Complications During Pregnancy

Even if you are having a healthy pregnancy so far, be sure you know about problems and their warning signs. If you have any of these problems, get medical help right away.

Early, preterm or premature labor

  • Frequent contractions at set times before your 37th week
  • Can be painful or painless
  • May cause opening of the cervix (cervical dilation or cervical effacement) or both
  • Signs to look for:
    • Five or more contractions per hour, lasting at least two hours
    • Cramps in your lower stomach that may feel like the cramps you get during your period
    • A backache that is not sharp in your lower back
    • Weight or pressure in your stomach or thighs
    • Unusual bowel movements or diarrhea
    • More mucus or mucus containing water or blood in your vaginal discharge (the flow from your body)
    • Overall feeling that "something isn't right"
  • Call your doctor if you are having contractions more often than every 10 minutes and have any of the other signs
  • There is nothing wrong with getting checked - if your contractions do not call for a hospital stay, your doctor will likely suggest you:
    • Drink more fluids
    • Stay in bed or stay off your feet
    • Keep an eye on your contractions
    • Watch out for other signs of premature labor
    • Avoid sex
    • Avoid touching or rubbing your nipples, which may give off a hormone that can make contractions worse
    • Take any medicines as prescribed by your doctor to stop your contractions
  • Bladder infections (UTIs) can cause premature labor
  • Tell your doctor if you have:
    • A fever
    • Unusual vaginal discharge (fluid that comes out of the body)
    • Pain when peeing
    • Sores near your mouth, gums or vagina
    • Rashes
    • Vomiting/throwing up
    • An overall sick feeling

Your doctor may give you an antibiotic drug to treat any infection caused by germs

Diabetes/high blood sugar

  • Diabetes can happen when you have too much sugar in your blood
  • There is a chance you will have diabetes only while you are pregnant, which is known as Gestational diabetes
  • When you are 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, you will get a Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) that will test for Gestational diabetes
  • If you have diabetes:
    • You'll need a special diet that's low in sugar and carbohydrate and high in protein
    • You may need to work out more often
    • You may need insulin shots to control your sugar
    • Check your blood sugar level
  • If you have diabetes or if you get Gestational diabetes , your baby may:
    • Be large for gestational age (LGA)
    • Have blood sugar problems after birth
    • Have birth defects if your diabetes is not controlled

High blood pressure

  • Your blood pressure may be higher than normal while you are pregnant
  • High blood pressure is more likely to happen toward the later months, but can happen at any point
  • If it is not controlled, you could get preeclampsia or toxemia, which may:
    • Result in too little blood getting to your baby
    • Pass the wrong amount of oxygen or nutrients to your baby
  • You could have seizures, go into a coma and even die if the case is very bad and you don't get treated
  • You should call your doctor if you have:
    • Swelling, mainly in your hands and face
    • Fast weight gain
    • Headaches
    • Blurred sight
    • Seeing "spots"
    • Pain in your upper belly
  • Your blood pressure will be checked at each doctor visit
  • Your urine may be checked for protein

If protein is found in your urine or your blood pressure stays greater than 140/90, you may have to get urine tests more often. You may also need blood pressure drugs, home bed rest or to stay in the hospital overnight or longer.

Placenta previa

  • When your placenta sits over your cervix, or opening to the birth canal
  • May happen early on - may move on its own
  • If the placenta stays there, you may need a C-section because your baby may not be able to get to the birth canal
  • You may have painless vaginal bleeding
  • Tell your doctor if this happens. It's a sign that your cervix may be starting to open

Placental abruption

  • When the placenta separates from the wall of the womb too early
  • Doesn't happen a lot, but may call for an urgent delivery if it's a very bad case
  • When the case is not very bad, you will likely be on bed rest until it's time to give birth
  • Watch out for:
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Very bad stomach pains
    • Hard-to-the-touch feeling in your womb

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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