Most pregnancies are smooth and uncomplicated. But it doesn't hurt to be aware of things that could go wrong, so that if you do notice anything out of the ordinary, you can spot it early on / identify it immediately, and get help as soon as possible. Of course, it is always a good idea to get a complete health check-up done before you start trying for a baby, so that several easily avoidable problems like anaemia and thyroid imbalance are taken care of before you conceive.
Here are some of the pregnancy complications list you need to watch out for during pregnancy …
1. Bleeding in early pregnancy:
Light bleeding in early pregnancy is quite common. It could just be implantation bleeding. If it is a vaginal or cervical infection or polyp, it is easily treatable. Sometimes, low progesterone levels might lead to bleeding during the entire first trimester, and this can be controlled with hormone supplements. But it is essential to report any bleeding to the doctor. Also, don't panic and assume that bleeding means a miscarriage, since miscarriage involves severe pains, and the bleeding is heavy and full of clots.
2. Ectopic pregnancy:
Also called tubal pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy is a condition where the fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is characterized by bleeding, and severe pain in the stomach and/or back. This pregnancyneeds to be terminated immediately. Early diagnosis of this condition is essential, because as the embryo grows, the tubes will rupture and cause massive internal bleeding that can be fatal. An early pregnancy scan, or blood tests to measure hCG levels will identify this condition easily.
3. Incompetent cervix:
When a pregnant woman's cervix becomes weak and starts to thin much before the baby is completely developed, it is known as an incompetent cervix. As the baby grows, it starts pushing downwards, and might result in preterm labour. This condition can be diagnosed by a physical examination, and bed-rest is recommended. In severe cases, the cervix is sewn tight, and the stitches are removed in the 38th week.
4. Placenta previa:
In this condition, the placenta lies very low in the uterus, sometimes partially or completely covering the cervix. In late pregnancy, this can cause bleeding, and might lead to other complications, and the baby might have to be delivered early. This is usually identified in a physical exam or during the mid-pregnancy ultrasound.
This is a condition that usually shows itself in late pregnancy, where the pregnant woman develops high blood pressure and has protein in the blood. It is characterized by severe, persistent headache, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, swelling and visual disturbances. It is more common in women who are over 35, overweight or diabetic. Severe preeclampsia is dangerous, causing restricted blood flow to the mother's organs and to the baby. If preeclampsia is detected, the baby might have to be delivered immediately.
6. Gestational diabetes:
This is a type of diabetes that about 2-10 percent of women develop during pregnancy. It is one of the most common pregnancy problems. It has no symptoms, and is diagnosed by a routine glucose test that is done between 24-28 weeks. Uncontrolled gestational diabetes might cause the child to put on so much weight that it cannot fit into the birth canal, and will have to be delivered by a C-section. The mother might also tend to develop diabetes later in life. Gestational diabetes can largely be controlled by exercise and a good diet.
7. Low amniotic fluid (Oligohydramnios):
Amniotic fluid is the protective and supporting fluid that fills the amniotic sac in which the baby lies in the stomach. In some pregnant women, the level of the fluid decreases, and the growth of the baby is affected. If the pregnant woman is leaking fluid, or if she doesn't feel the movement of the baby much, the doctor tests for amniotic fluid levels. If the fluid levels are low, the pregnancy needs to be monitored closely. If the woman is close to the due date, labour might have to be induced.
8. Rh disease:
Occurs in cases of women whose blood group is Rh negative but the baby's blood group is Rh positive. During delivery, some of the foetal blood escapes from the placenta, and mixes with the mother's blood. The mother's immune system immediately develops antibodies against the Rh factor of the baby's blood. The first child is usually unaffected by this, but the second pregnancy could be at risk. The antibodies from the mother's body will cross over to the foetus in the second pregnancy, start destroying cells, and cause a condition known as 'erythroblastosis' which can be fatal for the baby. A simple blood test will confirm the mother's and father's blood types, and if the mother's is Rh negative and the father's Rh positive, it is deemed possible that the baby is Rh positive. Then a special drug is injected at 28 weeks, and another just before delivery, to prevent the mother's body from reacting against the baby.
If you are overwhelmed by all this information, don't be. Remember that the chances of any complications occurring are low, and moreover, medicine has made significant advancements and all these conditions are easily controllable.
But be sure to visit your doctor for regular check-ups during pregnancy, get all the blood tests and scans done, and report any untoward symptoms to the doctor immediately. Your pregnancy is sure to be a smooth ride!