High-Risk Newborns

What Does High-Risk Newborn Mean?

Infants born prematurely, with low birth weight, or with congenital anomalies are considered high-risk newborns. Furthermore, maternal conditions like diabetes, hypertension, infection or substance abuse may have an impact. High-risk newborns also have higher neonatal mortality rates and stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Diabetes, hypertension, infection, and substance abuse are maternal factors that can raise the risk of unfavourable outcomes. Pregnant smokers are also more likely to deliver a low-birth-weight baby.

What Causes High-Risk Newborns?

A newborn may be deemed high-risk due to a variety of different factors. Being born prematurely, with low birth weight, or with a congenital illness or defect are a few of the more prevalent causes.

Other, less frequent causes might include maternal infections during pregnancy, exposure to specific toxins or chemicals, or difficulties giving birth. A newborn's high-risk status may not always be apparent, but it frequently results from a combination of factors.

The most crucial thing for parents of newborns at high risk is collaborating closely with their child's medical team to ensure they receive the best care. When given the proper care and attention, many high-risk newborns live long, healthy lives.

Preventing Your Newborn From Being High-Risk

As a parent, you want to do everything possible to prevent your newborn from being high-risk. There are several things you can do to reduce the risk:

  1. Give your baby breast milk. Make sure to feed your infant iron-free formula if you cannot breastfeed.
  2. Avoid smoking both before and after giving birth. If you must smoke, keep your child away from you.
  3. Obtain consistent prenatal care. This will help ensure the health of both you and your unborn child and aid in spotting any early-stage issues.
  4. When pregnant, stay away from alcohol. Alcohol consumption can raise your baby's risk of birth defects and other issues.
  5. Keep your surroundings and home clean. By doing this, you and your child's risk of infection will be lowered.


The complications of a high-risk newborn can vary depending on the underlying condition or risk factors, but may include:

  1. Respiratory distress syndrome: This condition prevents the lungs from properly exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide, making breathing difficult.
  2. Infection: High-risk newborns' immature immune systems make them more vulnerable to infection.
  3. Feeding difficulties: Many high-risk newborns struggle to feed because they lack strong sucking reflexes or can't control their breathing and swallowing simultaneously. Dehydration and poor weight gain may result from this.
  4. Jaundice: This is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that develops when bilirubin levels in the blood rise. The condition is more prevalent in premature infants and is treatable with phototherapy.
  5. Anaemia: Reduced haemoglobin or red blood cells are present in the blood in this condition. Fatigue and other issues can result from anaemia.


Healthcare professionals can do numerous things to assist a newborn at high risk. The most crucial thing is quickly transporting them to a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). They will be able to get the specialised care they require there.

  1. Close monitoring: A paediatrician or neonatologist may need to closely monitor high-risk infants to spot and address any potential health issues early.
  2. Medications: Medications like antibiotics or bronchodilators may be used to treat some conditions, such as infections or breathing problems.
  3. Oxygen therapy: Infants with breathing problems may need oxygen therapy to ensure they are getting enough oxygen.
  4. Nutritional Support: High-risk newborns may need nutritional support, such as feeding through a feeding tube, to ensure they get enough food.
  5. Surgery: Surgery may be necessary for high-risk newborns to treat certain birth defects or other medical issues.

It's important to remember that the precise course of action or remedies will depend on the requirements of each baby and should be decided by a licenced medical professional. A collaborative, interdisciplinary approach involving numerous medical professionals, including paediatricians, neonatologists, and other specialists, is frequently necessary for managing a high-risk newborn.


High-risk newborns need extra care and attention to give them the best chance at a healthy life. These infants have the potential to develop fully and grow up strong with the right care and monitoring. It is crucial for parents of newborns at high risk to stay informed about their child's health so that they can make decisions based on the most recent medical recommendations. Having social support and trusting your medical team is also crucial for any high-risk pregnancy or birth.

Request an appointment at Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru - Brookefield. Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

1. How are high-risk newborns diagnosed?

High-risk babies are frequently identified during prenatal care or soon after birth through physical examination and medical testing, such as imaging, blood, and genetic tests.

2. What can I do to support my newborn?

By adhering to their doctor's recommendations, providing a healthy and secure environment for their infant, and using available resources and support services, parents of high-risk newborns can offer emotional support and actively participate in their child's medical care.

3. Can I take my high-risk newborn home?

High-risk newborns might need to stay in the hospital longer or be transferred to a NICU before they can go home. However, with the right medical attention and supervision, doctors can send many newborns home.

4. Will my newborn grow up to live a normal life?

With the right medical attention and interventions, many newborns at high risk can go on to lead healthy, normal lives. However, some infants may have developmental delays or long-term health issues.

5. What should I expect with my high-risk newborn?

Parents should anticipate routine follow-up care from their child's doctor, including tracking growth and development, addressing any medical issues or complications, and making specialist referrals as necessary.

Book an Appointment




Pregnancy Calculator