Most pregnancies are without complications but some women may encounter health problems during pregnancy. These complications may risk the health of the foetus, the mother, or both.
This is the very reason why prenatal care is always recommended by gynaecologists everywhere so that a problem (if any) can be diagnosed at an early stage and necessary measures can be taken to reduce the risks of complications in pregnancy.
High Blood Pressure
Although there are several kinds of complications in pregnancy, the most common complications are given below:
- High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure occurs when the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the organs and the placenta are contracted. This is associated with a higher risk of many other complications such as premature birth, preeclampsia, low birth weight, etc.
It is therefore very important to control blood pressure in pregnancy through medications and other measures as directed by your gynaecologist.
When the red blood cell count reduces in the body, this condition is called anaemia. In pregnancy, it usually occurs due to the deficiency of iron in the body. Having anaemia in pregnancy can make you feel tired, weak and pale all the time.
To cure and prevent anaemia, you should take iron and folic acid supplements to increase the red blood cells to the normal level.
- Gestational Diabetes
When a woman develops a condition of diabetes during her pregnancy, it is called gestational diabetes.
Hormonal changes from pregnancy can cause the body to not make enough insulin, or if it does then it is not used efficiently. With the lack of insulin, the glucose builds up in the blood which causes diabetes or high blood sugar.
Controlling gestational diabetes is extremely important as it can lead to high blood pressure, preeclampsia and having a large infant, which increases the risk for caesarean delivery.
Also called toxaemia, preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and increases the risk of kidney problems. It is a very serious medical condition that can lead to premature delivery and in worse cases, even death.
Who is at most risk of having preeclampsia?
- Women who are having their first pregnancy
- Women who have had preeclampsia in previous pregnancies
- Women who have diseases and problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
- Women who are carrying two or more foetuses
- Women who are above 35 or below 20 in age
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Many infections such as bacterial, viral, parasitic and sexually transmitted infections may occur during pregnancy and may lead to complications. These infections can pass from the mother to the infant during delivery or from the mother to the foetus during the pregnancy.
It can contribute to miscarriage, low birth weight, birth defects, stillbirth, and maternal health complications, if not treated in time.
Many of these infections can be taken care of with prenatal care and postpartum care.
- Preterm Labour
When the labour begins before 37 weeks of pregnancy, it is called preterm labour. Before 37 weeks, the baby’s organs, such as the lungs and the brain, do not fully develop.
Doctors prescribe medications and bed rest to keep the baby from being born too early.
Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Signs of a miscarriage include vaginal bleeding, fluid or tissue passing and cramping. Women experiencing any of these symptoms should contact their gynaecologist immediately.
Stillbirth is the loss of pregnancy after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Infections, maternal health issues, problems with the placenta and chromosomal abnormalities can contribute to stillbirth.
- Placenta Previa
A placenta is an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy and provides oxygen and nutrients to the growing baby along with removing waste from its blood.
Placenta Previa is a condition in which the placenta partially or wholly covers the opening between the uterus and vagina (cervix). The main symptom of Placenta Previa is vaginal bleeding without any pains or cramps. Visiting your doctor immediately is strongly recommended in such a condition.
Although this cannot be prevented, regular health check-ups and prenatal care can help in strengthening the health of both the mother and the child.