Most of the pregnancies happen without any complications but, some women who are pregnant experience complications that can affect their own health as well as their baby’s health. Diseases that the mother was dealing with before she became pregnant can lead to complications during pregnancy also. Some complications occur during the delivery of the child. Even with complications in delivery, early detection and prenatal care of the mother can reduce further risk to the mother and her baby.
Who is at risk for complications?
If a working mom or stay-at-home mom already has a chronic condition or illness always consult a doctor before her pregnancy. If she is already pregnant, her doctor needs to monitor her health as well as pregnancy.
Some of the common diseases and conditions that can cause complications during your pregnancy include:
- high blood pressure
- sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
- kidney problems
Other factors that can increase the risk of complications include:
- pregnant at age 35 or older
- pregnant at a young age
- having an eating disorder like anorexia
- smoking cigarettes
- using illegal drugs
- drinking alcohol
- A woman who is having a history of pregnancy loss or preterm birth
- carrying multiples, such as twins or triplets.
Some of the pregnancy-related diseases are:
1: Labor that does not progress
Sometimes contractions during the expulsion of the baby weaken and the cervix does not dilate enough or in a proper manner, or the infant's descent in the birth canal does not continue smoothly. If labor is not progressing in a mother a doctor provider may give the woman medications such as oxytocin to increase contractions and speed up labor, or the woman may need a cesarean delivery.
2: Perineal tears
A woman's vagina and the surrounding tissues tear during the delivery process. Sometimes these tears should heal on their own. If a tear is more serious or the woman has had an episiotomy the doctor needs to help repair the tear using stitches.
3:Problems with the umbilical cord
The umbilical cord of the mother may get hooked on an arm or leg as the infant comes out through the birth canal. Typically the doctor takes action if the cord becomes wrapped around the infant's neck and when it is compressed it comes out before the infant.
4.Abnormal heart rate of the baby
In many cases, an abnormal heart rate is detected during labor which does not mean that there is a problem. The doctor will ask the woman to switch positions to help the infant get more blood flow. In certain conditions, such as when test results show a larger problem, delivery might have to happen right away. In this situation, the woman needs an emergency cesarean delivery, or the doctor may need to do an episiotomy to widen the vaginal opening for delivery.
5.Water breaking early
Labor usually begins on its own within 24 hours of the woman's water breaking. If this doesn't happen, and if the pregnancy is in the near term, the doctor will likely induce labor. If in a situation the pregnant woman's water breaks before 34 weeks of pregnancy, the woman will be monitored in the hospital. In this situation, the infection can be a major concern if the woman's water breaks early and labor does not begin on its own.
This problem arises when the fetus does give enough oxygen to the uterus or the infant does not get enough oxygen during labor, delivery, or just after birth.
In this situation, the infant's head has come out of the vagina first but one of the shoulders becomes stuck in there. Most women and babies recover nicely from problems caused by shoulder dystocia. Problems for the baby may include Fractures in the collarbone and arm as well as damage to the brachial plexus nerves.
If delivery results in tears in the uterus, or if the uterus does not contract to deliver the placenta, it can result in heavy bleeding. Such a type of bleeding in mothers is a major cause of maternal death worldwide. Studies are going on to investigate the use of misoprostol to reduce bleeding, especially in resource-poor areas.
A case of a cesarian delivery, episiotomy, or forceps delivery can be necessary if the baby’s position is preventing it from its birth. All babies will not be in the best position for vaginal delivery. The baby facing downward is the most common fetal birth position, but babies can be in other positions too.
- facing upward
- They can be lying sideways, horizontally across the uterus instead of vertically
Depending on the position of the baby inside the womb and the current situation, it is necessary to:
- manually change the fetal position
- use forceps
- carrying out an episiotomy so as to surgically broaden the opening
- perform a cesarian delivery
Problems with the umbilical cord include:
- become wrapped around the baby
- getting compressed
- emerging before the baby
If it is wrapped around the neck, if it is compressed, or emerges before the baby does, medical help will be needed sometimes.
When the placenta covers the opening of the cervix, this problem is known as placenta previa. A cesarian-type delivery is usually necessary for this process. It generally affects around 1 in every 200 pregnancies in the third trimester period of a woman.
It is most probably to happen in those who:
- The person who had previous deliveries, and especially with a minimum of four or more pregnancies
- previous placenta previa, cesarean delivery, or uterine surgery
- have a multiple gestation pregnancy
- are aged over 35 years
- have fibroids
Can complications be fatal?
Complications during pregnancy can be life-threatening in areas of the world where there is non-availability of proper health care. Nearly 303,000 fatalities occur every year according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The main causes are:
- unsafe termination
- eclampsia, leading to high blood pressure and seizures
- pregnancy complications that worsen at the time of delivery
Appropriate health care can prevent or treat most of these problems. It is vital to attend all prenatal visits to doctors during pregnancy and to follow every advice and instruction of the doctor regarding pregnancy and delivery.