Pregnancy is a rewarding period for a woman. But it comes with its own fair share of discrepancies and issues that would make the entire journey look far from pleasing and simple. In this article, I have tried to highlight a few complications that may arise during pregnancy.
While some of these complications are quite common in pregnant ladies and do not pose any threats to them or their babies, some complications are life threatening and can potentially put the mother’s and baby’s life in danger.
Common, Trivial Pregnancy Complications
Do you seem to have developed a sudden taste for clay, mud and other non edible items after getting pregnant? Called Pica, this condition is caused by an iron deficiency in the body.
Back and Lower Abdominal Pain
You would most probably start to experience back pain from the third trimester onwards. The pain is triggered by the shift in the body’s center of gravity. Abdominal pain on the other hand occurs when the uterus starts to expand rapidly to accommodate the growing baby inside. Abdominal pains are also set off by ligaments that start stretching rapidly as the pregnancy progresses.
The condition is characterized by the excessive pressure placed on the pelvic veins and the inferior vena cava by the uterus, a condition that leads to severe compression of the same. Edema in certain cases is said to cause another condition called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is characterized by a feeling of weakness, numbness or itchiness in the fingers and hands (as a result of the pressure placed on the median nerve).
In certain cases, excess pressure placed on the inferior vena cava can also cause a condition called varicose veins which is characterized by swelling and inflammation, and the appearance of spider veins on the feet and legs.
A common issue during pregnancy, dehydration is caused by an increase in the intravascular and fluid space in the body. If left untreated, it could cause uterine contractions.
Caused by dehydrations, these contractions are harmless and can occur at irregular intervals throughout the day. Also called as Braxton Hicks Contractions, these contractions are usually painless and need to be reported if they start becoming frequent.
Increased levels of progesterone in the body would decrease bowel motility and cause the muscles lining the intestinal walls to relax, thus causing constipation. Absorption of excess nutrients for health and sustenance could also lead to dehydrated and hard stools as a side effect.
Secondary to constipation, hemorrhoids are characterized by excess abdominal pressure which is caused by an increase in the compression of the inferior vena cava, which in turn leads to the venous system getting congested.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Quite a normal condition during pregnancy, GERD is said to occur when the lower part of the esophageal sphincter (LES) relaxes and the transit time for the food in the stomach increases. Symptoms include heartburn, chest pain, nausea and regurgitation.
Almost every other pregnant woman would develop an urge to urinate frequently as her pregnancy progresses. This is due to the sudden increase in the intravascular volume and the pressure placed on the bladder by the expanding uterus. The urge to urinate frequently can also be triggered by an increased Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR).
Serious Pregnancy Complications
Deep Vein Thrombosis
With the potential to cause maternal death, deep vein thrombosis occurs when the body tries to curb massive bleeding during pregnancy by hypercoagulation (forming blood clots).
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)
In some cases, the condition resolves on its own. But for some women, PGP continues to haunt them for many years after childbirth. The symptoms of this condition are broadly classified into categories like muscles stiffness, nervous system disorders, or ligament/tendon injuries.
A condition that can put the lives of the mother and the baby in danger, an ectopic pregnancy is said to have occurred when the fertilized egg implants itself to the fallopian tube instead of the uterine wall. This could lead to miscarriage or cause severe damage to the fallopian tubes and the ovaries.
Women carrying multiples may face high chances of conditions like twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (caused by monochorionic twins sharing the same placenta), umbilical cord compression/entanglement (caused by monoamniotic twins sharing one amniotic sac), and conjoined birth (twins are born joined together and most often than not, share the same set of organs).
Characterized by the separation of the placenta from the uterine wall, Placental Abruption is usually caused by a series of health related factors like stress, depression, trauma, smoking or drug usage.
While in some cases, it could lead to an immediate delivery (in the case of a mature fetus), in other cases, it could lead to hospitalization wherein both the mother and the fetus are kept under observation to notice any abnormalities.