High-Risk Pregnancy

High-risk pregnancies occur when certain medical conditions jeopardize your health or the health of your unborn baby. At Allegheny Health Network (AHN), women with high-risk pregnancies receive specialized care from OB-GYNs who have advanced training in diagnosing and treating pregnancy complications and fetal conditions. These physicians are known as maternal-fetal medicine physicians or perinatologists.

What is a high-risk pregnancy?

Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, increase a mother’s risk of pregnancy complications. Fetal conditions (those that affect unborn babies) also increase pregnancy risk. Fetal conditions are congenital, meaning that a child is born with them. Most fetal conditions occur for no known reason; however, some are inherited. 

High-risk pregnancy care at Allegheny Health Network: Why choose us?

Our high-risk pregnancy care team is always by your side, providing you with:

  • A dedicated team: Our team of high-risk specialists takes a collaborative approach to your care, informing and involving your referring physician at every step. Your referring OB-GYN has 24-hour access to one of our high-risk physicians for consultations or emergencies.
  • Advanced technology: We use the latest diagnostic technology to provide you with accurate information about medical conditions and treatment options. We want you to feel confident making educated decisions about the care plan for you and your unborn child.
  • Emotional support: Our women’s behavioral health counselors help you cope with the stress of a complicated pregnancy or caring for a baby with health problems. We help you navigate every step of the journey, from pregnancy and childbirth to newborn care.
  • Genetics counseling: We offer genetic counseling before and during pregnancy to assess health risks to you and your unborn baby. Our reproductive geneticists and genetic counselors provide insight into genetic tests and treatments for inherited conditions.
  • Specialized newborn care: Babies born with health problems receive high-level medical care at our level II and level III newborn intensive care units (NICU). If your baby has a serious medical condition like a heart defect that requires immediate intervention, we partner with nationally recognized children’s hospitals, including Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and Shriners Hospitals for Children in Erie. Find out more about our NICUs.

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Top-ranked women's care.

AHN West Penn is Pittsburgh's highest-rated hospital for OB-GYN care.

High-risk pregnancy tests at AHN

We use the latest tools to diagnose, monitor, and treat pregnancy problems. Depending on the specific needs of you and your unborn baby, our physicians may recommend one or more of these highly specialized tests:

  • Ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to create a visual image of your baby, placenta, and uterus. We conduct 3-D and 4-D ultrasounds for diagnostic purposes only.
  • Doppler ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves measure blood flow to your unborn baby and checks for blood circulation problems. This test also helps identify conditions caused by incompatible blood types between mother and child.
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): Your physician takes a sample of placental tissue to test for conditions like Tay-Sachs disease, hemophilia, and Down syndrome.
  • Amniocentesis: Your physician takes a sample of amniotic fluid to test for genetic disorders and neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The test can also gauge your unborn baby’s lung maturity.
  • Genetic testing: Genetic tests can detect cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and other genetic disorders.
  • Fetal echocardiogram: This ultrasound imaging test assesses the development of your unborn baby’s heart.
  • Fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This noninvasive imaging procedure provides detailed information about your unborn baby’s organs and anatomical structures. This test takes place with experts at nearby children’s hospitals. 

Care for Complicated Fetal Conditions

On the rare chance your baby needs highly specialized fetal care, AHN works alongside the Johns Hopkins Center for Fetal Therapy to deliver just that.

Locations for AHN high-risk pregnancy services

AHN hospitals serve as regional referral centers for high-risk pregnancies. We provide high-risk pregnancy care at outreach sites throughout western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including:

In Pennsylvania:

In West Virginia:

  • Wheeling Hospital, Wheeling
  • Weirton Medical Center, Weirton

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN pregnancy and newborn services.

AHN’s West Penn Hospital is top rated in western PA by US News & World Report. Western PA refers to AHN’s 15-county footprint including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Westmoreland, Erie, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Somerset, Mercer, Venango, Crawford, and Warren.