Children's Health and Wellness

Risk Factors

Planning a pregnancy? An important part of planning is finding out if you have any risks. Some women have a greater chance of a high-risk pregnancy because of certain factors. These include their genetic background, certain medical conditions, and lifestyle.

Pregnancy risk factors include:

  • Being younger than 18 or older than 35

  • Being underweight or overweight

  • Having a low red blood cell count (anemia) and eating an unhealthy diet

  • Having low socioeconomic status

  • Having given birth more than 4 times

  • Having a previous preterm birth (birth before 37 weeks’ gestation)

  • Having given birth to a very large or very small baby

  • Having a previous pregnancy loss

  • Having a family history of genetic disease or a previous baby with a birth defect

  • Substance use (cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs)

  • Having a medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease

  • Taking infertility medications or treatments (these raise your risk for multiple births)

Other factors can also pose a risk to your developing baby. These include high temperatures, radiation exposure, and high altitudes.

Listed below are links to other information on risk factors for pregnancy.

Online Source: Merck Manuals Online Libraryhttp://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec22/ch258/ch258b.html
Online Source: National Institute of Child Health and Human Developmenthttp://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/high_risk_pregnancy.cfm
Online Source: Medline Plushttp://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/healthproblemsinpregnancy.html
Online Editor: Sinovic, Dianna
Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Haines, Cynthia, M.D.
Date Last Reviewed:
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