High-risk pregnancy (Maternal-fetal medicine)

A high-risk pregnancy occurs when you, or your baby, face one or more challenges that raise your risk for complications. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists (high-risk pregnancy doctors) help you manage those risks and safely deliver a healthy baby.

Risk factors during pregnancy include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Age (first-time moms older than 35)
  • Changes in the baby’s genetic or chromosomal makeup
  • Being pregnant with multiples


What you should know about high-risk pregnancies:

  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking, taking illegal or unprescribed drugs, and drinking alcohol can raise your risk for pregnancy and labor complications. Additionally, these risky behaviors can increase the risk that your child will have a birth defect or disability.
  • Having one or more risk factors does not automatically mean you will have pregnancy complications. However, the more risk factors you have, the more likely you and your baby will be at risk during pregnancy and birth.

Why choose Geisinger for your high-risk pregnancy care?

  • Dedicated maternal-fetal medicine specialists: Our maternal-fetal specialists are board-certified and fellowship-trained. These credentials mean that our specialists have passed rigorous exams and have additional specialty training in treating women with high-risk pregnancies. Our providers are dedicated to ensuring that you and your newborn receive the best care and support possible.
  • Access to advanced NICUs: If your newborn requires special care, we have two dedicated neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) ready to provide the highest quality care.
  • Emotional care and support: Having a high-risk pregnancy can be a stressful situation and can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. Our dedicated women’s behavioral health providers offer support and comfort to you and your family.
  • Specialized prenatal care center: Our Center for Prenatal Pediatrics provides specialized care for moms and babies before and during delivery who are facing potential complications.

Treatment options

Our maternal-fetal medicine providers are specially trained to help you manage your risks and deliver a healthy baby.

  • Amniocentesis : A prenatal test detects chromosome abnormalities, neural tube defects and genetic disorders.
  • Fetal echocardiogram : Prenatal ultrasound looks in detail at your baby’s heart.
  • Genetic screening : A blood test helps determine the probability that your baby has a genetic abnormality.
  • Genetic counseling : Genetic counselors help parents understand the results of genetic screening tests.
  • Maternal Assistance Program : This program offered at Holy Spirit, a Geisinger Affiliate, helps mothers overcome drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Psychiatry and mental health services : We help women cope with concerns and stress related to high-risk pregnancies.
  • Telemedicine video conferencing : This option helps women who are not able to access a community clinic or hospital easily.
  • Ultrasound : A prenatal test shows an image of your baby and detects any fetal abnormalities.

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