High-risk pregnancy

Many women have no problems with pregnancy other than the normal discomforts. Your pregnancy may be considered high risk if you experience complications or have certain medical conditions that might complicate your pregnancy.

If you experience a high-risk pregnancy or if your baby needs special care, the physicians and nursing staff at Edward-Elmhurst Health are specially trained to provide the services you need, close to home.

Some high-risk pregnancies we manage include:

  • Gestational diabetes: This is a certain kind of diabetes that develops during pregnancy and requires a specific treatment plan from your physician or midwife. We offer small group classes for women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy. Learn more about our Diabetes Center.
  • Preterm labor: When labor starts between 20 and 37 weeks of pregnancy, it’s considered preterm, or premature. Edward Hospital has been certified by the Joint Commission for exceptional care of pre-term labor patients.
  • Preeclampsia: This is a syndrome where the mother experiences high blood pressure, urinary protein and swelling, and it can be dangerous or even fatal for the mother and baby. Fortunately, preeclampsia can also be managed with proper care.
  • Multiple births: Tests in the first and second trimester can reveal if you have a twin/triplet pregnancy. If so, you will most likely get more testing throughout your pregnancy. We offer special prenatal classes to help prepare families expecting multiples. The class includes a parent panel of twin/triplet families who share tips and answer questions about having multiples. View local support clubs for families of multiples.
  • Advanced maternal age: If you will be over 35 when you deliver your baby, you will be monitored more closely for age-related risk factors.
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC): It is possible for some women to deliver vaginally if they already had a C-section. If an emergency C-section is necessary, we are fully equipped to manage your care.

Genetic counseling to evaluate risk

With a genetic counselor on staff, we are able to help you identify if you are at increased risk of passing genetic abnormalities on to your child, and what options you have.

Find a genetic counselor

OB triage for emergencies during pregnancy

There’s always someone to help you at Edward-Elmhurst. An obstetrician is available 24/7 to treat you in our designated triage area in case you think you’ve gone into labor or if any emergencies arise during your pregnancy, such as a car accident or a fall, and if your own physician isn’t immediately available. A designated anesthesiologist is also available 24/7. Our triage nursing staff members maintain advanced skill levels so you and your baby receive expert, quality obstetrics care.

Maternal Fetal Medicine for complex pregnancies

The resources of Edward-Elmhurst Health make our Maternal Fetal Medicine services available to any patient throughout our system. At the Perinatology Center at Edward and the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic at Elmhurst, you’ll receive expert care from physicians experienced in handling the most complicated cases for expectant mothers and newborns, including rare and complex conditions. 

Our team of perinatologists, nurses, ultrasonographers, a genetic counselor, social workers, perinatal sonographers, neonatologists, pediatric cardiologists, and other pediatric specialists collaborate with families to provide individualized, comprehensive care plans.

Our board-certified perinatologists provide specialized services at our two locations such as: chorionic villus sampling, amniocentesis, first trimester screening, fetal echocardiography, detailed fetal ultrasound screening, and consultation for maternal or fetal problems. For more information and to reach the Perinatology Center at Edward, call 630-527-3278. To reach the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic at Elmhurst Hospital, call 331-221-3020.

Meet our specialists

Antepartum Units for special care pregnancies

Both Edward and Elmhurst hospitals offer Antepartum (“before birth”) Units for special care pregnancies. Led by multidisciplinary teams, the Units have received Joint Commission Certification for Care of the Preterm Labor Patient.

You may be admitted to one of our Antepartum Units if your doctor decides it is necessary to monitor you or your baby's health status, identify risk factors to treat complications, or increase surveillance to prevent further problems. You may stay on the unit continuously until delivery, or you may be discharged and asked to return throughout your pregnancy.

NICU and Special Care Nursery

At Edward-Elmhurst Health, we’re fully equipped to care for babies that require special attention. Edward Hospital’s Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) — designated by Illinois as the highest distinction for neonatal care — can treat the sickest and most fragile newborns. Elmhurst Hospital’s Level IIe Special Care Nursery provides care for low birth weight and premature infants, and infants on ventilators, at 30 week’s gestation or more.

Our board-certified neonatologists and experienced neonatal nurses are available 24/7 to treat any unexpected issues that may arise for babies born early or with congenital issues. We also have a broad panel of pediatric subspecialists, including pediatric surgeons and pediatric anesthesiologists, available for consultation, if needed.

Learn more about our NICU and Special Care Nursery

Transport team

Our transport team is available 24/7 with a dedicated ambulance to transfer high-risk mothers, as well as premature infants who need pediatric specialists or an advanced level of neonatal care, to our hospitals. The team is comprised of a neonatologist, labor and delivery nurses and a respiratory therapist. Babies needing an elevated level of care are transported to Edward’s Level III NICU and, once stabilized and ready, will be transported back to their home hospital.

Your emotional well-being

If your pregnancy is high-risk, it’s not unusual to feel worried and anxious, even if you’re receiving the best care possible. Don’t ignore your feelings. If you think those feelings are turning into depression, talk to your doctor. Our behavioral health specialists can help, too.

Learn more about depression and anxiety that can start before or after delivery

Pregnancy and baby locations