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Overview of High-Risk Pregnancy


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
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What is a high-risk pregnancy?

A high-risk pregnancy is one that has a greater chance of you or your baby becoming sick or dying. Problems can happen during the pregnancy, during delivery, or in the weeks after delivery.

  • Higher risk can come from many things, including medical problems you have and things you do while pregnant

  • Doctors watch high-risk pregnancies very carefully

  • If your pregnancy is considered high risk, you may be sent to a special doctor, clinic, or hospital

  • Getting medical care in the right place could save your life and your baby's life

What can make your pregnancy high risk?

Some of the common factors that make your pregnancy high risk include:

What causes mothers to die?

Death rates from pregnancy are different around the world. In the United States, 28 women die for every 100,000 babies born. Many of these deaths could have been prevented if the mother could have gotten medical care early in the pregnancy. The most common causes of death in mothers include:

What causes babies to die?

Some common reasons babies can die before or right after birth include:

How do doctors tell if your pregnancy is high risk?

How do doctors treat high-risk pregnancies?

Doctors will treat you and your pregnancy very carefully. You may need to see a special doctor or clinic that treats high-risk pregnancies. You'll probably have to see the doctor more often than women who aren't high risk. You may even need visits by a nurse at your home.

If you have a certain medical problem making your pregnancy high risk, doctors will treat that problem. You must be sure to take all the medicines your doctor prescribes and follow any special diet you're given.

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Postpartum depression is a feeling of extreme sadness and related psychologic disturbances after delivery of a baby. Although it is common to feel sad or miserable within 3 days of delivery (the baby blues), these feelings usually go away within 2 weeks. Postpartum depression is a more serious mood change. Women in which of the following groups are at increased risk for this condition?
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