High-risk Pregnancy: Know What to Expect






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Many women who become pregnant have what is called a high risk pregnancy. A pregnancy is considered high risk if there is an increased risk of a health problem for either mother or baby.

It does sound quite scary to hear the term “high risk” associated with your own pregnancy, but it does not mean that there will be a health problem for sure. It just means that your doctor will need to watch you and monitor you closely to make sure that both you and your baby stay safe.

1. What Can Cause A High Risk Pregnancy?

There are many different things that can make a pregnancy “high risk”. Therefore, having a high risk pregnancy is actually kind of common. If you have a health condition such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or epilepsy, you will be considered high risk.


If you are younger than 17 or over 35, you will be considered high risk, as well as if you smoke or use illegal drugs. If you are having a baby with a genetic problem, such as Down syndrome, your pregnancy will be high risk.

If you are having more than one baby, or you have had more than three miscarriages, you are also considered high risk. Women who have preterm labor will also usually be grouped into the high risk pregnancy category.

2. What Happens During A High Risk Pregnancy?

During a high risk pregnancy, your doctor will monitor you more closely than a woman with a “regular” pregnancy. You might have more ultrasounds to see how your baby is growing, and you might have more blood pressure testing and urine tests to check for protein in your urine.


Your doctor might need to prescribe you medicine for any medical conditions that you have, and you may need to have genetic testing done. Your doctor might give you a list of things to monitor at home and tell you when to contact him or her. In some cases of high risk pregnancy, you might be put on bed rest, where you are not able to do anything but lie around.

This is to protect both you and your baby, so if you are put on bed rest, make sure to take it seriously. In some very rare cases of high risk pregnancies, doctors decide that a woman will need to deliver her baby early in order to make sure that there is no harm to both mother and baby. All in all, having a high risk pregnancy is not that big of a deal, it just means you will be under close watch by your doctor.

High-risk Pregnancy: Know What to Expect, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Larissa Belanger, RN

Ms. Belanger has 20 years of experience in women's healthcare and nursing, including labor and delivery, postpartum and antenatal. She is passionate toward improving both maternal and fetal outcomes of high-risk obstetrics patients.