High risk pregnancy

UCHealth offers comprehensive and advanced services for high risk pregnancy and newborn care.

Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists (obstetricians who specialize in caring for high risk pregnancies) provide a full continuum of care, from prenatal diagnosis through delivery and follow-up care for mother and baby. We work in collaboration with the patient’s primary OB throughout pregnancy and delivery, as well as other expert specialists in fields such as cardiology, oncology and anesthesiology to care for high risk maternal medical conditions.

When a pregnancy is high risk due to complications with the baby, the maternal-fetal medicine expert works closely with the team of specialists who will take care of the baby before and after birth to provide the best care possible during the pregnancy and after delivery.

About high risk pregnancy

Mother holding newborn on her chest

A pregnancy is considered high risk when there are medical complications affecting either the mother or the baby during pregnancy or birth. These complications can include, but are not limited to:

  • Diabetes.
  • Genetic problems found by prenatal testing and diagnosis.
  • Heart conditions affecting the mother or her baby.
  • Multiple birth.
  • Past problems with miscarriages.
  • Premature labor or birth, or past problems with them.

University of Colorado Hospital partners with Children’s Hospital Colorado and the University of Colorado School of Medicine to offer integrated maternal and fetal care for families with a known or suspected fetal anomaly.

>> Learn more about the Colorado Fetal Care Center at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Prenatal diagnosis and pregnancy management

Early and accurate diagnosis of the mother’s or baby’s medical condition is very important in managing a high risk pregnancy. Our maternal-fetal medicine specialists collaborate with UCHealth imaging specialists to offer state-of-the-art diagnostic services, including fetal MRI, fetal echocardiograms and ultrasounds, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and antepartum fetal assessment.

If a high risk pregnancy is confirmed, your maternal-fetal medicine specialist will introduce you and your family to an interdisciplinary team of adult and pediatric specialists who will work with you to manage every aspect of your pregnancy, delivery and follow-up care for you and your baby.

Our prenatal services include:

  • High risk pregnancy consultation and management.
  • Diabetes and pregnancy management.
  • First-trimester screening and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) – a prenatal test that detects abnormalities such as Down syndrome and other genetic disorders.
  • Perinatal infection management.
  • Ultrasound evaluation and diagnosis.
  • Genetic testing and counseling.
  • Home health care services.
  • Emergency transport.
  • Inpatient medical/nursing care provided in a unit specially designed to meet the needs of patients with high risk pregnancies.
  • Nutrition counseling.
  • Sleeping accommodation assistance.

Expecting couple at ultrasound session

High risk labor and delivery

UCHealth offers special delivery units at several locations for mothers managing a high risk pregnancy. These units have direct access to Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU), which offer the highest level of care available in Colorado for sick or premature infants.

Well in advance of your delivery date, your maternal-fetal medicine specialist will discuss your birth plan with you, including where to have your baby.

Newborn baby having heart checked

Pediatric & maternal care after delivery

After delivery, you and your baby will have access to the Rocky Mountain region’s top medical specialists.

If your baby needs intensive care after birth, he or she may be transferred to the neonatology team and stay in one of our state-of-the-art NICUs.

Babies with cardiac defects will be cared for by pediatric cardiologists, cardiac intensivists and pediatric cardiology nurses in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at the Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Other ongoing support services we offer, include: