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Pregnancies with a greater chance of complications are called "high-risk." But this doesn't mean there will be problems. The following factors may increase the risk of problems during pregnancy:
- Very young age or older than 35
- Overweight or underweight
- Problems in previous pregnancy
- Health conditions you have before you become pregnant, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer, and HIV
- Pregnancy with twins or other multiples
Health problems also may develop during a pregnancy that make it high-risk, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
Women with high-risk pregnancies need prenatal care more often and sometimes from a specially trained doctor. A maternal-fetal medicine specialist is a medical doctor that cares for high-risk pregnancies.
If your pregnancy is considered high risk, you might worry about your unborn baby's health and have trouble enjoying your pregnancy. Share your concerns with your doctor. Your doctor can explain your risks and the chances of a real problem. Also, be sure to follow your doctor's advice. For example, if your doctor tells you to take it easy, then ask your partner, family members, and friends to help you out in the months ahead. You will feel better knowing that you are doing all you can to care for your unborn baby.
Paying for prenatal care
Pregnancy can be stressful if you are worried about affording health care for you and your unborn baby. For many women, the extra expenses of prenatal care and preparing for the new baby are overwhelming. The good news is that women in every state can get help to pay for medical care during their pregnancies. Every state in the United States has a program to help. Programs give medical care, information, advice, and other services important for a healthy pregnancy.
To find out about the program in your state:
- Call 800-311-BABY (800-311-2229) – This toll-free telephone number will connect you to the Health Department in your area code.
- Call 800-504-7081 for information in Spanish.
- Call or contact your local Health Department.
You may also find help through these places:
- Local hospital or social service agencies – Ask to speak with a social worker on staff. She or he will be able to tell you where to go for help.
- Community clinics – Some areas have free clinics or clinics that provide free care to women in need.
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program– This government program is available in every state. It provides help with food, nutritional counseling, and access to health services for women, infants, and children.
- Places of worship
Medically reviewed by Steven Nelson, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology
SOURCE: Womenshealth.gov. Pregnancy: Prenatal Care and Tests. Last update: 9/27/2010