If you’re dealing with a high-risk pregnancy, working closely with a high-risk pregnancy doctor in San Antonio is crucial to monitoring your and your baby’s health and helping achieve positive outcomes.
Compassionate High-Risk Pregnancy Care in San Antonio
At The Nest, Baptist Health System women’s program, we want the best high-risk pregnancy care possible for moms and their babies. Our team of compassionate doctors, nurses and staff are here to provide the support and care you need to prevent complications, helping you stay on top of your health throughout your pregnancy. Some of the things we offer are:
- Tests and screenings that help confirm and monitor a high-risk pregnancy
- A personalized care program to cater to you and your baby’s needs, including maternal fetal medicine
- Support for pregnancy-related anxiety
Classes, events and resources that can educate and encourage women to take care of both their own and baby’s health during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum
What Can Be Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?
A high-risk pregnancy is defined as a pregnancy that may threaten the life of the mother, the fetus/baby or both. This type of pregnancy requires specialized care from experts. Some pregnancies may begin as normal and become high-risk as they continue, while others are at an increased risk for complications early on because of the mother’s pre-existing conditions, health and lifestyle.
Causes of a High-Risk Pregnancy
A pregnancy may be considered high risk if the mother is/has any of the following:
- 17 years old or younger
- 35 years old or older
- An autoimmune disease (i.e., lupus or multiple sclerosis)
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Multiple births
- Obese or overweight
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Taken infertility treatment
- Thyroid disease
If you are prone to have a high-risk pregnancy, please speak with one of our OB/GYN doctors in San Antonio to discuss possible tests and a care plan.
High-Risk Pregnancy Tests and Options
If it is determined you may have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may recommend various types of tests to monitor your baby’s health, such as:
- A specialized or targeted ultrasound – helps doctors identify potential fetal abnormalities or concerns in specific parts of a baby’s body.
- Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) – can help identify genetic conditions and may be performed in place of an amniocentesis. A sample of cells called chorionic villi is taken from the placenta to check the baby’s chromosomes. This test is usually performed between 10 and 12 weeks.
- Amniocentesis – is usually performed between 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. It may identify chromosome abnormalities such as Down syndrome or Trisomy 21, genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and/or brain or spinal cord abnormalities such as spina bifida.
- Cordocentesis – tests a fetal blood sample from the umbilical cord. The test can identify chromosomal conditions, blood disorders and infections and is typically performed after week 18.
- Cervical length measurement – can help your doctor identify if you’re at risk for preterm labor. The test is performed via ultrasound between 18 to 20 weeks.
- Biophysical profile (BPP) – combines fetal ultrasound with fetal heart rate monitoring to help doctors evaluate fetal breathing, heart rate, amniotic fluid, muscle tone and movement. A BPP can be done as early as 24 weeks up to 32 weeks.
Signs and Symptoms of Complications in a High-Risk Pregnancy
A high-risk pregnancy is more likely to experience pregnancy complications. Some of these complications need immediate medical attention, while others can wait. Please go to the hospital immediately, or call 9-1-1 if you experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Fluid leaking from the vagina
- Breathing difficulties
- Severe headache with blurred vision
If you are experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with a high-risk pregnancy doctor in San Antonio as soon as possible:
- Abdominal pain
- Baby is moving less than normal
- Feeling sick
- Swelling of your hands, face and/or legs
Helpful Things to Ask Your Doctor
Before your doctor’s appointment, it’s a good idea to prepare a list of questions that may help you understand what you need to expect during your pregnancy. This can also educate you on how you can cooperate with your doctor to help achieve better outcomes. Some of your questions may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Why am I considered high risk?
Ask what factors caused your doctor to designate your pregnancy as high risk and if you should consider seeing any specialists. For example, is it your age, your medical history or your lifestyle? This may also lead your doctor to explain some of the things you can do to help prevent complications.
- What Is the plan of care for my pregnancy?
At Baptist Health System’s The Nest, we provide specialized high-risk pregnancy care tailored to each of our patients’ specific needs. Your doctor may recommend specific test and treatment options to help your pregnancy go as smoothly as possible. For example, you may have more sonograms than a lower-risk pregnancy; you may need to go in more frequently for blood work or your doctor may suggest genetic testing or other tests. Knowing your doctor’s plan of action can help set your expectations.
- How can I handle anxiety?
It is normal to worry or experience anxiety during pregnancy. Ask your doctor for advice and support for your mental health, as stress can negatively affect your and your baby’s health.
- Does this mean that all my pregnancies will be considered high-risk?
A complication in one pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have the same complication in another pregnancy, and your health condition may change over time as well. However, pregnancies that deliver preterm have a more significant chance for future preterm deliveries, which would be a high-risk pregnancy.
Terms You May Encounter in a High-Risk Pregnancy
When your OB/GYN in San Antonio tells you that you have a high-risk pregnancy, you’ll hear about several conditions with scientific names that may be hard to understand. Knowing what these terms mean may help reduce stress and make informed decisions.
- Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia is a combination of high blood pressure and the presence of protein in the urine. Some women don’t experience symptoms, but some have swelling, weight gain, changes in vision or headaches. Eclampsia is a more severe form that may include seizures when preeclampsia goes untreated.
- Placenta Previa
About 1 in 200 pregnancies experience placenta previa, which happens when the placenta partly or completely covers the cervix (the opening of the uterus). Doctors typically discover the condition during an ultrasound or if there is bleeding in the second or third trimester. Having a C-section typically prevents any complications.
- Placental Abruption
Placental abruption occurs when the placenta partially or completely detaches from the wall of the uterus prior to labor, and outcomes may range from mild to severe. Staying on top of your prenatal appointments is the best way to stay informed and to receive the care you need.
- Gestational Diabetes
Women with no history of diabetes may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. It’s important to follow your doctor’s diet and treatment plan to keep from causing complications. If uncontrolled, the patient may have an increased risk of early delivery, high blood pressure and preeclampsia. The amount of amniotic fluid, restricted fetal growth and placenta issues may also increase the risk of pregnancy.
- Multiple Gestation
Carrying more than one baby is called multiple gestation or multiple pregnancies. Sixty percent of all twins and close to 90% of all triplets are born before 37 weeks. Twin pregnancies are twice as likely to develop preeclampsia, and half of triplet pregnancies develop preeclampsia. Placental abruption is three times more likely in multiples.
- Cesarean Section (C-Section)
High-risk pregnancies may call for a cesarean section delivery, which is delivering the baby or babies through surgery rather than through a natural or vaginal birth. Approximately one in three women in the U.S. give birth by C-section.
Why Choose The Nest for High-Risk Pregnancy Care?
The Nest at Baptist Health System is proud to be a leading provider of high-risk pregnancy care in San Antonio and its surrounding cities. We are committed to helping build healthy families in our community by providing compassionate and high-quality care to women and their babies.
In fact, aside from our high-risk pregnancy services, we also offer the following:
- Mommy-to-be tours
- Childbirth education classes
- Concierge navigator program
- Family-centered care and resources
- Newborn and birth portraits and videos
- Midwifery services
If your due date is near, some of our labor and delivery facilities include the following:
- Operating rooms
- Private labor and delivery suites
- Private postpartum suites
- Level IV neonatal intensive care units (NICU)
- Guest accommodation for your support person