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High Risk Pregnancy: What To Expect?

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Obstetrics and Gynaecology

14 October, 2021

What Is A High-Risk Pregnancy?

Any pregnancy where either the pregnant woman, or her fetus, or both, are at potential risk of having health problems or adverse outcomes, as compared to uncomplicated pregnancies, are labelled ‘High-Risk Pregnancies’. These women may need specialized care or treatment to have healthy outcomes. The specific type of care needed will depend on the specific risk factors, as well as the general overall health of the mother and the fetus.

Primarily the pregnancy may be at risk because of maternal, fetal or placental causes.

For High-Risk Pregnancy Treatment in Bangalore visit Manipal Hospital near you. They have the Best Gynecology Doctor in Bangalore especially trained to treat and take care of high-risk pregnancies.

Maternal Factors

  • Pre-existing Medical disorders Hypertension, Diabetes Mellitus, Kidney diseases, autoimmune conditions, epilepsy, obesity, sexually transmitted illnesses, bleeding diathesis, fibroids, cancers, thrombotic disorders, infections like zika, coronavirus etc.

  • Age: Teenage or women more than 35 years old are at a higher risk of developing High blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, genetically abnormal pregnancies. An increase in artificial reproductive techniques like IVF, ICSI etc, lead to an increase in multiple pregnancies, which puts both mother and fetuses at risk.

  • Conditions of pregnancy: Multiple pregnancies, hypertensive disorders, gestational diabetes, adherent placenta, and prematurity.

  • Past History: Poor previous pregnancy outcomes, recurrent pregnancy losses, intrauterine fetal demise, preterm delivery, hypertensive disorders, excessive blood loss at delivery, previous caesarean delivery, thrombotic disorders.

  • Previous surgical history: Certain surgeries have a bearing on the outcome of subsequent surgeries: myomectomy (removal of fibroids), surgical treatment for cancers, multiple cesarean deliveries, bariatric surgery.

Previous Medical History

Improvement in healthcare facilities are leading to the identification of cures or better control of more diseases and subsequently, women can go through pregnancy despite these conditions with better outcomes than before. For example -Post-transplant pregnancies- renal, liver or uterine, women with cardiac and renal diseases, SLE, autoimmune disorders etc, who were earlier forbidden to get pregnant are now able to do so and carry it successfully to viability.

Medications: Women may be on medications for other diseases like epilepsy, Hepatitis B, HIV, SLE etc and may require closer monitoring for the impact of disease and medication on pregnancy physiology and fetus and the impact of pregnancy on the disease and fetus.

Disease during pregnancy, Unfortunately, some women are diagnosed with cancers during pregnancy. The treatment poses a challenge requiring inputs from a multidisciplinary team comprising Obstetricians, medical & surgical oncologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, Neonatologist etc 

Lifestyle factors: Alcohol, smoking, use of recreational substances

Fetal Factors: Neonatology has undergone a revolution in the last two decades and any problems detected early and evaluated well has a much more favourable outcome.

Prematurity: Twenty - five years ago, saving a baby born at thirty - six weeks was big news! With advances in neonatology, we are now routinely able to save babies born at twenty-six weeks comfortably and are looking forward to saving even those at 24 weeks!

Fetal growth problems: Both restriction in growth, and overgrowth- macrosomia. These conditions require close monitoring and timely delivery to prevent an adverse outcome 

Fetal Structural abnormalities: Fetal Medicine has advanced by leaps and bounds and we can now diagnose babies with structural malformations well before they are born. The ability to recognize these problems early helps in multidisciplinary interactions to evolve an effective birthing plan resulting in a healthy mother and child. Examples include tracheoesophageal fistula, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and certain cardiac diseases. Such babies if undiagnosed, or not anticipated, would have surely succumbed.  

Fetal functional problems: Anemia may result due to Rh isoimmunization, or complications due to multiple gestations, may need intrauterine blood transfusions and immediate intervention at delivery in terms of airway

Certain cardiac arrhythmias in the babies can be managed with medications administered to the mother

Fetal Interventions: Chorion Villus Biopsy & Amniocentesis for the diagnosis of genetic disorders, Fetal Reductions, LASER cord coagulation for some cases of monochorionic twins, amnioreduction in cases of TOF, CDH, amnioinfusion are all possible if required

Placental factors:

The placenta is the conduit between the mother and the fetus. It is formed when the embryo implants into the uterus and establishes vascular connections that enable transportation of oxygen and nutrients from the mother to the fetus and returning waste products to the maternal circulation. Abnormalities can be with respect to:

  • Site of implantation - Placenta praevia

  • Depth of implantation - accreta, increta and percreta. 

These mothers will require transfusion of adequate blood and blood products at delivery, need for an ICU if required, a possible hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) 

Functional abnormalities: Fetal growth restriction, Less fluid (Oligoamnios) or more fluid (Polyhydramnios) around the baby, Pre-eclampsia 

Complications at Labour: These may be anticipated and unanticipated problems. 

Haemorrhage before or after delivery may be anticipated in patients with preeclampsia, previous history, presence of fibroids, large babies, polyhydramnios etc.

Convulsions may be anticipated in epileptics and poorly controlled high blood pressures in pregnancy

Cord or hand prolapse in cases of transverse lie where the baby lies horizontally instead of vertically

Shoulder dystocia in cases of big size babies, gestational diabetes 

Conditions like amniotic fluid embolism are fortunately rare!

In short, pregnancy is a long journey and can become complicated at any stage: from the stage of becoming pregnant (infertility) through the three trimesters to even after delivery! Although the pregnancy is labelled as ’high risk’, it doesn’t mean that a healthy outcome is not possible. It is important to identify and treat these women with previous pregnancies at a centre with an excellent High-Risk Pregnancy Unit that will provide holistic care. 

This unit will comprise of:

  • Experienced Obstetricians 

  • Excellent Fetal Medicine Unit

  • Neonatologist, with a well equipped NICU

  • Anaesthesiologists, 

  • Operation Theater complex

  • 24x7 blood and blood products availability

  • Round the clock Intensivist with a well-equipped ICU

  • Units managing the medical disorders of the adult - endocrinologist, rheumatologist, nephrologist, urologist, neurologist

  • Units managing medical and surgical problems of the child- Paediatric Surgeon, cardiologist, nephrologist 

  • Interventional Radiologist

  • Geneticist

  • Clinical Psychologist,

We, at Manipal Hospital, have been providing care to all women with high-risk pregnancies ever since its inception. Our greatest strengths are our dedicated team of doctors, nurses and support staff ranging across multiple specialities and subspecialties, excellent feto-maternal sonologists, globally reputed neonatologists & NICU, a well equipped and dedicated multidisciplinary ICU, state-of-art OT manned by anaesthesiologists round the clock, efficient laboratory services, not to forget our well-stocked excellent blood bank!

We are happy to launch this High-Risk Pregnancy (HRP) Clinic -for an appointment, contact Ms Sumitra Ph No:+91 9886397310, who will briefly understand the problem and organize for a meeting with the doctors from the relevant multiple specialities to ease your problems

We are also very happy to launch this HRP web corner- which will provide you with some insight into the various high-risk pregnancy conditions every week! If there is any particular condition you would like us to address, please do so in the chatbox and we will address it in the following week!

We begin the next week with ‘Prematurity’.

Manipal Hospital is the  Best Gynaecology Hospital in India having trained gynecologist in India who has experience diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions, from common to complex.



HOD & Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology


Dr. Gayathri Karthik Nagesh

Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Old Airport Road - Bengaluru