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High-Risk Pregnancy Factors

Brenda Albano

July 15, 2019

High Risk Pregnancy Factors

There are many health issues that can constitute high-risk pregnancy factors. Some depend on the physician you have and their current opinions. Some stem from chronic conditions that were in place before pregnancy occurred. And some crop up during pregnancy.

Even though you may have a high-risk pregnancy – with today’s medical knowledge and help – chances are your outcome will be a healthy baby in the end.


The age of the mother, if she is over 35, constitutes a high risk for some doctors. The reason being is that certain conditions such as Down syndrome occur more often. Also, miscarriages happen more with older women because of the declining hormone levels. A physician will probably see an older woman more often and will run non-stress tests and offer amniocentesis.

Prepregnant Chronic Conditions

Conditions that were in place before pregnancy occurred will put a mother in a high-risk category. Sexually transmitted diseases, sickle cell anemia, cancer, lupus, maternal PKU, diabetes, uterine fibroids, hypertension, and urinary tract infections are some of the conditions that will constitute a high-risk pregnancy. With these illnesses, your doctor will be seeing you more often and will monitor and run more tests to ensure as healthy a baby as possible.

Pregnancy-Induced Conditions

Sometimes a perfectly healthy mother will come down with symptoms during pregnancy that will put her in a high-risk situation. These include pregnancy induced hypertension (toxemia or preeclampsia), gestational diabetes, toxemia, infections such as urinary tract infections, problems with the placenta, incompetent cervix, and preterm labor.

There are some cases where a previous cesarean or a breech or transverse presentation of the baby will be categorized as high risk. Again, this depends upon your circumstances and your doctor.

The pregnancy-induced conditions will occur later on in pregnancy – often surprising an otherwise healthy mom. In most cases, there is nothing you can do to prevent certain conditions – they simply occur and have to be dealt with. I’ve had to deal with gestational diabetes, breech presentation, previous cesarean, and preterm labor, and in all instances I kept asking if I could have done something to prevent it. I was always reassured that it was nothing I did – just something that happened.

With the onset of most of these conditions – you will see your doctor more often. A lot of the cases, such as placenta problems (previa – where the placenta lays over the cervix – and abrupto – when the placenta tears away from the uterine wall), preterm labor, and occasionally toxemia requires bedrest – at the hospital or at home depending on its severity.

Close monitoring of both mother and baby will often keep a check on all the conditions of high-risk pregnancy. Most high-risk pregnant moms will go through a number of tests or at least be offered these tests- nonstress and stress tests, amniocentesis, blood tests, urine screenings, CVS (chorionic villus sampling), and level 2 ultrasounds. Some of these tests – CVS and amniocentesis do not come without risk – and you may need to weigh the benefit of having the test to the possible risk involved. However, with today’s medical technology – there is a certain assurance that everything possible is being done to help the baby to come to maturity – healthy and whole.

Whether you are facing a high-risk pregnancy due to preexisting conditions or due to pregnancy-induced conditions – rest assured that if you seek the proper medical help and if you follow doctors orders you stand as good a chance of a healthy outcome as a normal woman with a normal pregnancy.

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