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At Risk Pregnancies

A pregnancy is considered high-risk when the mother or fetus has a suspected higher-than-normal risk for complications. High risk can stem from health concerns in the mother, the fetus or from the pregnancy itself. Approximately 5 to 10 percent of pregnant women experience a high-risk pregnancy.


If you have been diagnosed as high-risk, your fetal care specialist will closely monitor you and your baby throughout your pregnancy.

There are multiple reasons why a pregnancy may be classified as high risk, including:

  • Chronic medical conditions in the mother that may affect the pregnancy, such as high blood pressure or diabetes
  • History of pregnancy-related complications
  • History of pregnancy loss
  • Maternal age – moms who are over 35 or under 17 may need special prenatal care
  • Multiple gestation
  • Infertility treatments
  • Abnormal fetal ultrasound results that need further confirmation/evaluation
  • Congenital heart disease in the mother, father or sibling of fetus

Warning Signs

A pregnancy can become high risk at any time if health concerns develop. Contact your doctor or your local hospital if you experience any of the following symptoms during pregnancy:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Swelling in the face or fingers
  • Leakage of fluid or sudden increase in vaginal discharge
  • Severe or persistent headache
  • Pain in the abdomen or shoulder
  • Persistent vomiting that is not related to morning sickness
  • Chills or a fever
  • Noticeable change in the frequency or strength of your baby's movements
  • Painful or urgent urination
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Sudden increase in weight or abdominal size
  • A sense that something isn't right – trust your instincts