When a pregnancy is considered high risk it is normally due to a health risk or challenge that might be posed to the mother, baby, or both, before, during, or after delivery. Although it can be frightening to receive news that your pregnancy is high risk, majority of these pregnancies end with healthy babies. Being labelled as high risk means that you and your baby will be more closely monitored throughout the duration of the pregnancy. Factors that influence the determination of a pregnancy being high risk include: age of the mother (over 35 or under 17), past pregnancy complications, history of miscarriages, any current underlying health conditions or poor lifestyle factors, as well as giving birth to multiples. Depending on the reason as to why a pregnancy is deemed high risk, doctors may want the mothers to be having frequent ultrasounds to monitor the fetus. As the baby is growing and developing in the uterus, the greatest and safest way to analyze the baby and observe for abnormalities is through ultrasound.
What is the Procedure of a High Risk Ultrasound?
A high risk ultrasound will be very similar to the first and second trimester ultrasounds you may have had already. An experienced ultrasound technician will be the one conducting the ultrasound. The scan will go as following;
- The technician will apply conductive gel to your abdomen, placing an ultrasound probe onto the gel and moving it around the abdomen in order to get a visualization of the baby.
- Depending on why the ultrasound was ordered, the technician could be taking measurements of the baby’s extremities and organs, looking at the position of the umbilical cord and placenta, checking the health of the mother’s internal organs, or any other reason the doctor requested for.
- A typical ultrasound is approximately a half an hour so please plan your time accordingly.
Is there anything I need to Prepare for my Appointment?
Please arrive early to your scheduled appointment in order to allow yourself time to check in with the receptionist. It is mandatory to drink four eight ounce glasses of clear fluid an hour before your scheduled appointment time. A full bladder will allow the technician to have a clear visualization of the baby so it is easier to identify what needs to be analyzed. An ultrasound poses no health risks to you or the baby, and it a safe way to monitor your high risk pregnancy. You are more than welcome to bring someone with you to the appointment. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your ultrasound, please contact your family physician or obstetrician.