High-Risk Pregnancy

Specialists in High-Risk Pregnancy and Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Certain health conditions may complicate a pregnancy. But with good care, most women can enjoy a healthy pregnancy, even with health challenges.

We're here to help you and your baby during and after high-risk pregnancies.


What is High-Risk Pregnancy?

High-risk pregnancy means you or your baby has one or more complications that could affect your health, your baby’s health or likelihood for early delivery. Your pregnancy might be considered high risk if you:

  • Are age 17 or younger
  • Are age 35 or older
  • Were underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant
  • Are pregnant with twins, triplets or other multiples
  • Have had problems with previous pregnancies, including multiple miscarriages, preterm labor or having a child with a genetic problem or birth defect
  • Have a chronic health problem, especially:
    • Depression
    • Gestational diabetes
    • Heart disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Preeclampsia
    • Seizure disorders

What to Expect from High-Risk Pregnancy Care

If your pregnancy is considered high risk, your pregnancy care provider may refer you to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist (MFM). Your consultation with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist will depend on you and your baby’s health needs. You may consult with an MFM once or frequently.

The specialist usually works with your obstetrician, family doctor or nurse-midwife caring for you during your pregnancy to create a care plan for you and your baby. If needed, they will also work with other specialists who are taking care of you, and with neonatologists and other doctors ready to care for your newborn after birth.

At Sanford Health, a member of the care team will guide you through scheduling your appointments, seeing the right specialists and helping you understand costs. In addition to seeing our team, you can continue prenatal care with your own obstetrician close to home.

Other specialties that support high-risk pregnancy:

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FAQ About Maternal-Fetal Medicine

What is maternal-fetal medicine?

Sanford Maternal-Fetal Medicine, also known as perinatology, provides advanced care and support for patients experiencing high-risk pregnancies.

Our specialists provide a wide range of advanced diagnostic testing, genetic counseling, treatment services, consultation and high-risk obstetric care, labor and delivery, and neonatal intensive care services.

What’s the difference between MFM and OB/GYN?

A maternal-fetal medicine doctor, or MFM, is an OB/GYN with additional training. This means they have spent two to three more years learning to manage high-risk pregnancies, including problems in both the mother and the baby. Depending on your needs, you may have an MFM as your primary pregnancy care provider, or you may see both an MFM and your OB/GYN.

What happens at my first MFM appointment?

For your initial visit, please plan a half day for testing and evaluation.

  • In the maternal-fetal medicine clinic, you will have an OB ultrasound and meet with a maternal-fetal medicine doctor and a genetic counselor.
  • You'll receive advanced ultrasound, multiple screenings and genetic counseling.
  • If we identify a concern with your baby, we will discuss the diagnosis and what other tests and consultations you'll need.
  • You also will meet with any additional specialists involved in your care. We will explain our findings and review treatment recommendations.

Learn More

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