The Women's Health Resource Center
High Risk Pregnancy
Most pregnancies proceed normally, but some require special care. Sometimes these special circumstances are known in advance of pregnancy, such as medical problems. Frequently they are discovered during prenatal testing or during the course of pregnancy. We offer a comprehensive program through our prenatal services for prenatal diagnosis, antepartum testing and all issues surrounding high-risk pregnancy.
Read more about our high-risk pregnancy services
About 10 percent of all pregnancies are high-risk, where the mother, baby or both are considered at higher-than-average risk for complications. These problems could be caused by a health condition the mother had before she was pregnant, during pregnancy or at delivery. Most problems occur with women who have known risks, but not all problems can be predicted. In most cases, complications during pregnancy still result in a healthy baby and mom. But acknowledging the stress couples face and seeking support can make a high-risk pregnancy easier.
Ask you health care provider for detailed information about your condition, the risks and the outcomes. Also focus on milestones in the pregnancy, such as when risks of preterm labor may be reduced, or when couples can get a clearer picture of what they face from tests such as amniocentesis to assess genetic defects.
Circumstances and conditions for which you should seek special care in advance of pregnancy include:
- High blood pressure
- Pregnancy before age 18 or after age 34
- History of miscarriage, stillbirth or pre-term birth
- Family history of genetic disorders
- Exposure to drugs, x-rays or other harmful agents
- Extreme over or underweight
- Positive blood test for any sexually transmitted disease such as HIV
What you can do to help ensure the birth of a health baby:
- Seek pre-pregnancy counseling from your health care provider to identify any risks or problems becoming pregnant. Discuss your medical, reproductive, and family history.
- Seek genetic counseling if there is a history of genetic disorder or if you are over age 34.
- See your health care provider as soon as you become pregnant for regular prenatal care.
- Avoid smoking, alcohol and any type of medication or drug unless prescribed by your physician.
- Avoid chemicals in the workplace and at home.
- Avoid high temperatures, including hot baths, saunas or hot tubs.