Introduction to High-Risk Pregnancy- What Does It Mean

Pregnancy can indeed be a joyous time, but it can also be overwhelming and stressful. Expectant mothers need to take care of themselves and their unborn babies. However, for some women, their pregnancy is considered high-risk.

What is a high-risk pregnancy? It means the mother has an increased chance of experiencing complications during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and even after birth. Understanding this can help expectant mothers plan accordingly.

Factors that contribute to high-risk pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. Some common factors include age, weight, medical history, and lifestyle choices. Awareness of these factors can help women make informed choices during this crucial time.

So, let's dive deeper and understand what medical conditions can cause high-risk pregnancies and how to reduce the risks.

So, let's get started!

High Risk Pregnancy: Quick Overview!

Pregnancy is a unique and beautiful journey, but it has challenges. As the name suggests, a high-risk pregnancy involves a higher likelihood of complications than a typical pregnancy. These complications can arise due to various factors, such as pre-existing medical conditions, age, or a history of pregnancy-related issues. Let's explore some common aspects that can categorize a pregnancy as high-risk.

High Risk Pregnancy - Dr. Shubhra Goyal

Factors that Contribute to High-Risk Pregnancy!

Age is one of the factors that contribute to high-risk pregnancy. Women older than 35 are at increased risk. Other factors include Pre-existing medical conditions, Multiple pregnancies, substance abuse, and more.

According to the insights, high-risk pregnancies accounted for 11.5% of all pregnancies, whereas moderate pregnancies accounted for 21.6%. 33.1% of pregnancies overall had high or medium risk.

Pregnancy brings a lot of physical changes in a woman's body, making it more vulnerable to certain medical conditions. Some medical conditions that can cause high-risk pregnancy include hypertension, gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.

1. Hypertension

Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which the mother's blood pressure is higher than the ideal range. Hypertension can lead to complications such as preterm labor, low birth weight...

2. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition that can really affects pregnant women who didn't have diabetes before pregnancy. It indeed leads to high blood sugar levels, which can indeed cause complications such as preterm labor, macrosomia or a giant baby, and respiratory distress syndrome.

3. Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that affects pregnant women after 20 weeks of gestation. It leads to high blood pressure and damage to organs like the kidneys and liver. Preeclampsia can cause complications such as preterm delivery, low birth weight, and long-term health problems for both the mother and the baby.

Pregnancy with Heart Disease - Dr. Shubhra Goyal

4. Pregnancy with Heart Disease

One of the significant concerns during pregnancy is heart disease. Women with pre-existing heart conditions must be closely monitored throughout their pregnancy journey. According to the American Heart Association, heart disease can pose severe risks to the mother and the baby. Conditions like congenital heart disease, arrhythmias, or valve disorders can make pregnancy more challenging. Women with heart disease must work closely with their healthcare assists to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

5. Rh Incompatibility

During pregnancy, if a mother's blood type is Rh-negative and the baby's blood type is Rh-positive, it can lead to Rh incompatibility. This condition can result in the mother's immune system attacking the baby's blood cells. Rh incompatibility is preventable with proper medical care, such as Rh immunoglobulin injections.

6. Oligohydramnios

Amniotic fluid surrounds the baby in the womb, providing protection and cushioning. This can be caused by various factors, including a leak in the amniotic sac or problems with the baby's kidneys. Monitoring and management are crucial to ensure the baby's well-being in such cases.

7. Uterine Fibroids During Pregnancy

Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous uterine growths that can cause discomfort and complications during pregnancy. Fibroids can obstruct the baby's development or block the birth canal, depending on their size and location. Close monitoring and, in some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary.

Uterine Fibroids During Pregnancy - Dr. Shubhra Goyal

8. Pregestational Diabetes

Pregestational diabetes is a condition where a woman has diabetes before becoming pregnant. High blood sugar levels can indeed harm both the mother and the baby. Proper blood sugar management through diet, exercise, and medication ensures a healthy pregnancy.

9. Cervical Insufficiency

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens to allow the baby to pass through during childbirth. Sometimes, the cervix may weaken prematurely, increasing the risk of preterm birth or miscarriage. Medical interventions such as cervical cerclage (stitching the cervix) may be necessary to support a full-term pregnancy.

10. Pregnancy After 35

Many women are delaying pregnancy until later in life, which can increase the risk of certain complications.

According to the insights, 19.8% of new moms were above the age of 35, while 3.4% were under the age of 18.

Women over 35 are at a higher risk of conditions like gestational diabetes and chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. However, with proper prenatal care, many older mothers have healthy pregnancies and babies.

11. Recurrent Miscarriages

Experiencing multiple miscarriages can be emotionally devastating. Recurrent miscarriages may be due to underlying medical conditions or genetic factors. Seeking the expertise of a fertility specialist can help identify the cause and develop a plan for a successful pregnancy.


Managing a high-risk pregnancy requires specialized medical care and close monitoring throughout the pregnancy. Regular prenatal check-ups, lifestyle changes, treatment of medical conditions, and proper management during childbirth can help reduce the risks of complications such as miscarriage, preterm labor, and placenta previa.

Postpartum care for both the mother and infant is equally crucial for a healthy recovery. Remember, early detection and timely medical intervention can make a significant difference in managing high-risk pregnancies. Stay informed, stay healthy.


Also Read: Celebrating Women’s Health Why Obstetricians and Gynecologists Are Everyday Heroes – Dr. Shubhra Goyal