, they can depend on previous health conditions such as hypertension (although many women are able to carry out the pregnancy without any problems even with high blood pressure, in some cases this causes damage to the maternal kidneys and increases the risk of having an underweight child) or diabetes, because too high blood sugar levels can cause birth defects.
Other causes of a risky pregnancy are kidney disorders – which is why pregnant women who suffer from them must undergo frequent medical check-ups, and follow a special diet and therapy – autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis or lupus, thyroid diseases, birth defects, obesity or, on the contrary, a severe underweight. Among the diseases that can develop during pregnancy, particular attention should be paid to preeclampsia (the increase in blood pressure after the 20th week), which can damage the kidneys, brain and liver of the mother and give the fetus chronic health problems, if not treated, but also to infections such as toxoplasmosis, rubella or cytomegalovirus.
Beyond the pathologies, then, the lifestyle also influences the type of pregnancy that the future mother will have: alcohol, for example, reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord and increases the risk of miscarriages, birth defects and fetal-alcohol syndromes; smoking instead increases the probability of preterm birth and the risk that the child develops birth defects or is affected by SIDS (the syndrome of sudden death of the infant).
Finally, particular risk factors are considered the twin pregnancies, which could result in premature birth, and the age of the future mother: under 17, this is more likely to develop anemia and hypertension, while a first pregnancy after 35 years (although most often ends without problems) increases the possibility of complications during childbirth, prolonged labor, need for a caesarean and to have newborns with congenital diseases such as Down’s syndrome.
Symptoms and treatments of a risky pregnancy
The symptoms of a risky pregnancy essentially depend on the type of problem that affects the future mother. For example, it is a good idea to undergo constant blood glucose checks in order to be aware of any gestational diabetes, which will then be treated with an ad hoc diet and, in the most serious cases, with the administration of insulin.
To be aware of a possible preeclampsia, instead, it is necessary to check blood pressure (which must not exceed 140/90 mmHg), the levels of proteins in the urine and the presence of diffuse edema, especially in the lower limbs. Symptoms that may make you suspect are: severe headaches, visual problems, pain in the upper right corner of the abdomen, reduced urine production, shortness of breath and sudden swelling. How is preeclampsia treated? Resolving in childbirth, doctors use supportive therapies for the mother accompanying the fetus to maturity, so that it is born.
Finally, it is necessary to pay attention to the symptoms of a threat of abortion, which may consist of abdominal or back pain sometimes associated with blood loss: if you have localized pain in the kidneys or lower abdomen, or you notice severe blood loss, you should therefore go immediately to the emergency room. At that point the doctor will determine whether there is an ongoing abortion or “only” a threat, which will be reduced with a period of rest in bed, with abstention from sexual relations and drug therapy in general in the form of eggs of progesterone.