Conditions Of Pregnance
- Multiple gestation. Pregnancy with twins, triplets, or more fetuses, called multiple gestation, increases the risk of infants being born prematurely (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Both giving birth after age 30 and taking fertility drugs have been linked with multiple births. Having three or more infants increases the chance that a woman will need to have the infants delivered by cesarean section. Twins and triplets are more likely to be smaller for their size than single infants. If infants are born prematurely, they are more likely to have difficulty breathing.
- Gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman who didn’t have diabetes before develops diabetes when she is pregnant. Gestational diabetes can cause problems for both mother and fetus, including preterm labor and delivery, and high blood pressure. It also increases the risk that a woman and her baby will develop type 2 diabetes later in life. Many women with gestational diabetes have healthy pregnancies because they work with a healthcare provider to manage their condition.
- Preeclampsia and eclampsia. Preeclampsia is a sudden increase in a pregnant woman’s blood pressure after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can affect the mother’s kidneys, liver, and brain. The condition can be fatal for both the mother and the fetus or cause long-term health problems. Eclampsia is a more severe form of preeclampsia that includes seizures and possibly coma.
- Previous preterm birth. Women who went into labor or who had their baby early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy) with a previous pregnancy are at higher risk for preterm labor and birth with their current pregnancy. Healthcare providers will want to monitor women at high risk for preterm labor and birth in case treatment is needed. NICHD research has shown that, among women at high risk for preterm labor and birth because of a previous preterm birth, giving progesterone can help delay birth.In addition, women who become pregnant within 12 months after their latest delivery may be at increased risk for preterm birth. Women who have recently given birth may want to talk with a healthcare provider about contraception to help delay the next pregnancy.
- Birth defects or genetic conditions in the fetus. In some cases, healthcare providers can detect health problems in the fetus during pregnancy. Depending on the nature of the problems, the pregnancy may be considered high risk because treatments are needed while the fetus is still in the womb or immediately after birth. For example, if certain forms of spina bifida are detected in the fetus, the problems can be repaired before birth. Certain heart problems that are common among infants with Down syndrome need to be corrected with surgery immediately after birth. Knowing a fetus has Down syndrome before birth can help healthcare providers and parents be prepared to give treatment right away.