High Risk Pregnancy
Dr Danie Schneider
Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Somerset West

High Risk Pregnancy

If your pregnancy is ‘high risk’, it means that you need extra care in order to have both a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

High-risk pregnancies can still be healthy pregnancies, but they do require more medical supervision than normal pregnancies. About one in every 10 pregnancies is classified as high risk. If you are being treated for a lifelong or chronic condition, you may have known for a long time that becoming pregnant carries additional risks. If you suspect that you will be at high risk while pregnant due to a chronic medical problem or if you had problems during a previous pregnancy, it is wise to schedule an appointment with us before falling pregnant. (See also prenatal and preconception page.)

Did you know?

  • You could have a high-risk pregnancy because of a problem that develops for the first time during your pregnancy?
  • An obstetrician’ s expertise lies in identifying high-risk factors and arranging the appropriate tests, referrals and monitoring to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your baby.
  • The secret to a healthy pregnancy lies in adequate prenatal care delivered by a qualified, experienced obstetrician.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I be at high risk during my pregnancy?

Many factors contribute to a high-risk pregnancy. You may be considered high risk if you had problems in a previous pregnancy. This does not mean you will definitely experience the same problem again, but you and your baby will be monitored closely as your pregnancy progresses. Examples that you might have experienced in a previous pregnancy include preterm birth, growth problems in the baby and post-partum bleeding.

Some chronic health problems that could cause a high-risk pregnancy include high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, kidney disease, thyroid disease, HIV and obesity. It is advisable to schedule a preconception visit before falling pregnant, since these conditions require special care.

If you are a teenager or older than 35, you and your baby will require close monitoring. If you carry multiple babies, then you should schedule your first visit early and expect to be seen more often than other mothers.

What can I do to be as healthy as possible?

The most important thing you can do is to book an obstetrician with the necessary experience and to attend all your appointments. You and Dr Schneider will work closely together and you will be given ample information and time to ask questions. The customised care you and your baby need depends on your particular circumstances and on the reason your pregnancy is high risk. Additional tests will be recommended that are specific to your condition, and it is important to take medication as prescribed.