Pregnancy - health risks
If you are trying to get pregnant, you should try to follow healthy habits. You should stick to these behaviors from the time you are trying to get pregnant all the way through your pregnancy. Do not smoke tobacco or use illegal drugs, stop drinking alcohol, and limit caffeine and coffee.
Talk to your health care provider about any medicines you may be taking to see if they can affect your unborn baby. Eat a well-balanced diet and take supplemental vitamins with at least 400 mcg of folic acid (also known as folate or vitamin B9) a day.
Seeing a prenatal provider before trying to get pregnant or early in the pregnancy can help prevent, or detect and control health risks to the mother and unborn baby during pregnancy.
Talk to your provider if you are planning to get pregnant within a year of your or your partner's traveling abroad. This is especially important if traveling to areas where viral or bacterial infections could affect the health of an unborn baby.
Men need to be careful, too. Smoking and alcohol may cause problems with the unborn baby. Smoking, alcohol, and marijuana use have also been shown to lower sperm counts.
You may have a high-risk pregnancy if you:
A. Are age 35 or older
B. Are obese or have diabetes or high blood pressure
C. Drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or use drugs
D. Had an earlier high-risk pregnancy
E. Any of the above
Which pregnancy problems can put your baby at risk?
A. Diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
B. High blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine (preeclampsia)
C. Problems with the uterus, cervix, or placenta
D. Certain blood type mismatches
E. Early labor (preterm labor)
F. All of the above
If you are carrying twins or triplets, you have a high-risk pregnancy.
Your doctor can prevent health problems from blood mismatches.
Which of the following is true about gestational diabetes?
A. It is high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy
B. It often has no symptoms
C. It means you may have a large baby
D. It usually goes away after you give birth
E. All of the above
The only way to cure preeclampsia is by having your baby.
Treatment for preeclampsia includes:
A. Bed rest, lying on your left side most or all of the time
B. Drinking plenty of water
C. Eating less salt
D. Medicines to lower your blood pressure
E. More tests to monitor you and your baby
F. All of the above
You can prevent preeclampsia.
Most babies born at 28 weeks don't survive.
Getting early and good prenatal care reduces the chance of premature birth and other problems.
Gregory KD, Ramos DE, Jauniaux ERM. Preconception and prenatal care. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 6.
Nelson-Piercy C, Mullins EWS, Regan L. Women's health. In: Kumar P, Clark M, eds. Kumar and Clarke's Clinical Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 29.
Ultrasound in pregnancy - illustration
Ultrasound in pregnancy
Tobacco health risks - illustration
Tobacco health risks
Vitamin B9 source - illustration
Vitamin B9 source
- Pre-existing diabetes and pregnancy
- Prenatal care in your first trimester
- Health risks of alcohol use
- Teenage pregnancy
- Prenatal care in your second trimester
- When your baby is stillborn
- Gestational diabetes - self-care
- Preeclampsia - self-care
- What to include in your birth plan
- Steps to take before you get pregnant
Review Date: 8/26/2017
Reviewed By: Peter J. Chen, MD, FACOG, Associate Professor of OBGYN at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.