Health Library

Health Library

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.

Alcohol and Pregnancy

Smoking and Pregnancy

Illegal Drug Use and Pregnancy

Medications and Pregnancy

Medical Conditions and Pregnancy

Risk Factors - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Haines, Cynthia, M.D.
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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