A high-risk pregnancy is a pregnancy that is more likely to result in health problems for the mom or fetus. Women who are over 35, overweight, carrying multiples, or have a history of miscarriages and premature birth are at higher risk for pregnancy complications. So are teen moms and African-American women, although doctors don’t know why. (Watch Sharon’s story.) Combining diabetes and pregnancy can result in health problems for mom and baby, and women with chronic disease are more likely to be high risk. Women who have no known risks may also develop pregnancy-related problems, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or incompetent cervix, and become high risk.
But having a high-risk pregnancy isn’t the same as having a difficult pregnancy or poor outcome. And all pregnant women can—and should—take steps to manage and lower their risk.