8 most common pregnancy complications

Being pregnant is nothing less than a blessing, with so much happiness and good vibes present around you. This is the time when you and your partner plan for a bright future. But you need to be cautious too, as there are many pregnancy related complications that can trouble these future plans.

Although, more than 80% of pregnancies go on smoothly, there are some cases where pregnancy might get complicated. Experiencing certain health issues can lead to pregnancy complications, harmful for both the mother and child’s health. Most of these occur if the mother has some disease or medical conditions even before getting pregnant. Yet, there are many cases where perfectly healthy mothers also face a complicated pregnancy. Therefore, it is very important to have proper prenatal care during pregnancy. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most common pregnancy complications and problems.

There are many complications related to pregnancy that can lead to miscarriage or preterm labor. Here are some of the most common pregnancy issues reported by doctors worldwide. 

Some of the most common pregnancy complications include:

  1. Miscarriage
  2. Ectopic Pregnancy
  3. Anemia
  4. Preeclampsia
  5. Gestational diabetes
  6. Placenta previa
  7. Preterm labor
  8. Preterm Premature Rupture Of Membranes [PPROM]

Now, let’s discuss who is at risk of facing such complications.

Mothers having chronic illness or condition are under the risk of having complications. If you have any such issue, you should consult a doctor regarding their disease and its effects on the pregnancy. Your doctor might keep you under constant monitoring. Medical problems which pose a threat of complication are: 

  • Thyroid or any other endocrine disorders, 
  • Liver or kidney disorders, 
  • Chronic infections, 
  • Pre-existing diabetes, 
  • Blood disorders such as Anemia, 
  • Connective tissue disorders, 
  • Cancer, 
  • Hypertension (High BP), 
  • Sexually Transmitted Disease, including HIV, 
  • Epilepsy 

And other such disorders can cause complications to pregnancy and can lead to unhealthy delivery. Therefore, mothers facing such issues should keep a constant contact with the doctor so that their pregnancy could be monitored properly. 

Even if you have any such troubles, do not panic. There are many cases where mothers have successfully delivered a healthy child even when they were suffering from chronic disorders. 

Certain other factors that can cause risks for your child include:

  1. Pregnancy at 35 years or older
  2. Pregnancy at a young age
  3. Eating disorders such as anorexia
  4. Smoking 
  5. Drug abuse
  6. Alcoholism 
  7. History of miscarriage or preterm labor
  8. Having twins or triplets

8 Most Common Pregnancy Complications

#1 Miscarriage: 

Pregnancy complication-First trimester

Miscarriage

Miscarriage basically means the loss of pregnancy. It is one of the most common complications that occur during pregnancy. But do not worry about it too much as most of the miscarriages are seen during the first trimester and out of these, only 10-20% of pregnancies fail. So, as soon as you complete your first trimester, the probability of having a miscarriage falls significantly. 

The most common reason for first trimester miscarriage is chromosomal anomalies. Now, what chromosomal anomaly actually means is that there is either a missing, extra or irregular chromosome in the DNA sequencing. It retards growth of your foetus and thus the failure of pregnancy. This can also cause medical problems to the mother such as pain, cramping and vaginal bleeding which could last from a few days to a few weeks. This can be very devastating for the parents as losing a child can cause them emotional distress. 

Unfortunately, only a few of miscarriages are preventable. And no one is to be blamed for that! All you can do is to be more cautious and seek help whenever you feel any such symptoms.

#2 Ectopic pregnancy:

Pregnancy complication-First trimester

Ectopic pregnancy

Pregnancy occurs when the ovaries release an egg into the fallopian tube where it comes in contact with the sperm and is fertilised. After this, the fertilised egg travels towards the uterus and finally embeds there. It stays there and grows into a  baby. Now, in ectopic pregnancy, the fertilised egg gets embedded in the fallopian tube or somewhere else instead of the uterus. In such cases, the pregnancy is unable to proceed normally, and requires immediate medical treatment. 

Ectopic pregnancy can cause rupturing of the fallopian tube and internal bleeding which can be fatal. it becomes very important to diagnose it in early phase and treat it properly. Again this is a kind of complication which is out of human control.

