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What is a high-risk pregnancy?

Your pregnancy is called high-risk if you or your baby has an increased chance of a health problem. Many things can put you at high risk. Being called "high-risk" may sound scary. But it's just a way for doctors to make sure that you get special attention during your pregnancy. Your doctor will watch you closely during your pregnancy to find any problems early.

The conditions listed below put you and your baby at a higher risk for problems, such as slowed growth for the baby, preterm labor, preeclampsia, and problems with the placenta. But it's important to remember that being at high risk doesn't mean that you or your baby will have problems.

Your health plan may have its own list of what makes a pregnancy high-risk. In general, your pregnancy may be high-risk if:

Other health problems can make your pregnancy high-risk. These include heart valve problems, sickle cell disease, asthma, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your doctor about any health problems you have.

How will your doctor care for you during your pregnancy?

You will have more visits to the doctor than a woman who does not have a high-risk pregnancy. You may have more ultrasound tests to make sure that your baby is growing well. You will have regular blood pressure checks. And your urine will be tested to look for protein (a sign of preeclampsia) and urinary tract infections.

Tests for genetic or other problems also may be done, especially if you are 35 or older or if you had a genetic problem in a past pregnancy.

Your doctor will prescribe any medicine you may need, such as for diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure.

Talk to your doctor about where he or she would like you to give birth. Your doctor may want you to have your baby in a hospital that offers special care for women and babies who may have problems.

If your doctor thinks that your health or your baby's health is at risk, you may need to have the baby early.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 23, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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