Pregnancy complications Pregnancy complications
Pregnancy problems during pregnancy

Read about what pregnancy complications women might encounter during pregnancy and learn about possible warning signs of pregnancy problems

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Pregnancy Complications


Although most pregnancies proceed quietly with no complications, there are roughly ten to twenty percent of women who will experience pregnancy complications. A complication is defined as a danger to the health and safety of the mother or baby. The single most important factor in prevention and treatment of these complications is scheduling regular prenatal visits with your doctor. Your doctor will be the first to be able to tell if something is wrong, and will offer any treatment that is needed to assist in helping you deliver a healthy baby.

Many years ago, the fatality rate for mothers, fetuses, and babies was much higher than now. Thanks to technology, if any pregnancy complication is suspected, there are many tests that can be administered to detect any potential problem.

As a mother-to-be you also need to do your part in ensuring that your pregnancy is carried out as problem-free as possible. If you notice any of the following, it is imperative that you call your doctor as these could be possible warning signs of complications:

Signs of pregnancy complications

  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Any pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Extreme swelling of hands and feet
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Contractions prior to 36 weeks
  • No fetal movement
  • Sudden weakness

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic, or tubal, pregnancy results when the egg implants itself outside of the womb, usually in the fallopian tube. These pregnancies cannot go to term, and must be terminated. If the pregnancy is not terminated, the fallopian tube could rupture resulting in a great deal of blood loss. In the most severe cases, doctors sometimes may even remove the fallopian tube.

Contact your doctor if you experience abnormal bleeding, cramping on one side of the pelvis, lower back pain, or pain in the pelvic area.

Pre-eclampsia and Hypertension

High blood pressure is the most common complication in pregnancy. During the later stages of pregnancy, high blood pressure may affect a woman and she may also have protein in her urine. This is called pre-eclampsia. If left untreated, this could lead to eclampsia, which is the one of the leading killers of pregnant women.

If you are gaining weight at a rate of over two pounds per week, and are swollen more than average in the face, hands, and feet you may have high blood pressure. Thankfully, this is routinely checked at each of your prenatal visits, with doctors keeping a close eye on it.

Group B Strep

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a harmless bacteria in normal healthy adults, but when a pregnant woman is diagnosed with GBS, she can transfer a serious infection to her newborn baby. Ten to thirty percent of pregnant women carry GBS. Scanning for this infection between the 35th and 37th weeks of pregnancy has significantly dropped the rate of infection for newborns. If you do test positive for GBS, you will simply have to be given an antibiotic during labor and delivery to reduce the likelihood that the bacteria will be passed on to your baby.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is high blood sugar that begins during pregnancy. Usually there are no symptoms when a woman has gestational diabetes, but fortunately, all pregnant women are screened during their 24th and 28th week of pregnancy.

If you are found to have gestational diabetes, you will need to watch your diet, usually adding more iron and calcium, and exercise more frequently. Gestational diabetes has been known to lead to high blood pressure and some complications during delivery due to the baby being of larger than normal size.

Once again, if you experience any of the symptoms that have been described, or you just "aren't feeling right," do not hesitate to call your health care provider. Most pregnancy complications can easily be detected and prevented with regular prenatal care.

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