#3 Anemia:

Pregnancy complication-First trimester

Anemia

According to WHO, nearly 35-75% of pregnant women in India are anemic. Anemia is a medical condition where you have a lesser number of red-blood cells in your blood than the normal count. It is one of the most common reasons to make you feel constant fatigue and tiredness. Anemia may cause your skin, nails and lips to become pale. There can be many reasons that can cause anemia during pregnancy, but Iron deficiency is the major cause. Having a mild anemia is very common during the first trimester. But, if you feel constant tiredness and weakness, you should consult your doctor. Continuous Iron deficiency can increase your risk of preterm labor and lower birth weight. There are many dietary plans that can help in prevention of anemia.  You should increase the amount of green leafy vegetables in your diet as they have a higher amount of iron and folic acid. If you feel that your weakness is increasing, you can start taking iron and folic acid supplements too.

#4 Preeclampsia:

Pregnancy complication-Second trimester

Preeclampsia is basically a pregnancy induced hypertension where you have a constant high blood pressure than normal levels. During diagnosis of this, doctors find protein in the patient’s urine. Sometimes low clotting factors (platelets) in the blood are also found which indicate kidney or liver disorders.

Hypertension is found in 10-15 percent of all Indian pregnancies and is quite common medical problem in the second trimester. Preeclampsia can lead to a lot of complications in pregnancy. If not treated properly, it can even turn out to be fatal for both mother and child. The most effective treatment for preeclampsia is delivery. Since most of the women face this problem in the later half of the second trimester, the chances of early delivery are limited. Other cases of preeclampsia can be treated by medications to reduce blood pressure and seizures. This is not the best solution, but with constant monitoring and regular blood tests, your pregnancy can still be made successful.

#5 Gestational diabetes:

Pregnancy complication-Second trimester

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when the blood sugar levels are too high during pregnancy. It is quite common, occurring in 1 out of every 6 pregnancies. Blood sugar level is controlled by a hormone called Insulin. And when the body is unable to produce enough insulin, the sugar level starts rising. During pregnancy, the body requires higher amounts of insulin than the normal amount. This is because of the hormones from the placenta which makes the body less responsive to insulin. This kind of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and vanishes with the birth of your child. Since it can elevate during pregnancy, the chances of having complications during pregnancy significantly increase. It can also harm the health of both mother and child, making it important to control the sugar levels.

Now let’s discuss some of the most common symptoms that you might experience during gestational diabetes: 

  • Feeling really thirsty 
  • Tiredness
  • Wanting to go to the bathroom more often 
  • Blurred vision

Prevention is better than cure, therefore, always follow a healthy diet throughout your gestation period and indulge yourself in mild exercises. This will keep you fit and active, consequently keeping your sugar level in check!

#6 Low Placenta/ Placenta previa:

Pregnancy complication-Second trimester

Low Placenta/ Placenta previa

A placenta is a connection which develops inside your uterus to provide oxygen and nutrition to the child. It connects through the umbilical cord and also helps in removing the wastes from the child’s body. In most of the cases, the placenta connects either at the top or side of the uterus. When the placenta connects in such a way that it covers the mother’s cervix (the outlet for the uterus) either partially or completely, it is termed as Placenta Previa. This generally occurs in second trimester. It causes excessive bleeding during pregnancy and at the time of delivery. Placenta previa can be cured, only if diagnosed early. If the placenta remains covering the cervix as the pregnancy progresses, it can cause severe bleeding and other consequences. Women with lower placentation may require to deliver early. This preponed delivery is termed as Preterm labor. 

There isn’t any medical or surgical procedure to treat placenta previa, but several measures can be taken to control the bleeding. You can ask your gynaecologist for measures that prevent bleeding to trigger for women with placenta previa. 

#7 Preterm labor:

Pregnancy complication-Third trimester

Preterm labor

When the baby is delivered before the completion of the 37th week, it is considered as preterm labor. It occurs when continuous contractions result in the opening of your cervix. 

