Expecting a child is one of the most exciting times in a parent’s life, but it can be frightening if a pregnancy is considered high risk.  

So exactly what is a high-risk pregnancy and who is at risk?

Dr. Phil Solomon , an OB-GYN at Novant Health Carmel OB/GYN in Charlotte, North Carolina, said a pregnancy can be high risk if a woman has advanced maternal age, preexisting medical conditions, a history that includes a previously complicated pregnancy, genetic issues in the family or abnormal ultrasound findings.  

More than 600 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .  

Solomon said that if a pregnancy is deemed high risk for any of the above indications, a referral can be made to Novant Health high-risk specialists, also called maternal-fetal medicine doctors. These specialists have training beyond routine obstetrics to aid in the diagnosis and management of high-risk pregnancies. Further testing, high-level sonograms and access to genetic counselors are tools maternal-fetal doctors use to help ensure a safe delivery.  

Twin pregnancies, history of preterm delivery, pre-existing diabetes and hypertension are common conditions that the general OB-GYN comes across daily. “We encourage patients to call as soon as possible once they have a positive pregnancy test, or even prior to conceiving, if they know they might have what is considered a high-risk pregnancy . This allows a proactive approach,” Solomon said.

Solomon works closely with maternal-fetal specialists to help manage the pregnancy if something should warrant a second opinion. “We can also consult with the specialist before the patient is pregnant, so we can follow the pregnancy together from the very beginning,” he said. “High-risk pregnancies aren’t always identified before delivery begins, and it provides security to have this extra support if a high-risk situation presents itself.”

“Having practiced in other cities over the years and seeing other models, the relationship the obstetricians have with our maternal-fetal colleagues is one that works well for all involved — most importantly, the patient and her family,” Solomon said.  

New Women’s Center offers one-stop shop for new moms

Expectant patients of Novant Health Carmel OB/GYN will soon deliver at the new two-story, nearly 27,000-square-foot Women’s Center at Novant Health Matthews Medical Center , which opens in early August. The center will be a one-stop shop for the community’s maternity, lactation and gynecological needs.  

Mothers and families of premature babies or babies born with health concerns will receive care in the facility’s expanded level II neonatal intensive care unit. The entire facility is protected with a state-of-the art infant security system. Mothers and babies in both high-risk and routine pregnancies will have access to board-certified maternal-fetal medicine specialists and neonatologists. Experienced providers will manage the health concerns of both mom and baby before, during and after pregnancy.  

The Women’s Center will have its own parking area and entrance as well as a separate waiting area for patient’s families. The center will feature three triage rooms where pregnant women will be evaluated to determine if they require admission. There will also be two antepartum (pre-delivery) rooms dedicated to women at more than 20 weeks’ gestation who are not yet ready to deliver but who need inpatient care for their medical conditions. Every exam and delivery room will provide mom with a comfortable, designated space to receive care at any stage of her pregnancy.  

The new Women’s Center will add 10 new labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum rooms to the hospital, bringing Matthews Medical Center to a total of 30. The delivery suites will each have a private balcony, guest sleeper chair and full bathrooms with jetted baths, shower, hair dryer and more.  

Patients at Novant Health Carmel OB-GYN, Novant Health Southeast OB/GYN, Novant Health Bradford Clinic Obstetrics & Gynecology and Arboretum Obstetrics & Gynecology will have the option to deliver at the Women’s Center at Matthews Medical Center. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and are interested in delivering at the Women’s Center can call one these clinics to schedule an appointment. Families who are in the process of planning their pregnancy or are currently pregnant are welcome to visit the center or take a virtual tour. 

Click here to take a virtual tour of one of the birthing suites. 

Childbirth is unpredictable — but thinking through your preferences ahead of time can make you feel more confident the day of. Download our birth preparation guide.