High-risk Pregnancy

A pregnancy complicated by various factors adversely affecting the mother, fetus or both is called a high-risk pregnancy. Nearly 50% of all maternal complications and 60% of all primary cesarean sections (C-sections) occur in the high-risk group of pregnancies. High-risk pregnancies require special attention and care to reduce complications. 

Causes for High-risk Pregnancy

Pregnancy can become high-risk and complicated for various reasons. Some of them are listed below. 

Maternal history of complications such as:

  • Two or more miscarriages or induced abortions.
  • Previous stillbirth or death of an infant before or during delivery.
  • Previous preterm labor or birth that occurred before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Grand multiparity or the birth of two or more children. 
  • Previous C-sections.
  • Maternal age less than 16 and more than 30 years.

The below medical disorders in pregnant women can lead to high-risk pregnancies. Some of these diseases are: 

  • Pulmonary disease - increased blood volume and cardiac output during pregnancy may lead to shock.
  • Renal disease - Women with renal disorders are vulnerable to hypertension and anaemia that obstruct blood flow to the baby. 
  • Thyroid disorders - Untreated thyroid disorders tend to be connected with miscarriages, stillbirths, and premature births.
  • Cardiac disease - It is the foremost leading cause of premature births. 
  • Eclampsia and Pre-eclampsia - These conditions affect the arteries that carry blood to the placenta. The baby does not receive sufficient blood and oxygen, leading to life-threatening consequences.
  • Anaemia - Maternal anaemia can adversely affect the mother and the baby. It generally affects the growth of the baby.
  • Infections during pregnancy - Severe infections like HIV and tuberculosis may endanger the mother's and baby's lives.

Symptoms of High-risk Pregnancy

Some of the common symptoms of high-risk pregnancies are: 

  • Abdominal pain that persists for long periods
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever over 100.4 F
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting that is worse than morning sickness
  • Redness and inflammation on the face and limbs.
  • Severe headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding and discharge.

If you have any of these symptoms, consult a doctor as soon as possible. 

Diagnosis of High-risk Pregnancy 

Pregnancies are assessed for high risk during the initial ante-natal examinations in the first trimester. Cases of high-risk pregnancy are sent to referral hospitals to be managed by specialists. 

Healthy pregnancies may develop complications in the later stages. Hence, it’s crucial to have regular hospital visits during pregnancy.

The below tests are carried out to rule out complications: 

  • Blood and urine tests to diagnose genetic conditions and other defects in the unborn baby.
  • Ultrasonography images help diagnose congenital disabilities.
  • A biophysical profile is done after the 28th week of pregnancy. It checks whether the baby is getting enough oxygen and monitors its breathing, movements, muscle tone and amniotic fluid volume.
  • The non-stress test monitors the heart rate of the baby.

Complications of High-risk Pregnancy 

Risks to the mother

  • Intrapartum fetal distress - This emergency requires immediate vaginal delivery or C-section.
  • Postpartum haemorrhage - Massive bleeding following childbirth.
  • Retained placenta - A condition in which the placenta fails to get delivered even after thirty minutes of childbirth.

Risks to the baby 

  • Low birth weight - Birth weight less than 2.5 Kg.
  • Convulsions - Uncontrolled shaking of the body or specific organ of the body. 
  • Hypoglycemia - low blood sugar level.
  • Anaemia - Low volume of red blood cells in the body.
  • Jaundice - Yellowish discolouration of the sclera and skin.
  • Persistent cyanosis - Bluish discolouration of the newborn baby for an extended period.

Management of High-risk Pregnancy

The following points should be taken into consideration for the management of high-risk pregnancies:

  • Referring high-risk pregnancies to specialized referral centres.
  • Regular follow-up with your obstetrician.
  • Closer evaluation of the baby.
  • Monitoring the mother's medications for preexisting conditions.
  • A complete investigation of hypertension, diabetes, renal disorders, cardiac disorders, and thyroid disorders.

Prevention of High-risk Pregnancy

The below healthy practices can reduce risks in pregnancies:

  • Quit smoking
  • Quit alcohol and drugs
  • Maintain healthy body weight.
  • Practice safe intercourse.
  • Discuss the current medications with your doctor.


High-risk pregnancies require more attention and adequate antenatal, intranatal, and neonatal care. It is essential to look out for symptoms of complications so they can be monitored and corrected at the earliest.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Amritsar - Abadi Court Road. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How long should I wait after a miscarriage before conceiving again?

The waiting period may vary from woman to woman. You should wait at least two or three regular periods before trying to conceive again. Please check with your doctor to address any issues you may have before trying again.

2. Can I have a vaginal birth if I have a high-risk pregnancy?

Yes, your doctor will recommend the type of birth based on several factors. If you and your baby are healthy, vaginal delivery may work for you.

3. Do I need complete bed rest if I have a high-risk pregnancy?

Care for a high-risk pregnancy differs from woman to woman. Your doctor will advise you on the type of care and rest you may require based on your risk factors.

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