Getting to know that you are pregnant is the most joyful moment in life. There are risks and complications involved during your pregnancy that may affect the health of both mother and the baby. Therefore, understanding the complications in pregnancy that may arise is very important especially for first-time moms. In this article, you will get to know about the possible complications in pregnancy, from the first trimester to the third trimester, and how to prevent them.
Every woman has a different health condition and status. Some women have already had health issues before getting pregnant. Those groups of people are high-risk pregnancy groups and they shall be monitored by health care regularly. Some women only experience complications during their pregnancy period and some lucky ones have smooth pregnancy experiences without any major issues.
Let’s see what are the possible complications in pregnancy which you may face during your first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester.
Body check out before pregnancy
Find out your body condition before you plan to conceive. This is important to get an assessment of your health status and professional advice on what to expect during your pregnancy. The doctor will provide the care and attention you may need to ensure a safe and smooth pregnancy. You need to provide information related to family history background (any hereditary disease such as Thalassemia, Hemophilia), current health status (if you have diabetes, hypertension, anemia, asthma, etc). If health problems can be well under controlled, your pregnancy journey can turn out to be a safe one too.
If you are currently under medication or treatment, the doctor may need to change your current treatment method such as changing your medication which will not harm your child if you get pregnant.
You are wrong if you assume the previous health issues will not have an impact on your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about your worries, such as pregnancy and childbirth fear. As stress can be one of the mental problems you face which will affect the pregnancy outcome too. Therefore, knowing your health status and getting the doctor’s advice on what you should be doing before you plan to conceive is the information you need to gather foremost.
Complication in Pregnancy
Let us look at complications in pregnancy stage by stage. This is to help you understand what to expect and how you prevent them.
First Trimester ( 1-3 months pregnancy)
This is a very early stage of pregnancy. You may need to seek medical attention if you have these symptoms:
- Excessive vomiting due to morning sickness. Morning sickness is very common for certain mothers and usually it will start around 4th to 16th week of pregnancy. About 70-80% of pregnant women experience morning sickness and 60% will vomit. Depending of the severity of vomiting, Excessive vomiting will lead to dehydration. Consult your doctor for advice and take plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Sign on bleeding or stomach pain. If you experience pain in your early pregnancy, it may be due to sign of ectopic pregnancy. When you have pain and bleeding at the same time, you need to watch out as it may be sign of miscarriage. Seek for medical help immediately.
Prevention: Here are some examples you can do to prevent them
- Do not lift heavy things
- Do not ride on a bumpy road
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol
- Do not eat raw or semi-cooked food
- Do not stress
- Do not do heavy exercise
Second trimester (4-6 months)
During the second trimester, some women may experience fatigue and tiredness. The doctor will do a few tests to determine whether you are lacking certain nutrients such as iron, abnormalities in sugar level, thyroid disorder, and Rh-negative blood group. Sonography will be performed from 16- 20 weeks to detect any abnormality in your baby. This is called the anomaly scan, from baby’s head to toe. It is to investigate and detect any deformation on the developing baby. Possible complications you may face are:
- Lack of iron. If you are anemic, which is low hemoglobin in your blood, you need to supplemented with vitamins. Lack of iron will affect the child’s growth as you need to supply enough blood and oxygen to your growing baby.
- Potential Gestational diabetes. Doctor will let you know whether you need to control your sugar level by controlling your diet or you need to be given insulin during your second trimester. If you do not control your sugar level properly, you will have risks of getting high blood pressure – preeclampsia, a serious complication which will harm both the mother and the baby. You will also get an extra large baby, which may lead to problem during the delivery like Caesarean section delivery for the safety of the mother and child.
- Gestational hypertension. It is also known as Pregnancy-induced hypertension. This is a condition when your blood pressure is greater than 140/90 on two occasions at least 6 hours apart. This is happened after 20 weeks of pregnancy without protein in urine and sign of preeclampsia. You need to watch out if you are multiple gestation which is carrying twins or triplets.
- Bleeding. Bleeding at this stage will indicate signs of miscarriage. If you bleed, you need to consult your doctor at once and you may need to have a complete bed rest. It may be due to the neck of the cervix is weak and need a stitch on the neck of the womb to tighten it. Follow your doctor’s advice.
Prevention: Here are what you can do to prevent them
- Eat only healthy food, more frequent but less portion.
- Upon doctor’s advice, taking prenatal multivitamins to supplement any important and essential nutrients for smooth pregnancy
- Light exercise, such as yoga helps to keep your mental and physical health at optimum level for delivery and postnatal period.
- Do not over work and find yourself a comfortable pair of shoes to prevent back ache.
- Rest whenever possible
Third Trimester (7-9 months)
When you enter the third trimester, you need to visit your doctor more frequently, at every two weeks. You need to continually monitor your sugar level and blood pressure at this stage. In some pregnancies, blood pressure and sugar levels may rise, doing a regular test using a home test kit can help you monitor better and keep them under control.
Here are the complications of pregnancy you may experience in the third trimester:
- Low placenta and abruption. These are conditions related to placenta and these will cause premature birth and serious bleeding during the delivery which may pose risk to the mother and the baby. Doctor will monitor your position of placenta using ultrasound scan and if it is still low, you may need a complete bed rest until the due date. Placental abruption is when placenta starts to come away from the inside of the womb wall before the baby has delivered. You will experience pain in the stomach, bleeding and frequent contraction and therefore, a premature birth may occur.
- Baby is in abnormal position. When you are approaching your due date, normally your baby will turn its position downward and ready for vaginal delivery. Some babies will have abnormal position, it could be a breech, oblique or transverse lie. Natural birth is not possible and need a Caesarean section delivery.
- Preterm labor. It may be due to infection if the labor may start before a full term. If you experience symptoms of labor (such as contraction) before the due date, visit your doctor immediately.
- Growth restriction. You doctor may ask you to count the fetal movement everyday and you should be able to feel at least 10 movements in a day. If you feel there are slowing down or a sudden halt, seek medical help immediately.
Prevention: What you need to do to prevent this?
- Visit your doctor regularly (every two weeks) to check on the baby’s growing status using ultrasound scan
- Monitor and maintain your good health by monitor closely your blood pressure and sugar level using your home test kit
- Watch out for any bleeding or spotting. Seek for medical help immediately if you have suspicion of bleeding.
- Eat healthy food and live a good healthy lifestyle.
As a conclusion..
It is always good to know that prevention is better than cure. A thorough health check on your body before you get pregnant shall not be overlooked. Always check with your doctor regarding your health status during your 9 months pregnancy to detect any abnormalities in the baby. Early detection and proper treatment will ensure your pregnancy is safe and successful.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional and this article shall not be used to replace or supersede professional/ medical advice.