Chronic Health Conditions
If you have a chronic health problem such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, you will face some special challenges over the next nine months as your body adjusts to the major remodeling going on internally right now. Remember that your baby's health depends on your well-being, so staying on top of your treatment is essential. It's important to bring your primary health care provider into the pregnancy picture as soon as possible (ideally, when you start planning your pregnancy).
Your doctor may adjust your medication or treatment regimen and in most cases will want to follow your progress closely. You may also be referred to a perinatologist — an ob-gyn who specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Your primary care specialist should remain an integral part of your health care team throughout your pregnancy. Any changes to your treatment should be made in consultation with your doctor, and likewise your perinatologist should be notified of any significant changes your specialist makes in your treatment during your pregnancy. Open communication during this critical time is absolutely essential; if any of your providers aren't willing to be team players, find someone who is.
I'm forty. What are my chances of an uncomplicated pregnancy?
Women over age thirty-five have a higher risk for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, and placental problems in pregnancy. There is also an increased risk of having a baby with a chromosomal disorder. The good news is that proper prenatal care can greatly reduce your risk of these complications.
You will be making more frequent visits to all of your health care providers throughout pregnancy to ensure that your illness remains well-controlled and is not adversely affecting your unborn child. Any conditions that may potentially be transmitted to your child (for example, HIV, herpes) either in the womb or during delivery may require drug therapy and/or potential cesarean section.