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At What Age am I Considered a High-Risk Pregnancy?

When it comes to your attitude about life, age is just a number, right? You’re as young as you feel, and you’re not getting older, you’re getting better. Well, even though these sayings apply to your outlook, they don’t necessarily apply to your pregnancy, where being over 35 puts you in the high-risk category.

Why are pregnancies in women over 35 considered high-risk? Certainly not because all 35-plus women have complicated pregnancies. In fact, the most older women have perfectly healthy pregnancies. But because the risk of complications increases slightly in women after their 35th birthday, doctors label them high-risk as a way to safeguard them and their babies.

Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health in San Antonio, Texas, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD provides the highest-quality pregnancy care to all women. But he’s even more careful with any woman whose pregnancy is considered high-risk, including women over age 35.

If you’re over 35, Dr. Al-Hakeem would like to share some information with you about the steps we take to give you the extra care you may need.

Risks to older women

Most women over 35 have no problems during their pregnancy. But some do. For example, older age is associated with an increased risk of the following complications:

If you’re considered high-risk, we provide extra special care so that we can catch any problems early.  

Additional precautions

If you’re having a high-risk pregnancy because of age or other factors, Dr. Al-Hakeem may recommend you take some precautions that a younger woman may not require. 

For example, he may suggest that you have extra prenatal testing, such as specialized fetal ultrasound, additional blood testing, cell-free fetal DNA screening, chorionic villus sampling, or amniocentesis. These tests can provide important information about your pregnancy and your baby’s health.

Dr. Al-Hakeem also works with you to carefully manage any pre-existing health conditions you may have, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, epilepsy, or blood disorders. Keeping chronic health conditions under control can help protect you and your baby.

As an older woman, you should also make sure to call our office immediately if you experience any unexpected symptoms, such as bleeding, headaches, pain, cramping, vision changes, mood changes, dizziness, or any other unusual occurrences.

Taking care of yourself

All women should practice good self-care while they’re pregnant. But it’s even more important if you’re over 35. You can take care of yourself by doing the following:

Have a preconception check-up

If you’re not yet pregnant, we recommend that you have a preconception appointment before you start having unprotected sex, especially if you’re over 35 or have pre-existing health conditions. During this appointment, Dr. Al-Hakeem makes sure you’re as healthy as possible before you get pregnant, which helps lower your chances of complications during pregnancy.

If you’re already pregnant, schedule your first prenatal care appointment as soon as possible.

To visit us at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or make an appointment using our online tool.

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