Maternal-Fetal Medicine

High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic

What Constitutes a High-Risk Pregnancy?

If you have any of the conditions or circumstances outlined below, your pregnancy is likely to be considered high-risk by the experts at the UI Hospitals & Clinics. Outcomes for babies born from high-risk pregnancies may do significantly better if they are placed in a Level 4 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) such as the NICU at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which has the only Level 4 NICU in Iowa.

When pregnancy takes an unexpected turn and complications arise, it is important to know that there are physicians who specialize in the care of the unexpected. You may only need to see a high-risk obstetrician for a consultation and treatment options before returning to your primary physician for the management of the complication. However, some complications will require the high-risk obstetrician to assume the management of your pregnancy until the baby is delivered.

Our Team of High-Risk Pregnancy Experts Sees Patients With Conditions or Symptoms That Include:

  • Advanced maternal age (over age 35)
  • Blood problems (sickle cell anemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenia purpura (ITP))
  • Cancer (lymphoma, melanoma, or other cancers)
  • Cardiovascular problems (congenital heart disease, arrhythmia, cardiac anomalies, or cardiomyopathies)
  • Diabetes (type 1, type 2, gestational diabetes mellitus, or other endocrine disorders)
  • Fibroids
  • First trimester screening abnormalities
  • Gastrointestinal disease (Crohn's disease or pancreatitis)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension or preeclampsia)
  • History of previous complications
  • Incompetent cervix
  • Intrauterine growth restriction
  • Liver problems (hepatitis, cirrhosis, or transplant)
  • Miscarriages (three or more in first trimester)
  • Molar pregnancies
  • Multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Neurological problems (stroke, multiple sclerosis, seizures, myasthenia gravis, or pseudotumor cerebri)
  • Preterm labor
  • Stillbirth (death of a fetus during pregnancy)
  • Uterine abnormalities

Our Services Include:

  • Amniocentesis
  • Cordocentesis (fetal blood sampling)
  • Counseling services for families regarding options for treatment, follow-up, and future childbearing
  • CVS (Chorionic villus sampling)
  • Diabetic evaluation, education, monitoring and management; glucose tolerance tests are performed for monitoring
  • Dietary consultation services as needed
  • Intrauterine transfusion (IUT) for Rh disease and other disorders
  • Nonstress tests (antenatal testing for fetal well-being)
  • Nursing evaluation of patient educational needs
  • Ongoing medical evaluation and treatment
  • Postpartum evaluation
  • Social service counseling as needed
  • Specialized ultrasound testing to rule out anomalies

High-risk pregnancy care, close to home

If you’re at risk for complications during pregnancy, you want to be sure you’re getting the best care available. We bring the experts and resources of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic to your local doctor’s office.

Our telemedicine service lets you and your doctor meet live with a UI Health Care high-risk obstetrician without having to travel to Iowa City. We even have ultrasound technicians on-site who have been specially trained at the UI Hospitals & Clinics High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic so that an ultrasound can be performed during the telemedicine visit.

UI Health Care’s Maternal-Fetal Medicine telemedicine service offers:

  • Live virtual appointments with high-risk obstetricians at UI Hospitals & Clinics who can chat with you and make recommendations for your care plan
  • Locally conducted ultrasound immediately viewable by you and your high-risk obstetrician in Iowa City
  • The full resources of the UI Hospitals & Clinics High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic, including experts in fetal subspecialties, genetic counselors, and clinicians who are on top of the latest trends and research in maternal-fetal medicine
  • Immediate referrals to the UI Hospitals & Clinics High-Risk Pregnancy Clinic for patients who need more in-depth care

You’ll still get your routine prenatal care from your doctor, and our goal is to keep you close to home when your baby is born.

About Your Visit

Our fetal diagnosis care team is dedicated to helping patients identify potential pregnancy complications, educate patients about their testing options, and navigate any unexpected outcomes.

Your care team may include maternal-fetal medicine specialists (high-risk obstetricians), prenatal genetic counselors, sonographers, nurses, and trainees.

What to expect at your appointment:

After you check in, you will take a seat in the waiting room until your name is called.


A sonographer will perform an ultrasound scan to evaluate your baby’s growth and development.

Team Meeting

Then, your care team will meet privately to review the scan and discuss your medical history.

Results and Plan

After the care team meets, they will come back into the room to discuss the ultrasound results with you. If needed, the care team will help develop a plan to manage the rest of your pregnancy.

In some cases, a prenatal genetic counselor will meet with you to explain your results in more detail, present additional testing options, provide support, and offer helpful resources.

Please note: It is our clinic policy that no videos, pictures, or recordings of any type are taken during your appointment.

Care Team