Complications During Pregnancy and Delivery

expectant mother

What Causes Complications During Pregnancy?

Fortunately, most pregnancies occur without complications, however, in some cases, the health of mothers and/or their babies can be affected. This can be as a result of diseases or some other health conditions that were present before the pregnancy. With early detection and prenatal care, risks from such health issues are drastically reduced.

Some of the most common pregnancy complications:

Here are some other factors that may increase the risk of complications:

  • being pregnant at age 35 or older
  • being pregnant at a young age
  • using illegal drugs
  • drinking alcohol
  • having an eating disorder like anorexia
  • smoking
  • having a history of pregnancy loss or preterm birth
  • carrying multiples, such as twins or triplets

11 Common Complications Women Experience During Pregnancy


A miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. Studies reveal that about 20 percent of pregnancies among healthy women will end in a miscarriage. Some women even lose their pregnancies before they`re aware of it. A loss of pregnancy after the 20th week is called a stillbirth, and the cause is usually unknown. Some of the common issues that cause stillbirth are anemia, chronic health issues in the mother`s health, and problems with the placenta.


Also called toxemia, preeclampsia occurs after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and causes high blood pressure and kidney problems. The recommended treatment for this condition is usually the delivery of the baby and placenta in order to prevent the disease from progressing. There are risks and benefits regarding the timing of delivery. Your doctor is in the best position to advise you on this. There may be a need to induce labor if you’re 37 to 40 weeks pregnant.

If it’s too early for delivery, your doctor will need to monitor you and your baby closely. They may prescribe medications to help lower your blood pressure and help the baby mature if you are not full term. Hospitalization is vital at this time, as close monitoring and care are necessary.

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor is a condition in which a pregnant woman goes into labor before the 37th week of her pregnancy. At this time, the baby’s organs, such as the lungs and the brain are yet to develop. There are medications that can stop labor. The mother may also need to take bed rest to keep the baby from being born too early.

Gestational Diabetes

An image of someone testing for blood sugarGestational diabetes occurs when the body has issues processing sugars. This causes the bloodstream to have higher-than-normal levels of sugar. Meal modification helps control blood sugar levels. Insulin, too, keeps blood sugar levels in check. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after pregnancy.


Anemia is a health condition characterized by a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells in the body. People who have anemia usually feel tired and weak and may have pale skin. There are many causes of anemia. Your doctor will do well to find the underlying cause and treat it. Taking supplements such as folic acid and iron during pregnancy will help treat the condition.


There are loads of bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections that complicate pregnancies. Infections can harm the mother and baby, so seeking immediate treatment is highly important. Some of the common infections that affect pregnant women are:

  • cytomegalovirus
  • group B Streptococcus
  • hepatitis B virus
  • influenza
  • toxoplasmosis
  • urinary tract infection
  • bacterial vaginosis
  • Zika virus
  • yeast infection

You can prevent some infections by regular hand washing. Some others, you can prevent by vaccination. Some examples of such are the hepatitis B virus and influenza.

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa means that the placenta is covering the cervix. Doctors will usually perform a cesarean delivery if this is the case.

Labor Complications

Complications during labor can cause delivery complications. Some of these complications may make doctors recommend a change in the delivery procedure.

High Blood Pressure

dates benefitsHigh blood pressure is a condition that occurs when the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the organs and the placenta are narrowed. It is linked to a higher risk of many other complications such as preeclampsia. It also puts pregnant women at a higher risk of having their babies before their due date — a condition called preterm delivery. High blood pressure also makes women have small babies. Controlling your blood pressure with medications during pregnancy will go a long way in safeguarding your health and your baby`s. If you can, control it before getting pregnant.

Breech Position

A baby is in a breech position when their feet are positioned to be delivered before their head. This condition occurs in about 4 percent of full-term births, and contrary to popular opinion, most of such babies are healthy. If the baby shows signs of distress or is too big to pass safely through the birth canal, doctors recommend against a vaginal birth. It is safe to change the baby’s position if doctors notice it some weeks before delivery.

Low Birth Weight

Low birth weight is usually a result of poor nutrition or the use of cigarettes, alcohol, or drug abuse during pregnancy. Babies who are born at a low birth weight have a higher risk of:

  • heart infections
  • blindness
  • respiratory infections
  • learning disabilities

How to Prevent Pregnancy Complications

Sadly, not all complications are preventable, however, you can take some measures to have a healthy pregnancy:

  • If you’re considering getting pregnant, you might want to see a doctor to discuss pre-existing medical conditions and treatment options to prevent pregnancy complications
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and lean protein.
  • In general, the Mayo Clinic recommends a total of 25 to 35 pounds of weight gain for women who were at a healthy weight before pregnancy.
  • Take prenatal vitamins daily, following your doctor`s prescription.
  • Attend all routine prenatal visits.
  • See a specialist is advised to.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid alcohol and drug abuse.
  • Reduce your stress levels.
  • Listening to music.
  • Do yoga.

Some Pregnancy Facts

  • At about four months into the pregnancy, babies urinate inside of their mothers` wombs.
  • Because of water weight and other extra fluid, the feet of pregnant women swell.
  • Nine in ten women experience a change in skin tone during pregnancy.
  • The heart grows during pregnancy — It works harder and pumps more blood for that growing baby.
  • Unborn children in the womb usually have all their fingerprints after 9-12 weeks.
  • Three out of four women develop a linea nigra during pregnancy. The linea nigra is a dark, vertical line that runs down the abdomen. It may or may not vanish after birth.
  • Pregnant women have less oxygen in their blood, which is what makes them more forgetful.
  • Some pregnant women lactate in late pregnancy at the sound of someone else’s baby crying.
  • Pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell to enable them to steer clear of foods they shouldn’t eat because of their growing baby.
  • Humans are the only mammals who do not ingest their placenta after birth.

Now that you Know…

If you’ve ever been pregnant, then you`d agree that it’s not one of the best times, as far as your health is concerned. You want the best for your baby at this time, so it is highly important to take safety measures. Your doctor is there to help you all through this experience.