How to Manage High Risk Pregnancies

On one of your visits to your obstetrician, you may be told your have a high risk pregnancy.  You may get this information on your first prenatal visit if you have a chronic disease such as lupus. Or you may get this information later in your pregnancy if you develop gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. It doesn’t matter when you get the new, it will be upsetting. 

Once you’ve had time to recover from the news, you should start thinking about what you can do to reduce the risk in your pregnancy. Think in terms of turning your high-risk pregnancy into a lower risk pregnancy. 

Risks You Can’t Control 

If you are over 35 or under 17, your obstetrician may tell you this places you in the high risk pregnancy arena. Obviously, there’s not much you can do about this.  

If you have an autoimmune disease such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, colitis, or asthma, you can’t make this go away. Your obstetrician, however, will need to monitor your medications carefully during your pregnancy and check carefully that your drug regimen does not contain medications that should be avoided during pregnancy. Some antiseizure medications are considered to be best avoided during pregnancy. However, sometimes you and your obstetrician will have to decide that avoiding seizures during your pregnancy is a higher priority than avoiding the drug which works well for you. 

Risks You Have Some Control Over 

If you are diabetes or any other chronic disease, you should go into your pregnancy with your diabetes under control. This may be difficult for you, but it can be done with careful planning.  

If you have high blood pressure, try to get that under control before becoming pregnant. Many pregnant women can develop trouble with high blood pressure once pregnant. Again, your obstetrician has an opportunity to help you control your blood pressure with antihypertensive medications such as Aldomet if your blood pressure becomes a problem while you are pregnant. High blood pressure is a precursor to preeclampsia.  

Smoking increases pregnancy risk. This is something you have control over. Even if you smoke before becoming pregnant, you should definitely stop while you are pregnant. It may not be easy, but stopping smoking will decrease the risk to you pregnancy and your baby. 

It goes without saying that drug addiction and alcohol abuse pose a risk to pregnancy. Again, you have a principal role to play in preventing these risk factors. 

Something as simple as working to have a healthier diet can reduce your pregnancy risk. Eating more fruits and vegetables and avoiding bottled drinks with no food value may be a place to start. Watch out for caffeine in soft drinks. While some resources recommend no caffeine during pregnancy, others recommended no more than 200 mg a day. In anyy case, diet is one element of risk you can control yourself. 

Understand Your Risks 

One of the best things you can do for yourself is learn all you can about your condition. When it comes to high-risk pregnancies, it is best if work closely with your obstetrician to understand your condition, what causes it, and what are the possible complications you may encounter.  



Dr. Alan Lindemann

Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OB/GYN)​

He is an obstetrician and maternal mortality expert with 4 decades of medical practice beginning in Minnesota and presently in North Dakota. He has delivered around 6,000 babies with zero maternal deaths.

Why should you support Rural Doc Alan?

Dr. Lindemann delivered 6000 babies for over 40 years with no maternal mortalities, no eclampsia, and no babies with cerebral palsy. He tells his story here of how he did this in a medical environment that really doesn’t do well with deliveries. He openly admits that much he learned about safe pregnancy came from his patients, not medical books. Donating here will help spread the word to women everywhere so they can learn about safe pregnancy.