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High-Risk Pregnancy

Having a high-risk pregnancy means that a woman has a greater chance of complications because of conditions in her pregnancy, her own medical status, or external factors.

Many times, complications are unexpected and may occur without warning. Other times, there are certain risk factors that make problems more likely.

What Can Cause a High-Risk Pregnancy?

Planning a pregnancy? An important part of planning is finding out if you have any risks. Pregnancy risk factors include:

  • Being younger than 18 or older than 35
  • Being underweight or overweight
  • Having a low red blood cell count (anemia)
  • Having given birth more than 4 times
  • Having a previous preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks gestation)
  • Having given birth to a very large or very small baby
  • Having a previous pregnancy loss
  • Having a family history of genetic disease or a previous baby with a birth defect
  • Substance use (cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs)
  • Having a medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease
  • Taking infertility medications or treatments
  • Having twins or triplets

Other factors also can pose a risk to your developing baby. These include high temperatures, radiation exposure, and high altitudes.

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Katie Haller

Katie Haller

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