As the only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in northern Miami-Dade County, North Shore Medical Center, provides answers to questions about high-risk pregnancy to talk about with your healthcare provider. If you’ve been told your pregnancy is high risk, first, take a deep breath. While “high risk” may sound scary, there is no reason to panic; many high-risk pregnancies go just as planned. But having all the information will go a long way toward helping you feel more in control, and help you minimize risks however you can. A good way to start is by asking your doctor some important questions.
Why Am I a High-Risk Pregnancy?
Ask what factors caused your doctor to designate your pregnancy as high risk, and if you should consider seeing any specialists. For example, if you have diabetes, your doctor may want an endocrinologist on board. You may also consider finding an OB who specializes in high-risk pregnancy.
Do I Need Additional Testing?
There may be additional testing and treatment to help your pregnancy go as smoothly as possible. You may have more sonograms than a lower-risk pregnancy. You may need to go in more frequently for blood work or your doctor may suggest genetic testing. Knowing your doctor’s plan of action can help set your expectations.
Do I Need to Watch for Certain Signs and Symptoms?
Ask your doctor which signs and symptoms indicate a need for immediate medical attention and which ones can wait. For example, signs of problems include any bleeding or fluid leaking from your vagina, blurred vision, a sudden or severe swelling in your hands, fingers or face, or if you suspect that your baby is moving less than normal.
How Do I Handle Anxiety?
Though being told your pregnancy is high risk can make you feel anxious, talk with your healthcare provider about what you can do to manage your anxiety, as this stress can affect the health of both you and your baby. If your doctor OKs it, you may consider taking a prenatal yoga class to help reduce your stress level – and to meet other moms-to-be!
If you already know that you will be considered a high-risk pregnancy due to factors such as age or medical conditions, you might want to get a jump-start by scheduling a preconception appointment with your doctor. He or she may want you to start taking prenatal vitamins, adjust treatment for any existing problems, or work on achieving a healthy weight.
If you’ve already been told your pregnancy is high risk, write down your questions or print this out and ask your doctor. Having the information that you need will go a long way toward easing your mind. And know that you’ve got this. When choosing where to have your baby, remember that some babies may need specialized, 24/7 care. At North Shore Medical Center, you can be confident that your baby will have access to higher levels of care, should those services be necessary. Not every hospital has a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The Level III NICU at North Shore Medical Center helps those babies who need extra care until they are ready to go home. Babies born at less than 35 weeks gestation – as well as critically ill newborns of any gestational age and birth weight – are cared for in the NICU.
To find a physician affiliated with North Shore Medical Center’s high-risk maternity program, please call 877-874-5933.