High Risk Pregnancy

Preterm Delivery

Many pregnant women aren’t aware of their risks for having a premature baby. Understanding your risks can help you play an active role in your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Some premature babies are fine; they are just small. However, preterm birth is the most common cause of health problems in newborns today. Babies born before 37 weeks may not have had enough time to develop, and may be at risk for health problems. Some of these problems can be treated in the hospital’s NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) after birth. Others may result in lifelong problems, including developmental issues and learning disabilities.

Certain lifestyle factors may put a woman at greater risk for preterm labor. These factors include:

  • Late or no prenatal care
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using illegal drugs
  • Exposure to the medication DES
  • Domestic violence, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
  • Lack of social support
  • Stress

Certain medical conditions during pregnancy may increase the likelihood that a woman will have preterm labor. These conditions include:

  • Previous preterm birth
  • Twins or triplets
  • Cervical or uterine abnormalities

Other medical conditions that may increase the likelihood of preterm labor:

  • Urinary tract infections, vaginal infections, sexually transmitted infections
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Clotting disorders (thrombophilia)
  • Bleeding from the vagina
  • Certain birth defects in the baby
  • Being underweight before pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Short time period between pregnancies (less than 6-9 months between birth and the beginning of the next pregnancy)

Preexisting Medical Conditions

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Blood Clotting Disorders
  • Autoimmune Disorders (Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc.)
  • Depression & Anxiety

It is important for you to discuss any conditions or concerns with your doctor.