Having a baby is an exciting, life-changing event for many couples. For those who are pregnant and have medical issues, it also can be stressful.

Some pregnancies are termed “high risk.” A pregnancy is “high risk” or “complicated” when the life or health of the mother or baby may be at risk. Health problems that occur before a woman becomes pregnant or during pregnancy may also increase the likelihood for a high-risk pregnancy.

A high-risk pregnancy diagnosis shouldn’t automatically be perceived as negative. With the proper pre-natal care, most of these pregnancies produce healthy babies. When problems are detected early, the better the chances that both mother and baby will stay healthy. Some factors that may lead to a high-risk pregnancy include:

  • 35 years old or older at the time of conception
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • History of poor pregnancy outcomes (recurrent miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery)
  • History of pregnancy-related complications (premature delivery, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes)
  • Have a serious medical condition (high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune disorders, etc.)
  • Have an infection, such as HIV or hepatitis C. Other infections that can cause a problem include cytomegalovirus (CMV), chickenpox, rubella, toxoplasmosis, and syphilis.
  • Use of alcohol or illegal drugs, or you smoke.
  • Family history or previous child with birth defects
  • Family history of a genetic disorder

In case of high risk pregnancy, one will have more visits to the doctor than in a normal one. One may have more diagnostics test to have a regular check on mother and baby, frequent ultrasound tests to make sure that baby is growing well.

Families can cope more successfully with a high-risk pregnancy with appropriate medical intervention, education, and a strong support system. In fact, many risk factors can be identified even before conception occurs.

Even if one don’t have an existing health problem, many doctors recommend a preconception appointment/ pre pregnancy counselling with your gynaecologist to ensure one is healthy before  pregnancy.