High-Risk Pregnancy Care in Rockville, MD


The term “high-risk pregnancy” refers to a pregnancy that has an increased potential for complications that could affect the mother and/or baby. A normal, healthy delivery is entirely possible despite a high-risk pregnancy, but it requires special monitoring and attention.

Common High-Risk Pregnancy Conditions

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor occurs when a woman goes into labor before the 37th week. Babies who are born prematurely may not have developed fully and could be at risk for health problems. While there isn’t one main cause of premature labor, OBGYNs will look for any abnormalities of the cervix and certain vaginal bacterial infections.

Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a dangerous condition for mother and baby. It causes the blood vessels to constrict, increasing blood pressure and potentially reducing blood flow to vital organs such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. Instances of preeclampsia are reduced in women who are a healthy weight, eat a nutritious diet and get regular exercise.

Gestational Diabetes

Pregnant women who have never had diabetes before can develop gestational diabetes. The increased blood sugar levels can lead to the baby being born too big. Although gestational diabetes may disappear after delivery, it is important that symptoms are managed.

High-Risk Pregnancy Factors

If a woman exhibits one or a combination of several of the following factors, their pregnancy may be considered high-risk:

  • Maternal Age. Women who are under 17 or over 35 years of age have a greater risk of complications than those between 17 and 35. Those risks increase even more once a woman is 40 or older.
  • Medical History. If a previous pregnancy was delivered preterm, resulted in a low birth weight or required a c-section, future pregnancies will be considered high-risk. Women with diabetes, blood pressure disorders, anemia or various infections are also at risk for complications.
  • Lifestyle. Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, taking drugs, poor nutrition and un-managed weight (overweight or underweight) can all cause complications for the mother and her baby.

Important Appointments & Tests

In order to give mother and baby the best possible chance at a healthy delivery, it is recommended that women attend:

  • Preconception counseling. Before trying to get pregnant, a preconception counseling appointment will help the mother and father be better prepared for pregnancy. The OBGYN will explain any potential risks and recommend lifestyle changes in order to increase chances of a healthy pregnancy.
  • Routine Checkups. Most pregnant women have around ten prenatal appointments during their pregnancy. Women with a high-risk pregnancy may visit more, especially during the second and third trimester.

In addition to routine prenatal tests, additional screenings are recommended. Depending on circumstances, your obstetrician may choose to perform the following:

  • Targeted Ultrasound. A fetal ultrasound can provide the OBGYN with images of the baby in the uterus. The OBGYN will be able to determine if certain abnormalities or defects are present.
  • Cervical Ultrasound. Ultrasound images of the cervix may be taken to help the OBGYN determine if its length could be a factor that causes preterm labor.
  • Amniotic Fluid Test. A sample of the fluid that surrounds the baby in the uterus will be taken and tested in order to identify various genetic defects.
  • Fetal Fibronectin Test. Vaginal swabs will be tested for fetal fibronectin, which could be an indication of preterm labor.

 

Ready to get started?


If you’re pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, Capital Women’s Care can help guide you through every step of the process. To make an appointment, please call us at (301) 681-9101. You may also request an appointment with one of our highly skilled obstetricians by completing our online form.

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