High-risk Pregnancy

Every mom-to-be looks forward to having a healthy pregnancy and newborn, but sometimes, there are difficulties or challenges that make a pregnancy “high-risk.”

It may sound scary, but it doesn’t mean that you or your little one will face long-term complications or other problems. When you’re at greater risk for complications, we’ll make sure you get the care and treatment you need throughout pregnancy.

What makes me or my pregnancy high-risk?

A number of factors can put your pregnancy in the high-risk category, including:

  • A history of premature birth
  • A history of preterm labor
  • Being older than 35
  • Being younger than 17
  • Carrying multiples (more than one baby)
  • Fetal abnormalities such as congenital heart disorders or Down syndrome
  • High blood pressure, also called preeclampsia
  • Medical conditions such as gestational diabetes or heart disease
  • Multiple miscarriages
  • Placental problems such as placenta previa or placental insufficiency

What is a maternal-fetal medicine specialist?

Maternal-fetal medicine specialists are OB-GYNs with specialized training in high-risk pregnancies. If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, and you’re already seeing an OB-GYN or midwife, they’ll work side-by-side with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist to minimize your risks and help you achieve the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Should I get genetic counseling and testing

Depending on your personal and family medical history, you may choose to have preconception or prenatal genetic counseling or testing, which you can discuss with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

Genetic counseling can help you understand the risks of passing along genetic diseases or birth defects to your baby. Our genetic counselors also will discuss your testing options and next steps if you receive abnormal test results. 

What if my baby needs to be in the NICU?

When you have a high-risk pregnancy, it’s possible that your baby will be born prematurely or have health issues. If your infant needs special attention right after birth, SCL Health NICUs, or neonatal intensive care units, can attend to your little one or prepare them for transport to a hospital with more specialized care.

Learn more about our NICUs.

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