Certain symptoms during pregnancy are expected, but when others show up, they set off alarm bells. How can you tell the difference between the two? Here are 11 common complications, women experience during pregnancy that you should know about:
In your first trimester, bleeding heavily means ectopic pregnancy, particularly if it is coupled with chronic stomach pain and cramps like menstrual cramps. Ectopic pregnancy is typified by a fertilized egg that implants somewhere else other than in the uterus. This can be life-threatening.
In the first or second trimester, heavy bleeding accompanied by cramping could mean a miscarriage. Bleeding with pain in the stomach in the third trimester could mean placental abruption. This happens when the placenta breaks off from the wall of the uterus. Bleeding at any time of the pregnancy calls for immediate medical attention. Go to the emergency room immediately.
2. Chronic nausea and vomiting
Nausea is common during pregnancy but if it becomes chronic, it could be serious. If this prevents you from eating or drinking, you could become dehydrated. But staying dehydrated and malnourished during pregnancy can endanger the baby. If you feel nauseous, speak to your doctor about it.
In the first trimester, miscarriage is common. About half of all miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities which cannot be prevented. Miscarriages are usually due to a blighted ovum, smoking, doing drugs and drinking alcohol in the first trimester.
4. Birth Defects
Between weeks eight and 13, the foetus is at highest risk for acquiring birth defects. Exposure to drugs, toxins and alcohol can cause birth defects and conditions like rubella, cytomegalovirus, syphilis, chicken pox and toxoplasmosis. However, birth defects can also be due to heart defects, neural tube defects, spina bifida and anencephaly, or an absence of brain tissue. Cleft lip and palate will affect one in 700-1,000 births.
One sign of preterm labour is a series of contractions. But often women might confuse true and false labour. False labour contractions are non-rhythmic, do not increase in intensity and are unpredictable. They stop in an hour or when you drink water. However, regular contractions have a 10 minute gap between contractions and grow in intensity. Contractions in the third trimester mean speaking to your doctor immediately.
6. Your Water Bag Breaks
You might walk into a room for a drink and feel a lot of water rushing down your legs. This means your water bag could have broken. However, during pregnancy, the uterus is enlarged and this can put pressure on the bladder leading to urine leakage. If you aren’t sure if it is urine or a genuine membrane rupture, empty your bladder and if the fluid still continues, you have broken your water bag.
7. Severe headache, stomach pain and visual disturbances
These are the symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious condition that develops in the course of pregnancy. This could be fatal. This condition is The accompanied by high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine that is a normal occurrence after week 20 of pregnancy.
During pregnancy, women’s immune system weakens, making them more prone to illness. Flu symptoms can become chronic very quickly during pregnancy only to be further complicated Flu symptoms include cold, runny nose, cough, sore throat, sneezing or chills. If women get any of the following symptoms such as shortness of breath, mucus accompanied by blood and pressure in the chest or abdomen. It’s important for pregnant women to get flu vaccine since they are likely to fall sick and have flu symptoms. However, if women do get the flu, they should call their doctor.
9. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when arteries carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body get constricted. This puts undue pressure on the heart to increase in the arteries. If a pregnant woman has high blood pressure, this can make it difficult for blood to reach the placenta, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the foetus. Reduced blood flow can retard the growth of the foetus and place the pregnant woman at greater risk of preterm labour and preeclampsia.
Pregnant women with high blood pressure before they are diagnosed as pregnant will have to be monitored and control their blood pressure with medication throughout their pregnancy. High blood pressure experienced during pregnancy is called gestational hypertension.
10. Gestational Diabetes
A pregnant woman who develops diabetes during pregnancy experiences gestational diabetes. During pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause the blood sugar level to rise. Gestational diabetes raises the chances of pregnancy complications. Once you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, your doctor or midwife will monitor your health and that of your baby until delivery. It’s not uncommon for women with gestational diabetes to have healthy pregnancies and equally healthy babies. If the pregnant woman gets treatment in time, a lot can be done.
Managing gestational diabetes by getting on to a treatment plan drawn up by a doctor is perhaps the best way of reducing high blood pressure levels or preventing it from developing during pregnancy. If left uncontrolled, gestational diabetes can lead to high blood pressure from preeclampsia and giving birth to a large baby which increases the risk for undergoing Caesarean delivery.
11. Preterm labour
Labour that begins 37 weeks of gestation is called preterm labour. A baby born before week 37 is at a high risk for health problems, usually because organs like the brain and lungs have still not formed in the last few weeks of pregnancy, just before delivery. Factors that increase the risk for preterm labour include a short cervix, or previous preterm births. Sometimes, preterm labour can be stopped by taking medication.
A hormone produced by the body during pregnancy, progesterone, can help lower the chances of preterm birth. According to studies, progesterone supplements to pregnant women can reduce the risk of preterm labour and delivery due to a preterm birth reduces the chances of a preterm birth by 33%.
By being in close touch with your doctor, you can be in good health right through.