What is a high-risk pregnancy?
Both older and younger mums may have higher risks of pregnancy complications.
Pre-existing medical conditions such as
- high blood pressure,
increase the risk in a pregnancy.
Your family history can also have an impact on how your pregnancy goes. There is a link between any difficulties you may have had falling pregnant, any previous pregnancy losses, either miscarriage or stillbirths, and the risk of complication in your current pregnancy. This is where you deserve to have an unrushed consultation, where I create the space to look at your medical history and your fertility journey.
"It is perhaps easier to define what a low-risk pregnancy is. Mothers aged 18-35 who are fit and healthy, conceived easily, are not overweight, do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs and without significant personal or family history, form the lowest risk group of women in pregnancy."
All risk factors for complications in pregnancy are additive, some more so than others. In other words, they do add up and that is why taking the time to work out a personalised journey for your pregnancy is so important. This is also why I consider it my role to build a relationship with you, so we can manage the test results and the information together, and so you have a clear view on where you are at.
The exact degree of risk for your pregnancy will depend on your unique combination of risk factors. We will collect history and test results to help make well-informed choices.
High-risk pregnancy Obstetrician
Becoming high-risk during pregnancy
High-risk pregnancy Obstetrics
Minimising high-risk in pregnancy
- regular exercise,
- good mental health,
- avoid caffeine,
- not smoking,
- not drinking,
- not using illicit drugs.
Folic acid (500mcg or more) will help your baby’s neural tube (developing brain and spinal cord) develop properly and should be taken from 3 months before you start trying to conceive until week 12 of your pregnancy. If there is any history of neural tube defects in your family then high dose folic acid (5mg) is best.
We should not forget the role a man’s health plays in the success of a pregnancy. 50% of the genetic material for a baby comes from the father so ensuring his sperm has the highest quality DNA is vital.
Age and high-risk
Age is always important in pregnancy. It is the number one factor in determining egg quality. A woman is born with all of the eggs she will ever have, so as she gets older, so do her eggs. Older eggs are more likely to produce pregnancies in which the chromosomes are abnormal. If an extra chromosome 21 is present the pregnancy has Down’s syndrome. Most chromosomal abnormalities either do not produce recognisable pregnancies (you would never know that you have been briefly pregnant) or result in miscarriage. Egg age explains the rapid drop in female fertility from the late thirties onward.
Once a woman is in her early forties she is also more at risk of pregnancy complications such as preterm rupture of membranes, preterm labour, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
Twins and high-risk
Twins’ pregnancies can be delightful. I have twin nephews myself who are gorgeous boys. Not all twin pregnancies are the same though. Monochorionic pregnancies, sharing a placenta, have a 15% chance of twin-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) and require expert monitoring and care. All twin pregnancies are at increased risk for early delivery and preeclampsia. Vaginal twin delivery can be an amazing experience and can be done safely in most cases. Where possible I try for vaginal twin delivery.
Visit AMBA, Australian Multiple Birth Association, for more information
IVF and high-risk
High-risk Obstetrician Perth
Previous high-risk pregnancy
"Managing risks is all about knowing your history. For example, if you have had preeclampsia during your previous pregnancy, we will use aspirin in your current pregnancy."
I am high-risk: FAQs
Will I be closely monitored?
Will my baby be healthy when I am high-risk?
Is a high-risk pregnancy the same as a high-risk birth?
Why Dr Richard Murphy as your high-risk obstetrician?
Firstly… I really enjoy Obstetrics and I hope that most couples can enjoy the experience of pregnancy, delivery and starting a family as positively as possible.
With expert and specialist care, you will get the best possible outcome for both you and your baby.
My wife and I lost our first baby at 25 weeks. This was the most awful time of our lives. I work hard to prevent this happening to any other parents. It has given me a very deep understanding of the risks, both medical and as a human being.