Higher risk pregnancy

Not all pregnancies are low risk, but this does not mean that you can anticipate a difficult time. With the right support and team, your pregnancy is likely to be healthy and your birth straightforward.

What is a higher risk pregnancy?

A higher risk pregnancy means that you, your pregnancy history or your baby have an identified risk factor for problems in your pregnancy.

Common examples include if you have high blood pressure, an elevated body mass index, a high risk of pre-eclampsia, a pre-existing medical condition, or your baby is known to be small (called fetal growth restriction) or at significant risk of becoming so.

There are many other examples and this list is a subset of possibilities.

Can I keep my pregnancy healthy?

In summary, yes, you can do a great deal for the health of a future pregnancy. A pre-pregnancy review with your doctor is always a good idea as is keeping your BMI healthy, taking folic acid 0.5mg/day for 3 months before pregnancy and keeping a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and avoidance of smoking, alcohol and other drugs.

Your family doctor or own obstetrician-gynaecologist is well positioned to ensure your general medical condition and gynaecological health is optimised and you are on the best possible treatments that are safe with pregnancy in mind. With the option of some newer preventative therapies such as aspirin for elevated pre-eclampsia risk and progesterone for prior preterm birth from early in your pregnancy where appropriate, you can improve the chance of a healthy baby at full term.

How is a higher risk pregnancy cared for?

A higher risk pregnancy generally requires more medical input and often extra scans and blood tests.

The collaborative care stream, available at all Monash Women’s sites, is designed with higher risk pregnancies in mind. This stream allows the extra tests you need to keep you, and you baby, healthy with the right visits at the right time with extra medical input where it is needed. Additionally, all Monash Women’s sites have a birth suite with appropriate mix of staffing to care for a potentially more complex birth.

Many women with higher risk pregnancies will have extra ultrasounds for growth and wellbeing of your baby in the third trimester and these ultrasounds are available in both the Perinatal Care Centre and in Diagnostic Imaging.

Selected women may require very specialised care due to serious or rare maternal or fetal conditions and these women are generally cared for by the Maternal Fetal Medicine team (Amber team).

Specialty clinics and support at Monash Women’s