Skip to Main Content
Multiples Obstetrics & Gynecology

High-risk pregnancy

Being pregnant with multiples doesn't necessarily mean that your pregnancy will be problematic. However, women carrying multiples do have a higher chance of developing complications such as high blood pressure and preterm labor. For this reason, all multiple pregnancies are considered high-risk.

Prenatal Care

Due to the higher risk of complications, women expecting multiples require special prenatal care. At UCSF, some of the differences in prenatal care include:

  • More Frequent Visits We schedule prenatal visits more frequently than for a singleton pregnancy, so we can watch for early signs of complications.
  • Additional Testing Because multiples and their moms are more likely to develop complications, they need more tests to diagnose problems and monitor fetal development. Ultrasounds are performed every four to six weeks to ensure that your babies are growing normally. You also may decide to have additional genetic testing, although it can be more complicated to test multiples than singletons. Your provider or a genetic counselor at the Prenatal Diagnosis Center can answer any questions you have about which tests are best for you.

UCSF's Great Expectations prenatal education program offers special classes for families expecting multiples.

Premature Birth

One of the reasons multiple pregnancies are considered higher risk is because 50 percent of them deliver prematurely. A premature delivery occurs prior to 37 weeks of gestation, while a normal full-term pregnancy lasts 38 to 42 weeks. Every effort is made to prolong your pregnancy as long as possible, to reduce some of the risks that may occur when babies are delivered prematurely. Premature infants may have problems with breathing and digesting.

Should your babies be born early or experience any other complications that require the care of a neonatologist — a pediatrician specializing in the care of sick newborns — access to renowned experts and services is available at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, one of the highest-ranked pediatric programs in California. The hospital has state-of-the-art facilities to care for premature newborns, including the Intensive Care Nursery.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.

Recommended reading

Anemia and Pregnancy

During the last half of pregnancy, your body makes more red blood cells which can cause Anemia. Learn more about causes and prevention here.

Birth Center Tour

Congratulations on your pregnancy! This video and FAQ will guide you through what to expect before and after you arrive at the hospital.

Coping With Common Discomforts of Pregnancy

Pregnancy produces many physical changes. Aside from weight and body shape, other alterations in your body chemistry and function take place. Learn more.

Diabetes in Pregnancy

Gestational diabetes refers to diabetes that is diagnosed during pregnancy. Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. Learn more.

Dietary Recommendations for Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in about 7 percent of all pregnancies. It usually arises in the second half of pregnancy and goes away as soon as the baby is born.

Domestic Violence and Pregnancy

Domestic violence is the most common health problem among women during pregnancy. It greatly threatens both the mother's and baby's health. Learn more here.

Eating Right Before and During Pregnancy

It is important to get the nutrients you need both before getting pregnant and during your pregnancy. Find more nutrition information including macros here.

Exercise During Pregnancy

Most women can, and should, engage in moderate exercise during pregnancy. Exercise can help you stay in shape and prepare your body for labor and delivery

FAQ: Prenatal Tests

Commonly asked questions regarding Prenatal Tests including, types available, positive screenings, diagnostic testing, health insurance coverage, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Zika Virus

If you're currently expecting or plan on becoming pregnant soon, the Zika virus is probably on your mind. Here are answers to some common concerns about Zika.

Gestational Diabetes: Counting Carbs

Counting your carbohydrate intake due to gestational diabetes? Use these menus, each of which contains 30 grams of carbohydrates, to simplify your dieting.

HIV and Pregnancy

If you are pregnant, we recommend you be tested for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) even if you do not think you are at risk. Learn more here.

Recognizing Premature Labor

Premature labor occurs between the 20th and 37th week of pregnancy, when uterine contractions cause the cervix to open earlier than normal. Learn more.

Sex During Pregnancy

The pregnancy may alter how a woman and her partner feel about making love, and differences in sexual need may arise. Learn more here.

Substance Use During Pregnancy

While pregnant, it is best to eat well, stay healthy and avoid ingesting anything that might be harmful to the mother's or baby's health. Learn more.

Seeking care at UCSF Health

Expand Map