Finding out if you have a high risk pregnancy is important. Having a high risk pregnancy means you have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy.

  1. IVF Pregnancies: Women who become pregnant with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) have several increased risks including preterm births, small birthweight babies, twins, hypertension, and diabetes.
  2. History of Miscarriages or Premature Labor: If a woman has a history of recurrent miscarriages, this could increase the chance of having another miscarriage. The same is true for a history of premature labor and deliveries.  Premature labor and delivery is the #1 reason of neonatal injury or death. There are also long lists of health problems that can occur with a premature baby. Premature labor can sometimes be stopped, but the high risk status will remain for all subsequent pregnancies.
  3. History of Low Birth Weight: If a previous pregnancy ended in a low birth weight baby, this pregnancy will be considered high risk. The mother may be coached on how to eat better for baby.
  4. Age: The older the pregnant woman is, the more apt she will be to be termed high risk. As the eggs and the uterus age, there is a higher chance of pregnancy related problems.
  5. Multiple Pregnancy: If a woman is pregnant with more than one baby at a time, that is an instant qualifier for a high risk pregnancy. The obstetrician will need to watch the progression of two or more fetuses along with taking care of the mom.
  6. Heart Disease: Patients with heart disease will immediately be placed in the high risk category. With the increase in blood flow and the pressure the pregnancy places on the heart, there could be complications if the pregnancy is not treated with great care.
  7. High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is considered a notification of a high risk pregnancy because of the effect on the body and the fetus. When a woman is pregnant, the blood pressure elevates a bit due to the increase in blood volume. When high blood pressure is an existing condition, the obstetrician will need to evaluate the medications as needed.
  8. Kidney Problems: The kidneys are responsible for processing the fluid in the body and the excretion of that fluid. During pregnancy, swelling is common, but if the kidney function is impaired, severe fluid retention and preeclampsia are more likely.
  9. Autoimmune Diseases: Autoimmune diseases affect the immune system. Some will also affect the health of the fetus in utero thus the high risk status. The obstetrician will need to work hand in hand with the primary care physician in order to establish a care plan that will work for both mom and baby.
  10. Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Many sexually transmitted diseases can pass to baby either through fetal blood or during a vaginal birth. HIV, for instance, can pass to baby through the exchange of blood from mom to baby. Genital herpes, on the other hand, can flair up and infect baby if a vaginal birth is allowed.
  11. Diabetes: The major effect of diabetes during pregnancy is on the mother rather than the baby. While birth weight may be higher than normal or lower than normal, it is mom that needs to ensure her blood glucose levels stay within normal range for the entire pregnancy. Levels that are out of normal range can lead to health problems for mom including an increased risk of blindness and other diabetes related problems.
  12. Cancer: The effect of cancer on the body and cancer medications can be difficult to regulate while pregnant. The obstetrician will need to work with the oncologist to establish a care plan during pregnancy.