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High-Risk Pregnancy

High-Risk Pregnancy

A high-risk pregnancy is one in which the mother or her fetus is at increased risk for health problems. The determination of a high-risk pregnancy is based on the mother's current health status, age, and pregnancy history, as well as the presence of a genetic disorder in either parent.

Specifically, a pregnancy is considered high risk when a woman:

  • Has a genetic disease (such as cystic fibrosis), chronic disease (such as diabetes), chronic infection (such as HIV), brain disorder (such as epilepsy), heart problems or high blood pressure.
  • Is overweight or underweight.
  • Is younger than 17 or older than 35.
  • Has had problems with previous pregnancies, such as repeated miscarriages, preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or difficult births.
  • Has an abnormality detected during the pregnancy.
  • Has multiple pregnancy (twins or triplets).

Last Revised: May 6, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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