What Constitutes a High-Risk Pregnancy?

Finding out you’re pregnant can fill you with both joy and anxiety. Most pregnancies and deliveries go smoothly — but what if you have a high-risk pregnancy? 

A high-risk pregnancy means that you or your baby could be at greater risk for health problems. One or more factors may put you or your baby at risk. Some of these factors are present before you get pregnant, and others develop as your pregnancy progresses. Here at ObGyn Care of Oklahoma, Dr. Shaurin Patel can help you manage and minimize your risks, so you go on to have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and baby. 

Let’s take a look at some factors that contribute to a high-risk pregnancy.


Age is a common factor for high-risk pregnancy. If you are under 17 or over 35 when you deliver, your risk of complications is higher than for women in between those ages. Also, your risk of birth defects and miscarriage increases as you get older. Finally, the risk of delivering a baby with Down syndrome at age 25 is about 1 in 1,250, but it goes up to 1 in 100 if you give birth at 40. While your risk is still low at age 40 (just 1%!) it's still substantially higher than it is for a woman in her 20s.   

Preexisting health conditions

Health conditions that you have before getting pregnant can put your pregnancy at risk, including diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, and heart problems.

Lifestyle factors

A healthy lifestyle is always essential, but it becomes especially important when you’re trying to get pregnant or are carrying a baby. Quitting habits such as smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs is critical for your baby’s health. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important, since obesity can put you at high risk as well.  

Health conditions that develop during pregnancy

Even if you’re healthy at the beginning of your pregnancy, you can develop conditions later that put your baby's health at risk, as well as your own. These conditions include:

While the term "high-risk" pregnancy can sound scary, regular doctor visits with a high-risk pregnancy specialist can help you manage your risks safely. 

If you're pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, and worry that you may have a high-risk pregnancy, call ObGyn Care of Oklahoma for an appointment with high-risk pregnancy specialist Dr. Shaurin Patel. You can also book an appointment online

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