High-Risk Pregnancy: How Ultrasounds Play a Crucial Role

Pregnancy can be both a stressful and exciting time. You likely have worries, hopes, and fears for this experience. And if a medical provider has said that you have a high-risk pregnancy, you may wonder what to expect in the coming weeks and months. 

Continue reading to learn more about high-risk pregnancies and how ultrasounds are crucial. While we do not offer high-risk pregnancy care, Life Light Pregnancy Help Center is here if you need emotional support or further resources. We also provide free limited first trimester ultrasound referrals which may assist you in obtaining further prenatal care.

What is a High-Risk Pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy means that you and your baby have an increased risk of health issues during pregnancy and childbirth. You could also develop complications after delivery.

High-risk pregnancies can occur from preexisting conditions, or a condition can appear during the pregnancy. Certain factors can increase the chances of having one, including:

  • Pregnancy with multiples (you are carrying more than one baby)
  • Pregnancy history (i.e., you’ve had past conditions like preeclampsia)
  • Pregnancy complications (i.e., the placenta is in an abnormal location)
  • Risky behavior (i.e., smoking cigarettes or using illegal drugs)
  • Maternal health problems (i.e., obesity, diabetes)
  • Advanced maternal age (you are older than age 35)

Learning you have a high-risk pregnancy can create a lot of stress, but this doesn’t mean you will definitely experience complications. Understanding your next steps is essential. This means following your medical provider’s instructions and caring for yourself during pregnancy. 

The Importance of Ultrasounds

Your medical provider will want you to undergo more monitoring and tests during a high-risk pregnancy. One such monitoring technique is ultrasound, a tool used to diagnose conditions and monitor internal bodily structures. 

Gel will be applied to the body part being examined, and a transducer, or wand-like device, will be pressed against the body. Sound waves emitted from the transducer produce an image on a screen. 

Most ultrasounds are noninvasive, but a transvaginal ultrasound is invasive. This type involves a transducer being gently inserted into the vagina.

Ultrasounds During a High-Risk Pregnancy

Most women have already undergone ultrasounds before learning their pregnancy is high-risk. An ultrasound may have even diagnosed the abnormality or condition. 

They are critical during any pregnancy as they monitor the baby’s development. The scan confirms your pregnancy’s viability (whether it is progressing normally), gestational age (how far along you are), and location.  

For a high-risk pregnancy,your doctor may ask you to schedule additional ultrasound appointments, especially as you approach the baby’s birth. Obstetric ultrasounds monitor the fetal heart rate and identify the location of the placenta, among other things. They can detect whether a preexisting condition is affecting the baby and if emergency treatment is needed.

Some providers, including maternal-fetal medicine specialists, will use ultrasound to monitor details like cervical length to determine whether you could have preterm labor. 

These details can create many questions, so ultrasound is a valuable tool for helping you know as much as possible. Being proactive and asking your provider questions will likely put your mind at ease. 

Here to Offer Support

Life Light Pregnancy Help Center knows that pregnancy can be a time of uncertainty. Our center offers pregnancy and parenting classes to help ease your fears and material resources to aid in supporting you during and after your pregnancy.

We’re here if you need a safe, confidential place to talk. Schedule a free appointment today.

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