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    pregnancy delivery

    High Risk Pregnancy - Know about the Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

    • 4.9   (7 Votes)

    High-risk Pregnancy is a condition in which both the mother and the developing fetus are in danger during her pre or post pregnancy. The causes of high-risk pregnancy are maternal age, gestational diabetes, maternal obesity, high BMI, and Preterm labor. High-risk pregnancy treatment includes fetal monitoring and required medications.

    Let’s Discuss in More Details About Factors That Causes High-Risk Pregnancy:

    A high-risk pregnancy is a condition which places both the mother and the developing fetus in a higher than normal risk of complication during pregnancy or post-pregnancy. A high-risk pregnancy requires a specialist so that delivery could be safe for the mother and baby. (1)

    High-risk pregnancy becomes more complicated as they progress, however for a variety of reasons; some women are at increased risk even before they get pregnant. Generally, multiple pregnancies are associated with high-risk pregnancies. Women who have delivered premature birth previously pregnancy prior to 34 weeks of gestation period are often considered high risk. Early prenatal care can reduce high-risk pregnancy and ensures healthy pregnancies and deliveries without complications. These complications could be either a minor problem or in some cases it can be life-threatening. Around 10 to 15% of women can develop pregnancies that can be considered as high risk. This risk may be associated with the woman or it can be related to the fetus. (2)

    Factors That Causes High-Risk Pregnancy

    1. Maternal Age

    Age plays an important role in determining the common risks associated with pregnancy. Generally, women under the age group of 35 to 40 years are at a higher risk as compared to women in their early 30’s.

    Also, those women who are still very young under the age group of 17 years are likely to develop complications at the later stages of pregnancy as compared to those between their late teens and early 30s. They have higher chances of genetic defects in their babies and miscarriage. Women after 35 to 40 years of age have greater chances of giving birth to a baby with Downs syndrome. The health-care provider may refer parents to a genetics specialist who can diagnose and explain the results of chromosomal tests in detail. (3)

    maternal age

    If a mother has severe health problems before or during pregnancy, then it becomes a high-risk pregnancy. Some of the common health problems that can cause high-risk pregnancy are as follows:

    a. Pre-eclampsia:

    Pre-eclampsia is a syndrome, which includes swelling, high blood pressure, changes in blood levels that can affect the kidneys, liver, brain and urinary protein. Eclampsia is more severe than pre-eclampsia that can cause coma and seizures in pregnant woman. For a healthy delivery woman with pre-eclampsia needs an early treatment, if not treated early, the condition can be fatal and can cause serious complications in the long-term. However, with proper management, many women who have pre-eclampsia have healthy babies. (4)

    b. Gestational diabetes:

    Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs only among pregnant women. If a woman has diabetes during her pregnancy but never had it before, then it is gestational diabetes. Women with gestational diabetes can have a healthy pregnancy delivery by following the treatment plan established by their health-care provider. This type of diabetes gets over once delivery is over. However, a woman who had gestational diabetes has likeliness of developing type 2 diabetes. If left untreated or managed poorly, it can lead to serious health problems in the mother and for the child. Gestational diabetes can cause the babies to become macrosomic (very large). Due to their size the shoulders of these babies get stuck on the mother’s pelvis thereby causing a condition called Erb’s palsy (damage to the brachial plexus nerves). In addition, if the baby is stuck in the birth canal, this leads to the baby’s risk of developing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. (5)

    2. Maternal Obesity and High BMI

    High body weight and high body mass index (BMI) can cause high-risk pregnancy. Maternal obesity and high BMI can cause birth complications and restrict the growth of babies. Mothers with a very high BMI have a bigger risk of developing the following health conditions (6):

    Whereas, for babies, the common risk associated can be one of the following:

    • Macrosomic (larger in size) which can make labor difficult, in some cases a cesarean might be required
    • Maternal obesity and a very high BMI can give rise to a condition called intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), where the baby is smaller than the expected size for their gestational age. Such babies with IUGR tend to tolerate labor poorly and can have bleeding in the brains.

