High Risk Pregnancy

High-risk Pregnancy: What is it, Types, Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

A high-risk pregnancy is one where there is a higher likelihood that the mother or child will experience complications during the pregnancy. A high risk pregnancy may result from a health condition present prior to conception. Other times, you or your baby may develop a medical condition during pregnancy that makes pregnancy high risk. Special care and supervision are needed during high-risk pregnancies, and in some cases, an intervention may be required before delivery. In spite of the potential for complications, high-risk pregnancies can lead to safe delivery and a healthy baby, if treated early and regularly. A team of healthcare providers should provide comprehensive care to women facing high-risk pregnancies.

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Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:  

  1. What is a high-risk pregnancy? 
  2. Most common causes of high-risk pregnancy
  3. Most common signs and symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy
  4. High-risk pregnancy treatment
  5. Takeaway
  6. FAQs

Exactly what is a high-risk pregnancy? 

A pregnancy (gestation) is a developing fetus’s biological process inside a female body. The term high-risk pregnancy refers to a pregnancy in which either the mother or her foetus is at an increased risk of developing complications during pregnancy or childbirth than is usual. In India, approximately 20–30% of pregnancies fall into the high-risk category, accounting for 75% of perinatal mortality and morbidity. 

For whom is a high-risk pregnancy a risk?

Suppose a woman has chronic health concerns, including diabetes or high blood pressure, infections, complications from earlier pregnancies, or additional problems that might arise during pregnancy. She is supposed to be at increased risk for complications during pregnancy in that circumstance.

A timely diagnosis and effective management of high-risk pregnancies can significantly reduce adverse outcomes for both mother and foetus.

What causes high-risk pregnancy?

High-risk pregnancy causes depend on a variety of factors. Some among them are:

  • Maternal age: Mothers with adolescents (10–19 years old) deal with high-risk pregnancy symptoms like eclampsia, infections and puerperal endometritis, more than women 20–24 years of age. Also, mothers over 35 years have a higher risk after becoming pregnant.
  • Existing medical conditions: The following clinical conditions contribute to high-risk pregnancy causes:
  • Blood pressure too high level can harm a mother’s kidneys and may raise her risk for preeclampsia and low birth weight.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) women have a more increased possibility of miscarriage before the 20th week.
  • Diabetes is the condition of women with high blood sugar levels that can lead to congenital disabilities.
  • Obesity can make a foetus larger than usual, making giving birth more challenging and associated with multiple high-risk pregnancy symptoms.
  • Tobacco and Alcohol: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy elevates the risk of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and other complications. Premature birth, congenital disabilities and SIDS can occur if a pregnant woman smokes during pregnancy. 
  • Zika infection: Zika infection increases the risk of foetal brain damage, pregnancy loss, and stillbirth.

Other causes:

  • Low haemoglobin (Hb) less than 7g/dl, severe anaemia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Twin or multiple pregnancies
  • Malpresentation
  • Previous Caesarean delivery
  • Low lying placenta, placenta previa
  • Having a negative obstetric history (stillbirths, abortions, congenital malformations, obstructed labours, pre-term births, etc.)
  • Rh-negative
  • Patients with current or past systemic illnesses

Most common signs and symptoms of a high-risk pregnancy

The following symptoms/warning signs are associated with a high-risk pregnancy

  • A fever higher than 38.5°C/lasting more than 24 hours
  • Symptoms include headaches and blurred vision
  • An overall feeling of swelling and puffiness
  • Symptoms of anxiety, tiredness, and shortness of breath at rest
  • Experiencing abdominal pain
  • Bleeding or discharge from the vaginal area
  • Symptoms of reduced foetal movement
How to Manage High Risk Pregnancy

High-risk pregnancy treatment

A woman’s specific risk factors determine how she will be treated for a high-risk pregnancy.

Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM):

  • The therapy for GDM consists of medical nutrition therapy (MNT) and physical training. It will be followed by weekly 2-h postprandial blood sugar (PPBS) testing. 
  • The medical management for GDM is metformin (oral antidiabetic drug) or insulin therapy.
  • Insulin therapy can be started anytime during pregnancy, whereas metformin can be administered only at/after 20 weeks.


  • Preeclampsia develops in the third trimester of pregnancy, causing new-onset hypertension and end-organ dysfunction.
  • Within 24 hours of delivery, women with severe preeclampsia should receive intravenous magnesium sulphate in a critical care setting.
  • Using up to 500 ml of crystalloid fluid in the antenatal period is recommended, either alone or together with the first intravenous injection of hydralazine and crystalloid fluid.

High blood pressure:

If a woman has severe hypertension during pregnancy or after childbirth, treat her immediately with one of the following:

  • Oral and intravenous labetalol
  • Nifedipine as an oral medication
  • Hydralazine administered intravenously

How can a proper consultation help you?

Healthcare providers will want to keep an eye on the woman and the pregnancy as closely as possible for high-risk pregnancies. This will allow the foetus or mother to receive treatment before it is too late. 


Pregnant women at high risk for complications do not necessarily experience more difficulty than those at low risk. However, under the supervision of the best gynecologist in Gurgaon in maternal-foetal medicine, they undergo more monitoring than someone with a low-risk pregnancy.

At Mulberry, your problems will be dealt with with great expertise and care. We have the best facilities and staff which gives you a holistic approach.


  1. If I’m pregnant, what are the signs that I’m at high risk?

Visit a healthcare provider if you intend to get pregnant or are already pregnant. Your doctor will inspect your medical history and run tests to determine whether you are likely to have a high-risk pregnancy. 

2. Can stress cause high risks of pregnancy?

The effects of stress on pregnancy include an increased risk of preterm delivery (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy) and low-birthweight babies (less than 5 lbs, 8 oz.). 

3. What are the tips for managing a high-risk pregnancy

  • You must communicate your needs to your friends and family at this time.
  • Prepare for maternal care and delivery ahead of your due date by creating a proactive plan.
  • Your baby will benefit from your self-care if you prioritise it. 
  • Attend to your body and bear time to slow down. Allow yourself to take a break if you feel you need it.
  • If you are experiencing pregnancy issues, try to reduce stress and thoughts that trigger anxiety.
  • Your overall well-being will be boosted if you remain calm and relaxed.

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