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Pregnancy Complications You Should Watch Out For

Updated: Oct 12, 2023

Pregnancies can be scary, but they don’t have to be. As long as you keep an eye on your lifestyle, activities, and wellbeing, you can handle any situation. During a pregnancy, the body goes through many changes and these changes can manifest differently for every woman. Some of these changes are harmless and go away on their own while a few can cause complications that can affect the life of the mother and baby. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most challenging pregnancy conditions, how to spot them and how you should deal with them.

1. Miscarriages

Up to 15% of miscarriages happen due to chromosomal or genetic conditions. Fetal loss usually occurs up until 20 weeks of gestation, although most happen in the first 12 weeks. The miscarriage is preceded by spotting and cramping. The condition can be confirmed with an ultrasound scan and blood tests. The fetus and the contents of the uterus are naturally expelled through the vagina as part of the condition. In some cases, doctors have to intervene with a procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C) if this does not happen naturally.

2. Ectopic Pregnancies

This is a condition where the fetus develops outside the uterus in the fallopian tubes, cervical canal or pelvis. Ectopic pregnancies can be caused due to scar tissue formation in the fallopian tubes due to infections or diseases. It can be seen in 1 out of 50 pregnancies and can be fatal to the mother. Studies show that women over 40 who have previously undergone pelvic surgery or tube sterilization procedures are at high risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy later on in their life. Symptoms present in the form of spotting, cramping and right shoulder blade pain. The diagnosis can be confirmed through ultrasound scans and blood tests. The longer the pregnancy goes on, the higher the risk. The condition is treated through medical or surgical removal of the fetus.

3. Eclampsia

Preeclampsia is caused by hypertension or high blood pressure. It is sometimes accompanied by protein in the urine and swelling. Eclampsia is more severe in those cases. Although its cause is unknown, studies reveal that it is most common in the first pregnancy. The risk for eclampsia increases in teenage women, women over 40, women carrying multiple fetuses, women with a BMI over 30 and women with conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney diseases. The symptoms of this condition include swelling of hands and feet, headache, dizziness, irritability, decreased urine output, belly pain and blurred vision. Treatments may vary depending on the severity and stage of the pregnancy. Most hospitals advise hospitalization, bed rest, medicines for hypertension and monitoring of the baby.

4. Intrahepatic Cholestasis (ICP)

While itching is fairly common during pregnancy, it can sometimes be caused by Intrahepatic Cholestasis or ICP. ICP can be an indicator of an underlying liver condition. It is caused by a liver disorder that develops during pregnancy which leads to the build-up of bile in the body. Even though there is no known cure for the condition, it is believed to go away on its own after birth. It is commonly recorded in South Asian women. Symptoms include rashes on hands and feet, dark urine, pale stool and jaundice. The diagnosis can be confirmed through a physical examination and accompanying blood tests. Treatments include medicines with ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) to reduce bile acids and itching, and vitamin K supplements since the condition affects its absorption.

5. Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

DVT is usually characterised by the formation of blood clots in a deep vein usually in the leg. The condition mostly affects only one leg. Symptoms include a heavy ache, warmth in the area and red skin. If the clot enters the bloodstream it can cause a pulmonary embolism which can cause coughing of blood, tightness of the chest and difficulty with breathing. Pulmonary Embolisms can be fatal but their risks can be reduced significantly by proper treatment of DVT. The risk increases in the cases of women over 30, teenage women, women with multiple fetuses, women with a family history of blood clots and women undergoing fertility treatments. The condition is treated through heparin injections. Doctors also advise pregnant women in such cases to stay active and use prescribed compression stockings for better circulation.

Book your pregnancy blood test, ultrasound scans and free consultation at Imaginatal in Romford, Bristol and Gloucester. Imaginatal is a women’s health clinic that focuses on pregnancy, gynaecology and fertility. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology and high-quality service, the clinic values respecting every client irrespective of their identity, needs, wishes, choices and beliefs. In addition to pregnancy blood tests, Imaginatal offers early assurance scans, gender scans, 3D and 4D scans and well-woman services.

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