For most women, pregnancy is a healthy, normal part of life, rather than a medical event. However, for about seven percent of pregnant women, a complication will occur. Becoming familiar with some of the complications of pregnancy won't prevent a problem from happening, but it's good to have some knowledge. Here are some of the most common pregnancy complicatons...
by Patricia Hughes
For most women, pregnancy is a healthy, normal part of life, rather than a medical event. However, for about seven percent of pregnant women, a complication will occur. Becoming familiar with some of the complications of pregnancy won’t prevent a problem from happening, but it’s good to have some knowledge. When you know some of the symptoms, you can get medical treatment faster and give your baby the best possible chance of a healthy birth. This is by far not an exhaustive list, and if ever you suspect or feel anything wrong you should seek medical attention or contact your health care professional.
Between two and five percent of women develop diabetes during pregnancy. This is known as gestational diabetes. While any woman can develop this condition, there are a few factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing gestational diabetes. Risk factors include being overweight prior to pregnancy, a family history of diabetes and being over the age of twenty five. Most women are given a glucose tolerance test between twenty four and twenty eight weeks.
Gestational diabetes can cause complications for the mother and baby. The baby is more likely to be large at birth. This increases the risk of needing interventions or a c section. The baby may be born with low blood sugar, if mom has gestational diabetes. The baby’s blood sugar level will be checked at birth to determine if treatment is needed. In some cases, the baby is given sugar water. If the blood sugar is very low, glucose may need to be given through an IV.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition. If you are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you will need to test your blood sugar levels. In most cases, blood sugar can be controlled through diet and exercise. Your doctor will discuss your dietary needs to help control the condition. If it can’t be controlled with diet alone, you may need insulin injections during [tag-cat]pregnancy[/tag-cat]. For most women, the condition disappears after the baby is born.
Pre-eclampsia is most common in the [tag-tec]third trimester[/tag-tec]. Symptoms include swelling of the extremities, protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Your blood pressure and urine are checked at every prenatal visit. Other symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and dizziness. This is one of the more serious complications that can develop during pregnancy. It’s important for you to monitor your symptoms if you have this condition.
There is no known cure for this condition, other than to deliver the baby. For some women, a c section becomes necessary. Delivery will be postponed as long as possible to prevent serious complications for the baby, such as low birth weight and to give the lungs time to develop.
Complications Involving the Placenta
There are a few complications that involve the [tag-ice]placenta[/tag-ice]. A placenta abruption happens when the placenta begins to separate from the wall of the uterus. Symptoms include bleeding and cramping. The diagnosis is confirmed by ultrasound. When an abruption occurs, the mother will have to be hospitalized. In many cases, her baby will be born early.
Placenta previa is a condition where the placenta grows in front of the cervix, either partially or totally blocking the cervix. The condition is usually diagnosed with ultrasound. This condition poses risks to both the mother and the baby. The baby may develop intrauterine growth retardation or experience blood loss. The mother has a risk of hemorrhage. For this reason, a c section is usually done to deliver the baby.
Patricia Hughes is a freelance writer and mother of four. Patricia has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University. She has written extensively on pregnancy, childbirth, parenting and breastfeeding. In addition, she has written about home décor and travel.
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