Pregnancy Complications

Watch out for these high risk pregnancy problems

Every woman dreams of a perfect pregnancy, but it will be wise to learn about the several conditions that can affect both mother and baby throughout different stages of the pregnancy. While some complications will bring dangerous consequences, many can be treated if they are caught early, and the pregnancy can continue as expected.

High Risk Pregnancy

Simply defined, a high-risk pregnancy brings a greater chance of complications for the mother, the baby or both. There are a number of factors that can cause a high-risk pregnancy before a woman conceives, from age to pre-existing health conditions like toxoplasmosis, but rest assured that most of these can be managed through pregnancy with a healthy lifestyle and some medical treatment.

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For women who have had problem pregnancies in the past, are over the age of 35 or have a chronic condition like diabetes, it will be a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider about any precautions you should take before you conceive. For instance, high blood pressure before pregnancy can lead to preeclampsia, or dangerously high blood pressure during the later stages of pregnancy.

Conditions Developed during Pregnancy

Despite your best intentions, there is a chance that you may have some pregnancy complications, either soon after conception or further along in the pregnancy. One fairly common—and easily treatable—condition is a urinary tract infection, which typically occurs between week 6 and 24 as the pressure of the uterus restricts the urinary tract. If caught early, there will be no damage to you or your baby, and the infection can be cleared up with a three- to seven-day course of antibiotics.

An ectopic pregnancy is a more serious condition, occurring early in the pregnancy when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes. The first warning signs of tubal pregnancy are sharp, stabbing pains and spotting during pregnancy as the embryo stretches and eventually bursts the tube, ovary or cervix. A blighted ovum occurs when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus, but the baby does not develop along with the placenta and membranes; you may feel that your pregnancy is progressing normally until a routine ultrasound shows an empty amniotic sac.

While both a blighted ovum and an ectopic pregnancy will end in natural or forced miscarriage, some conditions that occur later in the pregnancy can be closely monitored and treated to ensure a healthy pregnancy. For instance, placenta previa refers to a placenta that attaches to the lower segment of the uterus which will likely make vaginal birth impossible, but cesarean section will be a perfectly viable option. An incompetent cervix may result in miscarriage or premature labor if not treated, but it can be stitched closed if caught early.