Preterm labor results in premature birth. The earlier premature delivery occurs, the greater are health risks for your baby. Most of the premature babies require special care in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Preemies (premature babies) may also have long term physical or mental disabilities. Preterm birth is a major cause of morbidity and infant mortality. 

In most of the cases, the unborn child is smaller than he/she should be. The reason being delayed growth inside the womb, which can put the child at risk.

There isn’t any specific cause of preterm labor as it is a pregnancy complication of the third trimester. Certain factors may increase the risks of preterm labor, but there are many cases where there was an early delivery without any risk factors associated with the pregnancy. Therefore, it is very important to understand the signs and symptoms of preterm labor. 

Symptoms of preterm labor include:

  • Regular or frequent contractions.
  • Long-lasting backache or pain in the hip joint
  • Sensation of lower abdominal pressure
  • Cramps in abdomen. 

These are some symptoms that need to be kept in mind, so that you can take care of preterm labor beforehand. There might not be a cure for preterm labor, but there are many preventive measures that can be followed.

  • Seek weekly prenatal care
  • Consume a healthy diet
  • Consider pregnancy spacing
  • Be cautious when opting for ART.  

#8 Preterm premature rupture of membranes / Fluid leak: 

Pregnancy complication-Third trimester

Preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM) is a condition in which the amniotic sac surrounding your baby ruptures before the 37th week of pregnancy. Once the amniotic membrane ruptures, the risks of having infection increases significantly. The chances of having preterm labor also increases. Although there are no known causes of PPROM, there are certain conditions that might increase your risk of having it. They are-

  • Previous pregnancies with preterm delivery
  • Infection in your reproductive system
  • Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy
  • Smoking or drinking during pregnancy

PPROM treatment mostly depends on symptoms and general health. It also depends on the severity of the condition.

1. Hospital stay and bed rest:

Your doctor will monitor you closely so as to prevent infections, and take note of the following:

  • If there are any signs of labor
  • Movement, heartbeat and other vital functions of your child 
  • If there are any symptoms of infection. 

2. Medicine

You may need these medicines:

  • Corticosteroids- they help growth and maturation of your child’s lungs
  • Antibiotics- To help prevent intrauterine infections

3. Induction of labor

Your doctor might advise you to have a preterm child to reduce the chances of infections. They might prescribe labor inducing medicines for this, but your induced labor still should not begin until the end of week 34 of pregnancy.

Keep a cool head and discuss with your partner the risks and other factors involved with having a preterm child. Listen to the doctor’s advice about a preterm child being taken care of in the NICU rather than waiting to have natural labor with increased risks of infection.

These were some of the medical issues related to pregnancy. There are many causes of having pregnancy complications. But the problems can be controlled by maintaining a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy. Let us discuss some of the medically suggested precautions that can help in preventing pregnancy troubles.

Induction of labor
  • Maintain a mild exercise schedule: 
    Participate in mild exercises. If you are facing any complications in your pregnancy, take appropriate precautions while exercising. It helps in reducing stress, boosts up blood circulation and prepares your body for delivery.
  • Reduce tea/coffee intake: 
    Reducing your tea or coffee intake during pregnancy can significantly improve your chances of having a healthy delivery. 
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol: 
    Smoking during pregnancy can significantly increase the risk of having a miscarriage, smaller babies, still birth and preterm labour. Alcohol also affects your unborn baby. Hence, you should maintain your distance from any such habits.
  • Self medication can be harmful: 
    Avoiding self-medication during pregnancy is recommended by most of the healthcare professionals. Consult with your doctor before taking even the mildest of medicines, as there are many side-effects of medicine on infants
  • Regular appointments with your doctor: 
    Never miss any appointment with your doctor because constant monitoring of your pregnancy is very crucial for a healthy pregnancy.

These are some of the points to keep in mind during pregnancy. Many women are happy mothers today, despite having faced pregnancy complications. It is not a cause for unnecessary worry if you don’t have the symptoms for it. So be stress-free and do your best to have a healthy child!

There are many happy mothers out there despite facing pregnancy complication, so need to worry yourself for anything. Be in a stress free environment and you will definitely have a healthy child.

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