What is a high risk pregnancy?

Pregnant woman getting non-stress test
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Question: What is a high risk pregnancy?

Answer: While all pregnancies carry a certain risk to them, some pregnancies have more than the average pregnancy when it comes to risk factors. A pregnancy can be deemed high risk for a variety of reasons including:

If you are experiencing a high risk pregnancy, you may continue to see your regular obstetrician and merely consult with a high risk specialist, known as a perinatologist or maternal fetal medicine specialist. Or you may need to completely switch to the care of the high risk doctor, depending on your pregnancy and what's going on. If you were seeing a midwife, you will now usually be completely switched to the care of an obstetrician though some midwives are able to still consult with your practitioner.

Together, your medical team will help decide the best care for your pregnancy. It may require more prenatal visits, increased testing and fetal surveillance for the duration of your pregnancy or for a certain portion of the pregnancy. You will talk about treatment options and figure out the best course of action.

This can include bed rest, hospitalization, and other interventions or medications.

Some practitioners will find that you are only high risk for the pregnancy and not for the labor and delivery for your baby. If this is the case you may be returned to your original care providers. This might be true if the risk you had has for premature labor or something that has resolved.


Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

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