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High-Risk Obstetrics

High-risk obstetrics is the medical specialty of treating women with high-risk pregnancies. A pregnancy is considered high-risk if the mother or baby has an increased chance of having a health problem.

The following situations are considered high-risk:

If the baby…

  • has a genetic condition, such as Down syndrome
  • has kidney, lung or heart problems

If the mother…

  • is younger than 17 or older than 35
  • has a medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, asthma, lupus or epilepsy
  • uses alcohol, illegal drugs or smokes tobacco
  • has had three or more miscarriages
  • has had problems with past pregnancies (e.g., preterm labor or preeclampsia)
  • is taking certain medications (e.g., lithium)
  • has an infection (e.g., HIV, hepatitis C, chickenpox, rubella or syphilis)

Sometimes problems arise during pregnancy, even in otherwise healthy women, that cause their pregnancies to be considered high-risk. These complications include:

  • Pregnancy-related high blood pressure
  • Gestational diabetes (blood sugar levels too high)
  • Preterm labor (going into labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus)
  • Preeclampsia (a condition that causes high blood pressure and problems with kidneys and other organs)

Pregnancy with multiples is also considered a high-risk pregnancy.

Every mother-to-be hopes for an easy, trouble-free pregnancy. But the reality is, that is not always the case. IU Health has a maternal fetal medicine team that is uniquely qualified to care for women with high-risk pregnancies.

Whether you are a mother with a preexisting medical condition, such as diabetes, or you develop a health problem during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia, our team will provide you with the extra care and expertise required by your special circumstances. Our goal is to help you have the healthiest pregnancy and safest delivery possible.

Diagnosing fetal abnormalities requires knowledge, skill and experience in the latest ultrasound technology and prenatal diagnostic procedures. IU Health offers that cutting edge care in a comfortable, friendly environment.

Women and their partners often have many questions about what may happen as their pregnancy progresses. Our goal is to offer highly advanced medical expertise and the compassionate counseling you need in providing those important answers.

Mothers have access to our outstanding acute care facilities for women before, during and after delivery, and the comfort that comes with a newborn intensive care unit (NICU) at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. The around-the-clock availability of our specialists and subspecialists gives our patients unmatched peace of mind.

How We Can Help

What to Expect

Diabetic Pregnency
Diabetic Pregnancy

How We Can Help

High-Risk Obstetrics Treatment Information

From “routine” high-risk—such as gestational diabetes, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and multiple births—to the “super” high-risk—including premature labor, mothers with cardiac disease and babies with complex congenital defects—IU Health offers the full continuum of maternity care.

Highlights of our services include:


High-Risk Obstetrics Locations & Physicians

Use the search options below to find treatments available in your area.

Find a Specialist

Enter a Zip Code to find a specialist at IU Health.


High-Risk Obstetrics Support Services

Resources and information for women who are experiencing a high-risk pregnancy are available from a variety of organizations.