High-Risk Pregnancy

A high-risk pregnancy is any pregnancy where there could be health problems for mother or baby. And while the term “high risk” sounds scary, it simply means that extra special attention must be paid to both. Certain health factors can increase a mother’s chance of having a high-risk pregnancy, including Diabetes, Cancer, High Blood Pressure, Kidney Disease, or Epilepsy. In addition, your pregnancy may be high risk if:

  • you are a smoker
  • you use alcohol in excess
  • you use illegal drugs
  • you are having a multiple pregnancy (twin, triplets, etc)
  • you have had three or more miscarriages
  • your baby has been found to have a genetic condition
  • you have an infection such as HIV or Hepatitis-C
  • you are taking certain medications, such as lithium, phenytoin (such as Dilantin), valproic acid (Depakene), or carbamazepine (such as Tegretol)
  • in a previous pregnancy, your baby was born with a genetic condition such as Down Syndrome, you had seizures or pre-term labor

The Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialists at the University of Alabama Birmingham Women & Infants Center are available on-site 24 hours a day to manage problems associated with high-risk pregnancies. Our physicians are experts at managing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, Rh sensitization, multiple births, premature delivery risk, and other potential complications. 

MFM specialists at the UAB have access to treatments that often are not yet available elsewhere, which can reduce the chance of a recurrent preterm birth by one-third to one-half. We are one of the nation’s most advanced MFM programs, as evidenced by being one of only 14 centers participating in the national Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network for high-risk pregnancy research. To support our research we developed Alabama’s first OB/GYN Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, which implemented the first comprehensive first-trimester screening program and the first integrated first- and second-trimester screening program for fetal abnormalities.

Patients at UAB have access to the most up-to-date care, including first-trimester diagnosis, genetic testing and counseling, and 4D-ultrasound and fetal imaging. UAB’s team includes only board-certified MFM specialists as well as specialists with genetics certification. Our program also includes a personal labor nurse and three anesthesia specialists.

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