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Pregnancy is a natural phase in a woman’s life. Hence, in most cases it has no complications associated with it. Many women enjoy a healthy pregnancy period however, there are also many others who face several pregnancy related issues and complexities. The fact is that our lifestyles have changed considerably and this has had a negative impact on our body causing some common pregnancy related complications.
Some pregnancy complications (discussed ahead) have become quite common today. These complications require medical attention for a successful pregnancy. Because they are pretty much common, it is good for expectant mothers to know about these issues in order to be prepared to deal with them. While your doctor or midwife will always look out for signs and symptoms indicating any pregnancy problem with their lab tests, physical examinations and ultrasounds; having some basic knowledge about these issues will help an expectant mother stay alert.
Here are the 7 most common pregnancy complications –
In medical terms, loss of pregnancy before 20 weeks is miscarriage. Several times, miscarriages happen so early in a pregnancy that the expectant mother is not even aware of her pregnancy. About 10 to 20% of known pregnancies tend to end in a miscarriage and about 80% of these happen within the first 12 weeks. The most common reason that causes a miscarriage is chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg that prevents the embryo from developing.
While it is possible that women with a healthy pregnancy may experience vaginal bleeding or spotting in the initial weeks, this still remains the first sign of a miscarriage. If you experience bleeding or spotting, it is best to consult your medical practitioner who will further investigate.
2. Premature labour and birth
You are considered to be full term after 37 weeks of your pregnancy. If you get regular contractions that dilate your cervix before you are 37 weeks, you will diagnosed as having pre term or premature labour. In most cases, depending upon the baby’s development, your medical practitioner will give you medications to delay the child birth.
Premature babies have health related issues and sometimes premature birth may also be fatal if it is too early. About 12% of babies born in the US are premature and most of them have had no complications. Proper prenatal and postnatal medical care is hence very important.
Preeclampsia is a condition that is characterised with high blood pressure and presence of protein in urine or abnormalities related to liver or kidneys in women after they are 20 weeks pregnant. This is a serious condition that affects about 5% pregnant women and can lead to multiple organ failures and may also be fatal if left untreated.
Women with preeclampsia are generally monitored very closely and may also have an induced early delivery.
4. Low amniotic fluid level
Most pregnant women will see a drop in their amniotic fluid levels as they get near their due date. While it is common for amniotic fluid levels to drop a little in the third trimester, it becomes a matter of concern if the levels are too low. In this case, your midwife will monitor your unborn baby’s growth and you may have to be induced for an early delivery.
5. Gestational diabetes
This is another very common complication that develops during pregnancy. It is estimated that about 2 to 10% pregnant women in the US are diagnosed with this condition.
Gestational diabetes is a condition that can lead to some very serious complications hence, all expectant mothers are advised to get glucose screening done between 24 to 28 weeks. Women who are diagnosed with this condition will be monitored closely and in most cases, will be advised a diet plan to keep a check on their diabetes.
6. Ectopic pregnancy
In case the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, the condition is referred to as ectopic pregnancy. It is imperative to identify this condition at the earliest as the growing embryo can rupture fallopian tubes and cause internal bleeding which can be fatal for the expectant mother. There is no way the embryo can be transplanted hence, the only solution is to terminate the pregnancy. About 1 in 50 pregnancies are ectopic.
7. Placenta previa
This is a condition when your placenta lies low. In the initial pregnancy, this is not a matter of concern but as you move towards the third trimester, a low lying placenta can cause a few complications. Women with placenta previa usually cannot have a vaginal delivery as the placenta partially or completely closes the mouth of the cervix.