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Complications of Pregnancy

Complications during pregnancy involve the health of mother or child or both. Sometimes the health of the mother or any disease she has suffered from before pregnancy can lead to complications during pregnancy.

Early detection and prenatal care can reduce further risk to the mother and the child.

The common complications during pregnancy are,

Diseases such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, infections, sexually transmitted diseases, kidney problem, epilepsy, and anemia can cause pregnancy complications.

Other factors include,

  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Pregnancy at age of 35 years and above
  • Being pregnant at a young age
  • Using illegal drugs
  • History of pregnancy loss and preterm birth
  • Carrying multiple twins or triplets
  • Those with an eating disorder

Complications of Pregnancy

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure occurs when the arteries carrying blood to the placenta and other organ get narrowed. High blood pressure is associated with preeclampsia which increases the risk of preterm delivery.

It is therefore important to control the blood pressure with medications during pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes

High blood sugar level during pregnancy is known as gestational diabetes. It occurs when the body cannot process sugar effectively which leads to an increase in the sugar level in the bloodstream.

A modification in the meal plan is required to control the blood sugar level. Some women might even require insulin to control the sugar level.

It is seen that gestational diabetes usually resolves after pregnancy.


Preeclampsia also called toxemia occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The cause is unknown but is seen occurring in those with high blood pressure and kidney problems.

Other risk factors include,

  • A teenage mother
  • A pregnant female with age above 40 years
  • Obese women with a BMI higher than 30
  • A woman carrying multiple fetuses

It is accompanied by protein in the urine and swelling due to fluid retention. Other symptoms include,

The treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the stage of pregnancy. The doctor would need to monitor the mother and the fetus closely.

Preterm Labor

It is a condition in which the females go into labor before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

It happens before the baby’s organs such as lung and brain have finished developing.

Treatment involves giving medicine which can postpone labor. Doctors also recommend bed rest to keep the baby from coming out too early.


Loss of pregnancy during the first 20 weeks is known as a miscarriage. It is usually preceded by spotting and intense cramping,

Up to 20 %of pregnancies end up in a miscarriage.(1) To confirm a miscarriage ultrasound and a blood test is performed.

The fetus contents in the uterus are expelled naturally, the remaining is done by a procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C).

Miscarriage might happen if the cervix is weak and opens too early. A doctor can prevent the condition by stitching the cervix closed until delivery.

The other causes include,

  • Problem with the placenta
  • Chronic health issues in the mother
  • Infections


There are various bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections which can complicate pregnancy. They can be harmful both to the mother and the baby and is important to seek treatment right away.

Some infections include,

Some of these infections can be prevented by washing hands often and following a hygiene routine.

Placenta Previa

The placenta is located in the upper part of the uterus and in placenta previa it is attached close to or covering the cervix. This complication is seen in 1 in 200 deliveries and happens more often in women who have scarring of the uterus from previous pregnancies. It is also seen occurring in women who have fibroids and other problems of the uterus or in those who have had previous uterine surgeries.

  • The symptoms include bright red bleeding associated with belly tenderness or pain.
  • A cesarean section is performed to deliver the baby, to keep the placenta from detaching early as it can deprive the baby of oxygen during delivery.
  • If pregnant and any sign of complications is observed do not hesitate to call the doctor. This would prove to be a lifesaver for the mother and the child both.


  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2015). FAQ: Pregnancy. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/pregnancy
  2. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Preeclampsia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/preeclampsia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355745
  3. American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Pregnancy Complications. https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/
  4. March of Dimes. (2021). Pregnancy complications. https://www.marchofdimes.org/complications.aspx
  5. Placenta Accreta Spectrum. (2021). Placenta Previa. https://www.placentaaccretaspectrum.org/placenta-previa/

Also Read:

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 25, 2023

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