7 Health Complications of Pregnancy

For most women pregnancy is a smooth and enjoyable journey to motherhood. You might experience rapid growth of your hair and nails, better sex or even make positive health changes and drop bad habits.

However, for some women pregnancy can come with a lot of health challenges; some minor while others can be complicated and life threatening to both mother and baby.

Danger signs in pregnancy

  • Bleeding
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Baby’s activity level significantly declines or stops altogether
  • Contractions early in the third trimester
  • Your water breaks before your due date
  • A persistent severe headache, abdominal pain, visual disturbances, and swelling during your third trimester

Common pregnancy complications

1. Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is first seen in a pregnant woman who did not have diabetes before she was pregnant.

If you have gestational diabetes, your baby may be at increased risk of being born with excessive birth weight. Extra glucose in your bloodstream crosses the placenta, which triggers your baby’s pancreas to make extra insulin. It can also lead to premature labour, pre-eclampsia, the baby developing low blood sugar   or jaundice

Those who develop gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.

2. High Blood Pressure

It is typically diagnosed after 20 weeks of pregnancy or close to delivery and leads to decreased blood flow to the placenta. If the placenta doesn’t get enough blood, your baby might receive less oxygen and fewer nutrients. This can lead to slow growth of the bay in the uterus, low birth weight or premature birth.

It affects the mother by putting extra stress on her heart and kidneys and can increase her risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.

3. Infections

During pregnancy, your immune system is lowered slightly which makes you more susceptible to coughs, colds, flu, vaginal infections like urinary tract infections (UTI) etc.

4. Eclampsia

This is serious a condition where high blood pressure results in seizures in a pregnant woman. The seizures can result to a coma, brain damage and in some cases the death of either mother or baby or both.

5. Miscarriage

Miscarriage is when an embryo or foetus dies before the 20th week of pregnancy. It often occurs because the foetus is not developing normally and can be both physically and emotionally painful to the pregnant woman. Common causes of miscarriages include chronic illness, hormonal imbalance, high fever, uterine problems or chromosomal problems.

6. Premature Labour

Premature labour is labour that begins before week 37 of pregnancy. A normal pregnancy lasts an average of 40 weeks. This happens because uterine contractions cause your cervix to open earlier than normal. Certain events can stimulate the onset of premature labour including placental abruption, incompetent cervix, hormonal changes or infection.

The earlier premature birth happens, the greater the health risks for your baby

7. Stillbirth

A stillbirth is the death or loss of a baby before or during delivery. It happens after 20 weeks of pregnancy as opposed to a miscarriage that happens before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

It can be caused by trauma to the abdomen e.g. when a mother falls or is in a car accident, pregnancy that is far past the due date, strangulation by the umbilical cord, placental abruption etc.


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