Birth Center


baby sleeping with hat and blanket

High-Risk Pregnancy Program

The High-Risk Pregnancy Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center offers quality services for women who have a pregnancy considered to be high-risk. These women may have conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or any other condition that can affect theirs or their baby's health. All aspects of care are coordinated from diagnosis to delivery to long-term follow-up.

When a community physician or other care provider refers a patient to this program, highly skilled perinatologists, sonographers, and nurses works to identify risk factors or signs of genetic disorders. They also perform state-of-the-art diagnostic procedures and provide expert guidance on the method of care that will be best for mother and baby. If a high-risk patient delivers her baby at another local hospital, a specially trained transport services team brings the new mother and baby to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center as quickly as possible.

If the baby is delivered in one of our labor and delivery rooms, an obstetric anesthesiologist and neonatologist assist the obstetrician. Labor and delivery rooms have the latest technology and are staffed by nurses specifically trained to give high-risk perinatal care. If needed, more than 50 pediatric subspecialists, nursing experts and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit are also available.

This level of expertise ensures that each newborn receives complete and immediate care at the highest levels possible. The entire team shares the goal of having a safe and healthy pregnancy for mothers and babies who need specialized care.

High-Risk Pregnancy Services

We offer a number of services and tests for our patients, including prenatal care, genetic counseling, prenatal diagnosis, obstetrical consultation, delivery and newborn care. A number of tests are also available for our high-risk pregnancy patients.

  • Ultrasound is commonly called a sonogram. This test is performed by an ultrasound technologist and evaluated by a perinatologist. It is a painless procedure that uses sound waves to provide a detailed picture of your baby’s development.
  • If more information is needed than provided by a routine ultrasound, a detailed Level-2 ultrasound will be performed. The high-resolution equipment provides important information to the perinatologist within minutes of completing the examination. Initial results will be discussed with you, and a detailed report will be sent to your physician who will discuss the importance of the results with you. You may also receive a picture of your baby’s ultrasound at this time.
  • Biophysical profile is an ultrasound test monitoring fetal activity and amniotic fluid volume. It provides the doctor with information about the baby’s movements, breathing and muscle tone.
  • Stress and non-stress tests may be needed to monitor your baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy. These tests evaluate fetal heart rate responses to fetal movement.
  • Fetal echocardiogram uses sound waves to study the structure of your baby's heart before birth. You may get a limited view of your baby’s heart during a routine pregnancy ultrasound, but a fetal echocardiogram is a very detailed evaluation of your baby’s heart by a perinatologist. These are usually performed to evaluate abnormalities of cardiac structure, cardiac rhythm disturbances and disorders of cardiac function.
  • Amniocentesis is done for genetic screening and fetal maturity. Our perinatologist performs this test by using an ultrasound to determine where to insert a special needle. The doctor will insert the needle through the mother’s abdominal wall into the uterus to withdraw a small amount of amniotic fluid. It is recommended that you arrange for someone else to drive you home after this test because of mild uterine cramping that may occur following the test. You should rest the remainder of the day—and drink plenty of fluids—as directed by your physician.