Prenatal Care Health Center

The most effective way to determine pregnancy is through a pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are available over-the-counter and are considered highly accurate. Your doctor or health care provider can also do a pregnancy test. If you take a home pregnancy test and receive a positive result, schedule an appointment with your doctor to follow up. They will be able to confirm the diagnosis at this point.

How do you know if you're at risk for a high-risk pregnancy? There are many factors that can determine your probability for a high-risk pregnancy. These factors include the following:

  • being of young or old maternal age
  • being underweight or overweight
  • having had problems in previous pregnancies
  • pre-existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or HIV

Conditions such as gestational diabetes and preeclampsia are serious complications that can develop during pregnancy.

Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure during pregnancy and if ignored, can progress to eclampsia, which involves dangerously high blood pressure and convulsions.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can lead to serious problems, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage.

At the start of your pregnancy, ask your doctor to test you for these conditions and your risk of developing them. Doctors often recommend that overweight women lose weight before becoming pregnant in order to lower these risks.

It is difficult to diagnosis risk in pregnancy, especially when the woman is a first time mother. About 40 percent of the pregnant population at any given time has never before had a child. But because both gestational diabetes and preeclampsia can be dangerous or even fatal if left untreated, ask your doctor for a physical examination and blood testing, which should be able to detect these conditions.

Maintaining a regular schedule of prenatal checkups and screenings is the easiest and most effective way of diagnosing a problem with the pregnancy or any development, whether it be positive or negative.

Review Date: 
August 9, 2012
Last Updated:
January 15, 2014