High-Risk Pregnancy and Prenatal Care

Have you been told that your pregnancy is “high-risk?” Pregnancies with a greater chance of complications are called “high-risk.” This does not mean that there will be problems. The following things that may increase the risk of problems during pregnancy:

  • Very young age or older than 35
  • Overweight or underweight
  • Problems in a previous pregnancy, like preterm birth or having a low-birth weight baby
  • Health conditions you have before you become pregnant, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, and HIV
  • Pregnant with more than one baby

Health problems that develop during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, may also make your pregnancy high-risk. See Pregnancy Complications to learn more.

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, you will need prenatal care more often and sometimes from a specially trained doctor called a maternal-fetal medicine specialist. All this extra care might have you worried about your unborn baby’s health and you may have trouble enjoying your pregnancy. Share your concerns with your doctor, they can explain your risks and the chances of a real problem. Also, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice. For example, if your doctor tells you to take it easy, then ask your partner, family, and friends to help you out in the months ahead. You will feel better knowing that you are doing all you can to care for your unborn baby.