    3. High Blood Pressure

    A number of factors regulate blood flow to the fetus and blood pressure is one of them. If a mother has very low or very high blood pressure during pregnancy, she can suffer from the following health conditions (7):

    • It can damage her kidneys which can, in turn, cause low birth weight in the baby
    • It can cause Intrauterine Growth Restriction in the baby ( unusual growth or restriction in the baby)
    • Risk of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy ( risk for the oxygen deprivation injuries)

    Usually, mothers with these types of conditions need to undergo a Caesarean delivery because they cannot tolerate labor.

    high blood pressure

    4. HIV/AIDS

    If a mother has HIV or AIDS, it can damage the cells of the immune system, progressively destroying the body's ability to fight infections and certain diseases. The HIV passes on to the baby while giving birth or through breastfeeding, however, there are a number of effective ways to prevent the spread of HIV/ AIDS from mother-to-infant. (8)

    5. Preterm labor

    Preterm labor begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Since the baby is not fully grown, it will not be able to survive outside the womb. At such times, doctor tries to stop labor if it occurs before 37 weeks. (9)

    Although preterm labor is uncertain for many women, there are certain factors that can place women at a higher risk, such as:

    • Previous preterm birth
    • Infections
    • Shortened cervix


    A woman with a high-risk pregnancy requires continuous monitoring than pregnant women who are not. Such monitoring can include the following:

    • Frequent visits with the primary caregiver
    • Certain tests to monitor the medical problem
    • Blood tests to check the levels of medication
    • Amniocentesis 
    • Fetal monitoring

    These tests are necessary to verify that the fetus is healthy and to make conclusions if there is any need to induce labor for an early delivery.


    Treatment for high-risk pregnancy varies widely with the type of disease, and the effect that the disease has on pregnancy. For monitoring, the fetus serial ultrasounds may be performed. Fetal heart rate monitoring may be necessary or amniocentesis may be required if the fetus has serious problems. 
    Non-invasive prenatal testing helps doctors to detect problems in high-risk pregnancy by detecting fetal cells in the mother’s blood, assessing the risk for a genetic abnormality. (10)

    It is very important for the doctor to treat the patient in the earlier stages of planning a high-risk delivery. Sometimes anesthesia is given during delivery that is generally well tolerated for most young women. Once a risk is identified, all the necessary medications are provided along with other appropriate treatment to prevent or delay preterm birth.

    If you are looking for the best gynecologist in Delhi, OVO fertility".com can help you in your search. For complete information on normal delivery, you can consult OVO fertility. Feel free to call on the given number for any inquiry or advice related to infertility treatments like IVF, IUI, and Surrogacy: +918268260808.





    Rinkee Tiwari

    I think age and poor lifestyle are the major factors which put a woman on high-risk pregnancy.

    Aug. 1, 2019, 4:31 p.m. 5.0


    Shikha T Gandhi

    My sister-in-law had a risk-oriented pregnancy. She was under constant monitoring of her gynecologist. This helped her deliver her first baby with success.

    Nov. 26, 2018, 6:11 p.m. 5.0


    Manasvi Jha

    My cousin sister had the case of high-risk pregnancy. This made her case much complicated. She used to stay very demotivated most of the times.

    Nov. 25, 2018, 8:12 a.m. 5.0


    Yamini Khanna

    I had high blood pressure at the time of my second pregnancy. This created danger for my baby to a great extent. But fortunately, my baby is born healthy and is doing great.

    Nov. 24, 2018, 1:06 p.m. 5.0


    Anisha K Rawat

    My second pregnancy was much complicated than I had expected. I was very scared most of the times and it took a toll on my personal as well as professional life.

    Nov. 23, 2018, 9:43 a.m. 5.0


    Sunita Bajaj

    Since I was 35+ years when I and my husband were trying a baby, we were worried. I faced several hurdles at the time of my pregnancy.

    Nov. 22, 2018, 5:58 p.m. 5.0



    I had high risk pregnancy because I had very high BP during third trimester.

    Nov. 21, 2018, 4:14 p.m. 4.5

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