When you find out you are pregnant, your thoughts and emotions go into overdrive. And as excited as you must be about bringing a new person into the world, you must also be terrified that something might go wrong.
While certain complications relate to health problems before pregnancy, others occur early during pregnancy and are unexpected.
Here are some early pregnancy complications that you must look out for:
1. Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Many pregnant women experience morning sickness and another discomfort, but women with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) have morning sickness 1,000 times more. HG is severe nausea that results in significant weight loss and might require hospitalization.
Women with HG suffer from severe nausea and vomiting, and the vomiting and reduced appetite lead to weight loss and dehydration. The difference between HG and normal morning sickness is that HG results in a weight loss of 5% or more of your weight before pregnancy.
If you have been diagnosed with HG, the priority is to ensure you have enough nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy. For some women, a diet of bland foods and fluids may be enough, while some may need to take medication to help relieve nausea. In severe cases of HG, you may need to be hospitalized to receive nutrients and fluids via an IV line. While many women start to feel better by the 20th week of pregnancy, some continue to experience symptoms throughout the entire pregnancy.
2. Gestational Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that prevents your body from breaking down sugar, and Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. As a result, the baby’s shoulders can get stuck during delivery, so that a caesarian delivery section might be opted for.
There are no outward signs or symptoms of gestational diabetes. Doctors screen for it between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy or earlier in high-risk women, which include those who are overweight or have a history of gestational diabetes.
Certain risk factors are associated with gestational diabetes, like having a history of GDM in prior pregnancies or being overweight. But, first, you must discuss the best ways to control GDM with your doctor. Exercise and a curated diet plan seem reasonable to begin with.
A high percentage of gestational diabetes can be controlled by diet. However, women with GDM need to take medications (pills or even insulin) to control blood sugar levels.
3. Placenta Previa
During pregnancy, the placenta provides your baby with oxygen and nutrients for proper development. And it usually attaches to the upper part of the uterus, but in placenta previa, it totally or partially covers the cervix, the opening between the uterus and vagina.
You might be at higher risk if you have scarring on your uterus due to previous pregnancies, uterine surgery, or if you have fibroids.
The main symptom of placenta previa is vaginal bleeding which isn’t accompanied by cramping or other pain. However, some women don’t experience any symptoms, so checking in with your doctor during physical exams or ultrasounds is essential.
Placenta previa results in bleeding during pregnancy. While some women have no bleeding, some have spots, and some may experience heavy bleeding. If the bleeding is heavy, you may need to stay in the hospital for some time. In addition, women with placenta previa require a C-section to deliver the baby, scheduled two to four weeks before their due date.
Preeclampsia is a condition that causes severe high blood pressure and can be life-threatening if not treated on time or left untreated. Preeclampsia develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy, primarily in women with no history of high blood pressure.
Symptoms of preeclampsia include severe headache, changes in vision, and pain under the ribs. However, many women don’t feel symptoms immediately. The first alert is generally when a woman comes in for a routine prenatal visit and suffers from high blood pressure. In such cases, your doctor will test for things such as kidney and liver function to determine whether it’s preeclampsia or high blood pressure.
Preeclampsia risk factors include having a history of high blood pressure, being obese, having a body mass index or BMI greater than 30, age wherein teenage mothers and those over 40 are at higher risk, and being pregnant with multiples.
Preeclampsia only goes away once the baby is born. Hence delivery is the best way to treat preeclampsia. However, delivering the baby too early or having a premature baby can put the baby at risk for health problems. Therefore, treating preeclampsia largely depends on how far along your pregnancy is. You might also need to be hospitalized so the medical team can closely monitor you and your baby.
You may have to deal with multiple things regarding early pregnancy complications, but with exemplary efforts and precautions, these can be dealt with. You can also consider pregnancy care training to help you better deal with problems.