Complications During Pregnancy

Most vaginal births have few or no complications, and both the mother and baby are healthy afterward. However, pregnancy complications do occur sometimes. There are a number of minor and major problems that can be related to pregnancy and childbirth. For example, women may experience minor complications such as nausea and vomiting, hemorrhoids, and constipation. Major problems during pregnancy are rare.

Minor Complications During Pregnancy

There are a few minor complications that can occur during and after childbirth. These pregnancy complications can include, but are not limited to:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Minor infections in the mother or baby
  • Minor tears in the cervix or vagina
  • Hemorrhoids (see Hemorrhoids During Pregnancy)
  • Constipation
  • Temporary hair loss
  • Uncontrollable or accidental urination, also called temporary stress incontinence.

Serious Pregnancy Complications

Although serious pregnancy complications are uncommon, your overall health will play a role in your likelihood of developing these complications and how well you recover from them. For example, women who have the following conditions have a higher chance of developing complications than those who do not:
The risk for serious complications is also higher for women who are overweight, or who use alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco products.
The serious complications of pregnancy that can happen before, during, or after childbirth include:
  • High blood pressure during pregnancy, which may worsen with labor
  • Preterm labor
  • Failure to progress through the stages of labor
  • Allergic reaction to medication
  • Stress that is harmful to the baby
  • Abnormal presentation
  • Problems with the umbilical cord
  • Uterine inversion, which means that the uterus turns inside out
  • Prolonged pregnancy
  • Infection
  • Postpartum depression
  • Heavy bleeding before, during, or after labor, which can be caused by uterine atony or serious cuts or tears in the birth canal, rectum, or bladder
  • Placenta problems such as: placenta previa, placental abruption, retained placenta, or placenta accrete
  • Other rare and unlikely events.
If the mother is able to get good prenatal care, several of the serious complications may be prevented or prepared for. Therefore, it is important to attend all scheduled checkups before your baby is born.
Pregnancy and Pain

Complications of Pregnancy

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