We have heard of thousands of couples complaining about accidental pregnancies but there are countless others who continually face the disappointment of not being able to conceive month after month. The experience can become a physical, emotional and financial ordeal, particularly if the couple is undergoing a taxing fertility treatment.
At the end of the day, even if they are able to conceive, there is a constant phobia that something might go wrong, till the baby actually comes to the world.
Only a couple undergoing this trauma can value such a pregnancy, which rightly gets the name of a precious pregnancy. Any pregnancy which comes following a long wait, carries a major risk factor or has been induced by medical treatment, falls in the category of precious pregnancy. What makes a precious pregnancy different from the normal one is, not only the complications involved, but also the fact that the couple is under huge stress in this one.
Though nothing might go wrong during those difficult nine months, there is a lurking fear for the couple and they are not able to enjoy that special feeling of the impending parenthood. In fact, such a couple tends to go in an overprotective mode as they are constantly concerned about the baby and medical intervention is greater as compared to a normal pregnancy. Most of the times, these fears are baseless, yet certain precautions can be observed to ensure a smooth sail for the mommy carrying a precious baby.
Identifying the Risk Factors
As said before, a pregnancy is deemed as precious if it comes after a long wait and/or is achieved after a fertility treatment. The primary precaution in such a pregnancy is to identify the risk factors:
- Age: If the mother is past 40 years of age, the pregnancy becomes precious as the chances of genetic defects and miscarriage increase in direct proportion to the woman’s age
- General medical complications: Another matter to be taken care of in case of a precious pregnancy is to pay attention to the general health of the mother. For instance, women suffering from conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, genetic disorders, sexually transmitted diseases and kidney disorders become candidates of precious pregnancy
- Gestational complications: When the pregnancy is precious, the woman has to take extra care and monitoring to identify gestational conditions (conditions which are induced during pregnancy) such as gestational hypertension and gestational diabetes. Such conditions can be tackled by timely medical intervention and management.
- Fetal complications: Extra precaution is to be taken with regard to the condition of the fetus in precious pregnancy. Regular tests and ultrasound scans can help the doctors to be prepared for conditions such as multiple births, premature labor, developmental problems or structural complications such as placenta previa (a condition in which the cervix is covered by the placenta).
When the pregnancy is precious, special precautions are needed with regard to the timely identification of the above mentioned issues. This is possible only with the help of certain diagnostic tests.
Precautionary Diagnostic Testing for Precious Pregnancy
Though certain diagnostic tests are recommended for every pregnant woman, they become all the more important in case of precious pregnancies so that complications are identified at the earliest. Besides the routine urine and blood analysis and regular ultrasound scans, certain additional tests may be recommended for specific conditions.
Some tests like chronic villus sampling, amniocentesis and cordocentesis are used to evaluate genetic problems. Similarly, a specialized ultrasound test can be done to measure the cervical length, in order to identify the risk of premature labor. Regular fetal heart monitoring is also recommended for precious pregnancies.
General Pregnancy Precautions
In addition to identifying the risk factors and some extra diagnostic tests, a precious pregnancy requires all general precautions that need to be taken in normal pregnancy.
- A healthy, balanced diet comprising of all important nutrients is a must. Supplements of folic acid, calcium, iron and some other nutrients may be recommended by the doctor
- Certain food items like some kinds of fish are to be avoided as they may have high mercury levels. Salmon, tuna and swordfish are an absolute no-no. Fresh and organic fruits and veggies should be preferred
- A healthy lifestyle is of equal importance in pregnancy, whether it is precious or normal. The woman should take sufficient sleep and rest, and at the same time, staying active and maintaining the right weight is also vital. Meditation and light exercise can be done to do away with stress, but the woman should consult her doctor before doing the same
- It is recommended for a pregnant woman to stay away from smoking and drinking. Caffeine intake also needs to be minimized
- The woman needs to protect herself and the fetus from food preservatives as well as environmental toxins
- No medication should be taken without consulting the gynecologist as some medicines can actually cause harm to the fetus
Mode of Delivery
It is common to see that precious pregnancies are subjected to C-section deliveries, particularly when there are risk factors like preeclampsia (a condition caused by high blood pressure), multiple pregnancies, fetal complications and gestational diabetes. Moreover, when the pregnancy is an assisted one and the woman is past the age of 40 years, the doctor is likely recommend a cesarean delivery.
On the other hand, there are some doctors who believe that a baby conceived using IVF is just like any other baby and vaginal delivery is a safe option. The decision should be taken on the basis of comprehensive condition of the mother, rather than being biased by the fact that the pregnancy is a precious one.
Gaudium IVF is a reputed IVF centre which has dealt with a number of complicated cases and helped numerous couples handle their precious pregnancies successfully. For getting a free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, visit Gaudium IVF.