Dr. Dennie Rogers, maternal fetal medicine specialist at Mercyhealth, loves it when women seek a pre-conception consultation. “That way we can optimize the pregnancy and decrease the risk factors,” she says.
It’s best for hopeful mothers to begin management of chronic conditions, such as severe anemia, diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease, before getting pregnant. Rogers helps patients navigate these and other chronic conditions before and during pregnancy.
Sometimes, perfectly healthy mothers can experience high-risk pregnancies.
“It can be things ranging from multiple births to the baby developing some type of abnormality, like a cleft lip or palate,” Rogers explains. “Maybe the baby is developing with an abnormal genetic blueprint.”
Mothers with high-risk pregnancies can expect adjustments in medication, more ultrasounds, more specialists involved in prenatal care, more in-depth instructions for delivery, and, depending on the severity of the situation, lifestyle modifications.
It can be scary to hear the words “high-risk” but there’s no reason to fear the worst, says Rogers. With proper care, the great majority of high-risk pregnancies end in happy outcomes.
“I try to work with families to have reasonable expectations, but at the same time I never take away hope,” she says. “No matter how much we know in the medical profession, we don’t know everything. There’s always hope.” ❚