What is a “high risk” pregnancy?


Your pregnancy may be called “high risk” if you have a medical  condition that would require careful monitoring during pregnancy. In a “high risk” pregnancy, you receive high quality care focusing on the prevention of possible complications.

  • This  does not mean your baby will have problems.
  • “High risk pregnancy” means close attention for any challenges/problems which benefit from early detection.
  • There are skilled physicians, high-risk pregnancy doctors, who specialize in treating conditions that can put your pregnancy at risk.
  • There are also doctors called perinatologists or maternal-fetal specialists that have additional training in high-risk pregnancies.

Some conditions that may require a high-risk doctor are:

  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexually transmitted illnesses
  • Epilepsy
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis C
  • Lupus
  • Rh blood factor
  • Obesity
  • Age: younger than 17 or older than 35

Other risk factors that determine a high-risk pregnancy.

  • Alcohol or drug consumption
  • Smoking
  • History of miscarriages (more than 3)
  • Previous pregnancy problems such as preterm labor, preeclampsia, or seizures

What kind of special care will I receive?

Your doctor will probably order more ultrasounds to ensure your baby is growing properly.  High-risk patients see the doctor more frequently to closely monitor your health and the health of your baby.  You may also be referred to a specialist to work with your doctor.  Your doctor will order necessary tests.  If you or your baby’s health is at risk, your doctor may recommend delivering the baby early.  Your doctor will be treating you as a whole person, taking into account your physical and emotional needs.

What can I do to be healthy while I’m pregnant?

  • Find a doctor that is skilled in high-risk pregnancies and follow his/her advice.
  • Keep all of your appointments.
  • Take prescribed medicines as directed.
  • Discuss all over-the-counter medicines/vitamins/natural supplements you take with your doctor.
  • Take folic acid daily in the dosage and frequency your doctor recommends.
  • Exercise as your doctor directs.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat healthy: protein, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
  • Do not smoke or use drugs.
  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Try to avoid stress and anxiety.
  • Focus on relaxation and taking good care of you!
  • Talk to your doctor about any health related concerns you have.
  • FYI: Keeping appointments, following directions, talking openly with your doctors and staff and taking good care of yourself (body, mind, and spirit)  is an excellent preparation for becoming an awesome parent.
  • Open communication with your doctor is the best way to detect any complications or symptoms which can affect your health and the health of your baby.