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Perinatal Care

Special care for high-risk pregnancies

A pregnant woman embracing a child, representing care at Scripps Clinic for high-risk pregnancies.

Special care for high-risk pregnancies

Most pregnancies proceed smoothly, but some conditions may increase the possibility for complications during your pregnancy and delivery. A perinatologist, also known as a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, is a physician that specializes in high-risk pregnancies. Scripps Clinic perinatologists work with your obstetricians and the labor and delivery staff to coordinate the safest and healthiest birth for you and your baby.

Compassionate perinatology

Our perinatology department works closely with our neonatologists to ensure that both you and your baby have a safe delivery and the proper care for a lifetime of good health.

You may be considered to have a high-risk pregnancy for several reasons including:

  • You have diabetes or you develop gestational diabetes 
  • You have a history of heart disease or high blood pressure 
  • You are over the age of 35
  • You have a history of past pregnancy problems including preterm labor and repetitive miscarriage 
  • You develop preeclampsia, which is pregnancy induced hypertension
  • You have an infectious disease including hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
  • You have renal or gastrointestinal disease

Your pregnancy may also be considered high-risk if your prenatal tests have revealed any fetal anomalies, suspected birth defects or if it is a multiple birth.


  • Ultrasound imaging
  • Genetic counseling
  • In-hospital antepartum care
  • Fetal diagnostic procedures

Gestational diabetes care

During pregnancy, some women develop a temporary form of diabetes called gestational diabetes. This condition is caused by pregnancy hormones interfering with the insulin in your blood, causing higher blood sugar levels.

You may be at risk for gestational diabetes if:

  • You are over 35
  • You have a family history of diabetes
  • You were overweight before pregnancy
  • You have high blood pressure (also known as hypertension)

Proper management of gestational diabetes can prevent complications during pregnancy and delivery. The nationally recognized Scripps Whittier Diabetes Institute offers special programs for women who have pre-existing diabetes (before becoming pregnant), or who develop gestational diabetes.

One-on-one appointments help you manage your blood sugar during pregnancy. The Whittier staff will work with obstetricians, advanced practice nurses, perinatologists, nutritionists and neonatologist to ensure a safe delivery.