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Preparing for a High-Risk Pregnancy After a Low Risk Pregnancy

Few people expect to have a high-risk pregnancy unless they’re aware of pre-existing health complications or reasons they’d be high-risk. Even fewer expect to have a high-risk pregnancy after already experiencing a low-risk pregnancy, meaning one that had no health complications to you or your baby/babies, deliver was after 37 weeks and uncomplicated for both you and your baby/babies. Yet, at Ruvelle, we see time and time again, high-risk pregnancies following low-risk pregnancies and catching our community members by surprise.

Why you may have a high-risk pregnancy after a low-risk pregnancy

  • You will be over the age of 35 during your next pregnancy, an age deemed by ACOG to increase risk factors pregnancy or fetal health complications.
  • You developed a new chronic illness, such as hypertension, diabetes or autoimmune disease, or you were diagnosed with cancer between your pregnancies.
  • You experienced recurrent miscarriages before your next pregnancy.

This is not a comprehensive list, but is intended to give you an idea of some common reasons why you may be considered high-risk after a history of low-risk pregnancies. 

Keep in mind that secondary infertility is not necessarily a risk factor for a high-risk pregnancy. It is possible to need fertility treatments after a previous low-risk pregnancy and delivery and not be categorized as high-risk. This is particularly surprising to our IVF patients in our community who expect that they will have to see a high-risk OB in their pregnancy and then are not referred to one. 

How to prepare for a high-risk pregnancy after a low-risk pregnancy

Preparation begins before you’re ready to try to conceive.

We highly recommend scheduling a preconception appointment with a maternal fetal medicine specialist to discuss your specific pregnancy risk factors prior to conception. 

The goal from this conversation is to:

  1. Clarify why exactly you are going to be considered high-risk next time
  2. Understand what specific health factors contribute to your pregnancy risk
  3. Specify how your medical treatment plan will be affected by these risk factors including how your MFM will be involved (or not involved) in your prenatal care.
  4. Make a clear game plan on types and frequency of monitoring throughout your pregnancy, as well as a contingency plan with your MFM.

We offer exact questions to ask based on your history and concerns, lists of tests to request, as well as a class on how to put together your most effective question workflow so your concerns are not dismissed, in our private members’ club.

Audit your wellness factors

You also want to identify what wellness factors contribute to your future high-risk pregnancy. Sleep, diet, movement, blood-pressure, stress-induced health complications all affect reproductive health and future pregnancies. Parijat’s book, Pregnancy Brain, reviews the most common pregnancy complications that are affected by stress physiology, and our Pregnancy Brain Course is designed to help you navigate stress and high-risk pregnancy with actionable guidance for 6 months.

Specifically, we suggest:

  • Improving sleep quality so you are getting restorative sleep nearly every night.
  • Committing to a flexible whole foods diet that supports your specific health
  • Understand how stress physiology can affect your future high-risk pregnancy
  • Completing threat cycles that are contributing to your hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, inflammation, insomnia, and other stress-induced health concerns.
  • Taking preventative precautions to avoid SARS-CoV-2 infections as infections 

Build your supportive team

We highly suggest (re)building your team with providers and practitioners that center you, your health, and your values for your next pregnancy. People on your team should be

  • Medical providers who target the specific health concerns you have preconception as well as the specific pregnancy complications you are at risk for when you are pregnant. 
  • Alternative care providers who are trauma-sensitive and supporting your health before, during, and after your high-risk pregnancy.
  • An antepartum and birth doula
  • Somatic trauma professionals who specialize in high-risk pregnancies

A specific list of recommendations can be found in our private members’ club library.

Preparation is crucial

High-risk pregnancies do not mean something will go wrong. Still, preparation is a critical part of high-risk pregnancy management to reduce the risk of medical errors as well as health complications. Start early and do your due diligence.

It is possible to experience your high-risk pregnancy with joy and have healthful outcomes for you and your baby. That is what we’re dedicated to guiding you through in our private members’ club. 

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