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With careful management of the risk factors, it’s possible to minimise complications and have a healthy baby, says Dr Gertrud Koster, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Director at Koster Clinic, in an interview with GN Focus.

What is a high-risk pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be more difficult than a low-risk one. It does mean that you have to be aware that your chances of developing complications are higher and that you will need to consult your obstetrician more often and undergo more monitoring than low-risk pregnancies. The majority of all pregnancies are low-risk with only about 8-10 per cent deemed high-risk. Existing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, renal disease, being overweight or obese, and multiple pregnancy (twins or higher) lead to an increased risk of complications. Developing any of these conditions during gestation can also turn a low-risk pregnancy into a higher-risk one.

How do you manage a high-risk pregnancy?

We at Koster Clinic work very hard to minimise complications and help you achieve the healthiest pregnancy possible. The conditions mentioned earlier can lead to a high-risk pregnancy, but not all women with these conditions will have complications and many of them will end up delivering healthy babies. It is important to speak with your healthcare professional at an early stage of pregnancy and give them a full history so that they have a complete picture and can advise you accordingly.

Having one high-risk pregnancy doesn’t mean that all future pregnancies will be high-risk as well. You may have a foetal complication occur in one pregnancy that wouldn’t in another, and certain health conditions may change over time. However, if you have had a premature birth in your previous pregnancy, you are at much higher risk of having a premature birth in the following pregnancies. Therefore you must seek advice from your OB/GYN as you might require medication to give you the best chance to have a full-term baby. Listen to your body and always seek medical advice.

If you have had a premature birth in your previous pregnancy, you are at much higher risk of having a premature birth in the following pregnancies.

- Dr Gertrud Koster, Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Medical Director at Koster Clinic

Tell us about the pregnancy services available at your clinic.

As experienced OB/GYN practitioners, we recognise that every woman is unique and every pregnancy is different and therefore our care during that pregnancy needs to be personalised.

We have two obstetricians with vast experience in caring for normal and high-risk pregnancies and the most advanced diagnostic devices available. We have three family medicine specialists with an interest in women’s health and a dietician advising appropriate diet prior to and during pregnancy who also has a special interest in gestational diabetes. Because high-risk pregnancies can be stressful for the parents, we also have an acupuncturist and a physiotherapist to help with de-stressing.

We have high-resolution ultrasound machines that will help detect any anomalies during foetal development as well as determine placental localisation. The latter is important for diagnosing serious conditions called placenta previa or placenta accreta. In addition we conduct non-invasive prenatal testing, or NIPT, where maternal blood from 10 weeks of gestation is collected to look for any foetal chromosomal abnormalities. We also collaborate with a unique, hand-picked network of exceptional specialists including endocrinologists, haematologists, surgeons and cardiologists whom we refer our patients to.

For more details call 04 388 1887 or visit Kosterclinic.com