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High-Risk Pregnancy

A high-risk pregnancy is one in which the mother or her fetus is at increased risk for health problems. The determination of a high-risk pregnancy is based on the mother's current health status, age, and pregnancy history as well as the presence of a genetic disorder in either parent.

Specifically, a pregnancy is considered high-risk when a woman:

  • Has a genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis), chronic disease (such as diabetes), chronic infection (such as HIV), brain disorder (such as epilepsy), heart problems, or high blood pressure.
  • Is overweight or underweight.
  • Is younger than 17 or older than 35.
  • Has had problems with previous pregnancies, such as repeated miscarriages, preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or difficult births.
  • Has an abnormality detected during the pregnancy.
  • Has multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets).

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedApril 26, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 26, 2013
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.