Vulnerable populations include the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, the un insured, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, those with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and those with other chronic health conditions, including severe mental illness.(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2001) It may also include rural residents, who often encounter barriers to accessing health care services.(Agency for Health care Research and Quality 2004) The vulnerability of these individuals is enhanced by race, ethnicity, age, sex, and factors such as income, insurance coverage (or lack thereof), and absence of a usual source of care.1,4-8 Their health and health care problems intersect with social factors, including housing, poverty, and inadequate education.(Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2001)
According to this article: The term “high-risk pregnancy” describes a case where a pregnant woman has one or more factors that could put her or the fetus at risk for health problems. In general, a pregnancy may be considered high risk if the pregnant woman: is 35 years old or older , is 15 years old or younger, is underweight or overweight prior to becoming pregnant, is pregnant with more than one fetus, has gestational diabetes, has gone into premature labor, has had a premature baby, has had a baby with a birth defect,especially heart or genetic problems has high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, lupus, asthma, a seizure disorder, or another longstanding medical problem.(WWW.kidshealth.org/parent)
Teen are the most vulnerable for high risk pregnancy as read in this article; In 2009, a total of 409,840 infants were born to females aged 15–19 years, for a live birth rate of 39.1 per 1,000 females in this age group. Nearly two-thirds of births to females younger than age 18 and more than half of those among females aged 18–19 years are unintended. The U.S. teen birth rate fell by more than one-third from 1991 through 2005, but then increased by 5% over 2 consecutive years. Data for 2008 and 2009 indicate that the long-term downward trend has resumed. Teen pregnancy and birth rates in the United States are substantially higher than those in other Western industrialized nations.(WWW.CDC.gov)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. A portrait of the chronically ill in America, 2001. Available at: http://www.rwjf.org/f iles/publications/other/ChronicIllnessChartbook2001.pdf.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Healthcare disparities in rural areas: selected findings from the 2004 national healthcare disparities report. Available at: http://www.ahrq.gov/research/ruraldisp/rura ldispar.htm.