While a majority of women go onto have normal pregnancies, an unfortunate few have complicated pregnancies that are riddled with problems. Most of the complications that occur are beyond the control of the mother and happen for reasons that cannot be explained. Here is a list of common pregnancy complications that can prove to be dangerous if not addressed with medical intervention.
Common Pregnancy Complications
The first trimester is considered critical because it is at this time that most miscarriages occur. Miscarriages occur when the foetus spontaneously aborts on its own. It can happen anytime during the first three months. Late miscarriages in the second trimester also occur though they are extremely rare.
Miscarriages occur due to foetal abnormalities or a less than optimal uterine environment. They can also occur due to a hormonal imbalance. The common symptoms of miscarriage are bleeding, uterine cramps, spotting and expulsion of the foetus. Bed rest and timely medication may prevent a miscarriage especially if its likelihood is anticipated.
This is an abnormal pregnancy in which the egg is fertilized in the fallopian tube itself and does not implant in the uterine wall. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy, which occurs anywhere outside the mother’s uterus.
Bleeding and severe abdominal pain are the common symptoms. Sometimes the egg may also implant in the abdomen or in the ovary itself. The pregnancy needs to be terminated immediately as it cannot sustain and can pose a serious health hazard to the mother.
Gestational diabetes is also called as pregnancy induced diabetes. It occurs due to the fluctuating hormone levels, which makes the cells in your body less responsive to insulin. This leads to very high or very low blood sugar levels. Even women with no previous history of gestational diabetes may develop the complication. The pancreas cannot keep up with the growing demand of insulin and this can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Uncontrolled gestational diabetes is risky for both the mother and the unborn baby. It can lead to birth complications, stillbirths and abnormalities in the foetus. Luckily, for women, gestational diabetes is easily diagnosed in the second trimester due to routine blood sugar tests that are carried out. These tests are compulsory and are carried out on all pregnant women. Women who have a family history of diabetes are more likely to develop gestational diabetes. The diabetes can be brought under control with blood sugar monitoring and a strict control over the maternal diet.
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs in women due to very high blood pressure. Large amounts of protein may also be detected in your urine after the 20th week. It can range from mild to severe. It generally exacerbates in the second half of the pregnancy. Most doctors wait eagerly for the 37th week to get completed and deliver the baby right away to prevent complications. High blood pressure means, lesser blood flow to the growing baby.
This is manifested in the form of poor or retarded growth, placental abruption and very little amniotic fluid. This of course occurs in very severe cases of preeclampsia. If the blood pressure is monitored and kept under control, your baby and you have a good chance of sailing through. Still, most doctors do not take a risk and deliver the baby as soon as possible. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a condition called as eclampsia in which seizures occur. The common signs before the onset of a seizure are blurring of vision, weight gain and headaches. This may be followed by abdominal pain and mental confusion.
Once you get pregnant, the cervix, which is also called as the neck of the womb, is plugged with cervical mucus and acts as a barrier to prevent germs and bacteria from entering the womb. The cervix remains firm, long and closed until such time you go into labour. Once labour starts, the mucous plug is dislodged and you are able to deliver a baby.
In cervical incompetency, the cervix begins to soften, efface and dilate much before the actual due date. This might happen in the beginning of the third trimester or even in the second trimester. It can lead to pre-term labour, premature rupture of membranes and miscarriages. Generally, women who conceive twins have a greater likelihood of developing cervical incompetency. If you have had a history, the doctor will conduct routine vaginal ultrasounds to check the position of your cervix.
Severe Pregnancy Nausea
This is also called as hyperemises gravidarum. This is a condition in which the woman suffers from severe nausea and vomiting to the extent that she becomes dehydrated and needs to be hospitalized. Scores of women suffer from this condition in the first trimester of pregnancy. The acute nausea and vomiting occur due to the fluctuating hormones in the body.
Excessive nausea can lead to the release of ketones in the blood. This occurs when blood sugar levels dip and the body begins to break down the fat supplies of the body to fulfil its energy requirements. The condition needs intervention. Often the woman is put on saline drips and is advised bed rest. The nausea gradually disappears on its own after the first trimester. There is no definite cure for this ailment.
Placenta previa is a condition in which the placenta moves down towards the mouth of the cervix and blocks the cervical opening. In most cases, the condition resolves itself on its own by the beginning of the third trimester. In rare cases, the placenta does not move and the baby may have to be delivered via a c-section.
Some pregnant women develop bacterial and vaginal infections. These are quite common and can be remedied with timely medical intervention. The common infections are group B strep, bacterial vaginosis, listeriosis and food poisoning. The woman of course needs to get critical and timely care to prevent the infection from flaring up and causing acute and untold harm to the baby.