Can I have a planned home birth?

Home birth generally isn't recommended for high-risk pregnancies. It depends on why your pregnancy has been deemed high risk, however. During your prenatal care, your health care provider will review a list of medical conditions during pregnancy and labor that would compromise the safety of a planned home birth.

Your health care provider might caution against a planned home birth if:

  • You have diabetes, high blood pressure, a seizure disorder or any chronic medical condition
  • You use tobacco or illegal drugs
  • You develop a pregnancy complication, such as preeclampsia, preterm labor or significant anemia
  • You're pregnant with multiples
  • Your baby doesn't settle into a position that allows for a headfirst delivery

What can I do to ease my anxiety?

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might feel scared or anxious about your pregnancy. You might be reluctant to think about the future and nervous about prenatal visits — for fear that you'll hear bad news.

Unfortunately, anxiety can affect your health and your baby's health. Consult your health care provider about healthy ways to relax and stay calm. Some studies suggest that certain techniques — such as imagining pleasant objects or experiences or listening to music — can reduce anxiety during pregnancy.

What else do I need to know about high-risk pregnancy?

Consult your health care provider about how to manage any medical conditions you might have during your pregnancy and how your health might affect labor and delivery. Ask your health care provider to discuss specific signs or symptoms to look out for, such as:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Persistent headaches
  • Pain or cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Watery vaginal discharge — in a gush or a trickle
  • Regular or frequent contractions — a tightening sensation in the abdomen
  • Decreased fetal activity
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Changes in vision, including blurred vision

Also, find out which signs or symptoms should prompt you to contact your health care provider and when to seek emergency care.

A high-risk pregnancy might have ups and downs. Do your best to stay positive as you take steps to promote a healthy pregnancy.

Feb. 23, 2012 See more In-depth