Picture used for representational purpose only
“It was a high-risk pregnancy,” she said. Priyanka discovered at 12 weeks that she had monochorionic twins (sharing the same placenta) and her anxiety of lasting full term increased.
“What helped me was my doctor’s insistence on routine follow-ups, tests and a strict vigil on my diet, rest, exercise, and stress levels. Proteins were a challenge because I am a vegetarian, yet my gynaecologist helped me manage it all,” she said.
For Priyanka and her doctor, the effort paid off when she gave birth to twins before reaching her full-term pregnancy. Expecting mothers, mainly in city areas, are more likely to experience high-risk pregnancy and their numbers have increased in the past five years, said doctors.
High-risk pregnancy earlier comprised 20% of all pregnancies, which has now increased to 40%. This has resulted in more preterm deliveries, where a baby is born before completing the pregnancy period of 37 weeks, experts said. High-risk pregnancies are more commonly seen in first-time mothers, beyond the age of 35, and are characterised by an existing ailment in the mother, including hypertension, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), obesity, an overactive or under-active thyroid, anaemia and diabetes.
Besides, lifestyle factors such as use of alcohol and tobacco and obesity also play a role in increasing the risk, said experts. “High-risk pregnancies threaten both the mother and the child. The mother may develop gestational diabetes that increases her chances of becoming diabetic later in life. More fatal conditions such as pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, marked by sudden increase in blood pressure, can affect kidneys, liver, and brain,” said obstetrician and gynaecologist Madhuri Laha of Columbia Asia Hospital.
Elaborating, Laha said, “The rise of high-risk pregnancies have also resulted in more cases of intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), ”
Senior gynaecologist Vandana Khaneju of Jehangir Hospital said, “We are seeing a higher set of difficult pregnancies, mainly in working women. Typically, these women delay pregnancies . While the advantages are that they are educated and do eat sensibly when advised, the flipside is lack of time, making a pregnancy difficult with lack of exercise and high stress levels.”
“With faulty lifestyle and sedentary jobs comes another huge issue of obesity in pregnancy and it is very common now to manage patients with 90-100 plus kg weights, which puts them at risks of miscarriage, hypertension, diabetes, preterm labour and thrombosis, among other things,” said gynaecologist Nina Mansukhani.