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Common Pregnancy Complications, Their Symptoms, And Treatment

Pregnancy complications are a difficult subject for most new mothers to discuss, but it is important to be aware of complications that may occur. If some of these problems are spotted early, they can be resolved before any detrimental health effects occur to the mother or the new baby.

While every new mother wants her, and her baby, to go through the pregnancy and birth without any problems, complications do sometimes happen. If at any time during your pregnancy you are having symptoms of a complication, contact a doctor immediately. Additional pregnancy complications may occur but these are the most common: Gestational Diabetes, Rh Negative Disease, Ectopic Pregnancies, Group B Strep, and Preterm Labor.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational Diabetes is a form of diabetes that develops only during a pregnancy and is usually temporary. Mothers who are over the age of 35, have a history of diabetes in their family, or who are overweight before the pregnancy begins are all at increased risk of gestational diabetes.

This disease usually begins in the second trimester, and screening tests for gestational diabetes should be a routine component of prenatal care. Symptoms of gestational diabetes include: increased urination and thirst, fatigue, nausea, bladder infections and infections of the skin and vagina, and blurred vision. Treatment includes dietary changes and sometimes insulin therapy, exercise management, and increased supervision of baby and mother by a physician.

Rh Negative Disease

Rh Negative Disease occurs when a baby has blood that is Rh positive, and the mother is Rh negative. The new mother will then begin to develop antibodies which will affect any additional pregnancy where the baby is Rh positive, (the first baby is not affected by Rh Negative Disease). A test for Rh factors of the baby and mother should be part of every prenatal exam.

The mother will not display any signs of Rh Disease, but the baby is drastically affected. The baby’s symptoms may include: enlarged liver, spleen, fluid in the heart and abdomen, deafness, brain damage, and death. If Rh Negative Disease is diagnosed early, then intrauterine blood transfusions or early deliver can be used to help the baby. This disease can be prevented, and because it may be diagnosed in the first pregnancy when the baby is not affected, treatments can be used to avoid this disease in following pregnancies.

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy can result if the fertilized egg attaches itself to the woman’s body in a place other than her uterus; most ectopic pregnancies occur in a fallopian tube. These pregnancies may be caused by blocked fallopian tubes caused by infections, STD’s, scar tissue left in the fallopian tube as a result of surgery or numerous abortions, or abnormally shaped fallopian tubes.

Women who have had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, several abortions, previous ectopic pregnancies, and who are in the age group between 35-44 years of age are at increased risks of ectopic pregnancies. Symptoms of ectopic pregnancies include: sharp stabbing pain in the pelvis, abdomen, shoulder or neck, unusual vaginal bleeding, abnormal periods, gastrointestinal problems, or dizziness and fainting. Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies cannot be saved. The pregnancy needs to be either removed by surgical techniques, or the woman is given methotrexate which results in an end to the pregnancy and allows the body to absorb the tissue.

Group B Strep

Group B strep is a type of bacterial infection which can occur in the vagina or rectum of a pregnant woman. Less than half of all adult women carry the bacteria, but an infection from the bacteria in a pregnant woman can be passed to her baby during labor. This bacteria is the leading cause of newborn infection incidences, but the good news is that it can be easily treated.

Testing the mother for Group B strep is a part of every prenatal screening process. Mother’s who test positive can be treated with antibiotics therapies. The mother does not usually experience symptoms of this bacterial infection, and it is usually only diagnosed through prenatal tests that are taken during weeks 35-37 of the pregnancy. Babies that contract Group B strep during labor can be treated with antibiotic therapy as well. Some of the symptoms the baby may display include: breathing problems, erratic heart beat and blood pressure, sepsis, and gastrointestinal and kidney problems.

Pre-term Labor

Pre-term labor is defined as any labor that occurs before the pregnancy has reached 37 weeks. Pre-term labor is usually felt by the women in the form of back aches or pain that is similar to menstrual cramps. If a woman feels any symptoms of pre-term labor, she should contact her doctor immediately. Early labor can be prevented by bed rest and medication if it is caught early enough.

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