Pregnancy is a time of complex emotions for families across the world. But apart from being a complex social and familial decision, it is also a biological process that can sometimes be accompanied by various complications. While most pregnancies progress without major issues, some women may experience pregnancy complications that require medical attention.
Pregnancy-related bills can add a lot of stress to an already stressful and expensive time period. That’s why it’s always a good idea to get maternity insurance to support you in case of an emergency. It is also important for the mother as well as the rest of the family to be aware of the potential pregnancy complications that can arise.
Common Pregnancy Complications
A pregnant woman is continuously at risk of minor and major complications throughout the pregnancy period. It is important to maintain a good and healthy diet, a stress-free environment and lots of rest to minimise the possibility of complications. Here is the list of common pregnancy complications:
- Gestational Diabetes: This condition develops during pregnancy when the body cannot produce enough insulin to handle the increased blood sugar levels. It can lead to larger-than-average babies, birth complications, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in both the mother and child.
- Preeclampsia: Characterised by high blood pressure and signs of damage to organs such as the liver and kidneys, preeclampsia usually arises after the 20th week of pregnancy. It can restrict blood flow to the placenta, leading to slower foetal growth, and can also cause complications for the mother, such as seizures (eclampsia) if left untreated.
- Preterm Labour: This refers to labour that starts before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies born prematurely might face breathing and developmental challenges due to underdeveloped organs and systems.
- Miscarriage: A miscarriage is the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. It often occurs due to genetic abnormalities in the foetus or issues with the uterine lining.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: In this situation, a fertilised egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. As the pregnancy progresses, the tube can rupture, leading to severe bleeding and requiring emergency medical attention.
- Placenta Previa: The placenta either partially or completely covers the cervix, potentially causing bleeding during pregnancy and complications during childbirth.
- Placental Abruption: The placenta detaches from the uterine wall before delivery. This can cause bleeding and deprive the baby of essential nutrients and oxygen, potentially leading to serious health risks for both the mother and baby.
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum: This severe form of morning sickness involves excessive nausea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration, weight loss, and an inability to maintain proper nutrition during pregnancy.
- Infections: Infections during pregnancy, such as urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, and sexually transmitted infections, can impact both the mother and the baby, leading to complications if not properly managed.
- Anaemia: A condition where there’s a lower-than-normal level of red blood cells, causing fatigue, weakness, and potential developmental issues for the baby.
- Multiple Gestation: Pregnancy with more than one foetus, like twins or triplets, can increase the risk of preterm birth and other complications due to the strain on the mother’s body.
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR): When a baby doesn’t grow at the expected rate inside the womb, it might be due to placental issues or maternal health problems, leading to potential developmental and health problems.
- Gestational Hypertension: High blood pressure that develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy without the organ damage characteristic of preeclampsia. It still requires close monitoring.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Blood clots that form in deep veins, often in the legs, due to changes in blood circulation during pregnancy. DVT can pose serious health risks if a clot travels to the lungs (pulmonary embolism).
- Cesarean Delivery (C-Section) Complications: While a C-section is sometimes necessary for the safety of the mother or baby, it comes with potential risks such as infection, blood loss, longer recovery times, and a slightly increased risk of complications in future pregnancies.
Signs and Symptoms to Recognise Complications
Recognising signs and symptoms of pregnancy complications is important for seeking timely medical attention and ensuring the health and safety of both the mother and the baby. If you suspect a complication, it’s crucial to contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Here are some common signs and symptoms of pregnancy complications and what you should do if you notice them:
- Vaginal Bleeding: Any amount of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare provider. It could be a sign of conditions like miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or placental problems.
- Severe Abdominal Pain: Intense or persistent abdominal pain might indicate conditions such as placental abruption, ectopic pregnancy, or appendicitis. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience severe pain.
- Severe Headaches or Visual Disturbances: These could be symptoms of preeclampsia. If you experience severe headaches, changes in vision, or sudden swelling, seek medical attention.
- Persistent Nausea and Vomiting: While some morning sickness is normal, excessive vomiting and inability to keep food down could be hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires medical evaluation and treatment.
- Reduced Foetal Movement: If you notice a significant decrease in your baby’s movement, contact your healthcare provider. Changes in foetal movement could indicate foetal distress.
- Swelling of Hands, Face, or Feet: Sudden or severe swelling might be a sign of preeclampsia. It’s important to inform your healthcare provider about any unusual swelling.
- High Fever: A high fever could be a sign of infection, which can be harmful during pregnancy. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice a persistent fever.
Identifying signs and symptoms of common pregnancy complications and reporting them to healthcare professionals is essential for early treatment and safety of the woman and the foetus. That is why it is important you must notice every detail or change during your pregnancy.
Regular prenatal care, open communication, and timely intervention can manage many issues. While complications can be concerning, staying informed and seeking medical advice ensure a healthier pregnancy journey for both mother and baby.