The vast majority of pregnancies are
uncomplicated and end with the birth of a normal, healthy baby.
Even when complications do occur, early diagnosis and treatment
will often prevent serious problems. Early and regular prenatal
care is the best insurance against problems in pregnancy. Regular
care enables the doctor to watch for abnormal changes in blood
pressure, blood, urine, or weight. Such changes may be warnings of
Regular care also helps you learn to recognize
the difference between the normal changes your body is going
through and those which may represent early warning signs.
It is important that you recognize these early
warning signs so that you can notify your doctor or someone at the
Bleeding, no matter how slight, from the
vagina, rectum, nipple, or lungs (coughing blood)
Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands
A sudden large weight gain
Persistent severe swelling of the legs
Severe or repeated headaches
Dimness, blurred vision, flashes of light,
or spots before your eyes
Sharp or prolonged pain in your abdomen
Severe or continued vomiting
Chills and/or fever
Sudden escape of fluid from the vagina
If you notice any of these signs, do not wait
for your next checkup. Contact your doctor immediately, so the
cause of the problem can be identified and treatment begun.
Following are some of the problems that can
occur during pregnancy.
A miscarriage occurs when the fetus is born
before it has developed enough to live outside the mother's body.
Early signs of miscarriage are bleeding and cramps and if you
notice bleeding from your vagina, you should call your physician
immediately. Save the pads you wear to catch the blood, clots, and
tissue, because the doctor will want to inspect them as soon as
In some cases, miscarriage is nature's way of
preventing the birth of fetuses that for various reasons could not
have survived. Miscarriage can be caused by certain health
problems, but usually there is no apparent reason. Usually, such
miscarriages cannot be prevented.
Ayurvedic Supplements for Miscarriage / Abortion :
Nausea and vomiting affect some women in early
pregnancy. However, if vomiting continues or is so severe you
cannot keep anything down, it should be reported. You need
nourishment and so does your baby. If you keep vomiting, neither
of you is getting the foods and liquids you need.
The most common form of anemia occurs when your
body does not have enough iron to build the extra red blood cells
you need while you are pregnant. This form of anemia can usually
be prevented by eating foods that are high in iron. Foods high in
iron include liver, red meats, dried beans, leafy green
vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals.
Many doctors prescribe iron supplements during
pregnancy because the need for iron is greater than is usually
contained in the average diet. When you are taking an iron
supplement your bowel movements will be darker and harder so you
should increase the amounts of fluids and roughage in your diet.
Be sure to keep iron supplement tablets, like all medicine, in a
safe place so children cannot accidentally eat them.
There are other, more serious forms of anemia,
and if any of them are found during the early laboratory tests,
your pregnancy will be followed more closely. Be sure to tell your
doctor if you or any relatives are anemic or have blood diseases.
Bladder and Kidney Infections
The risk of bladder or kidney infection
increases during pregnancy due to changes and increased pressure
in the urinary tract. Warning signs include abdominal pain,
chills, fever, frequent urination in mid-pregnancy, burning on
urination, and blood in the urine. If you have any of these
problems, seek treatment immediately. If you do get a urinary
infection it is especially important that you increase the amount
of fluid you drink every day.
Toxemia is a serious complication of pregnancy.
Although the cause is unknown, it can be successfully treated if
diagnosed early. Signs of toxemia include a sudden weight gain,
swelling of the feet and hands, severe headaches, dizziness,
blurred vision, or spots before the eyes. These may be accompanied
by changes in the urine and an increase in blood pressure. Toxemia
usually occurs only in the last half of pregnancy.
Notify your doctor at once if you have any of
these signs. Untreated toxemia is dangerous to both a pregnant
woman and her unborn baby because it sometimes progresses to
convulsions. Toxemia can usually be controlled at home if it is
found early and the doctor's instructions are followed. However,
some women are hospitalized to prevent complications or
Rubella, or German measles, is usually a mild
disease in children and adults. But, if a woman is infected just
before or during pregnancy, particularly early pregnancy, rubella
can cause heart disease, blindness, hearing loss, and other
serious health problems for the baby.
Avoid contact with anyone who has German
measles or other infections. If you or someone in your family has
been exposed to rubella, tell your doctor at once. The progress of
your developing baby will be carefully monitored.
Although a vaccine for rubella is available, it
should not be given to a woman who is pregnant or a woman planning
to become pregnant within 3 months. Remember, most women are
immune and therefore the baby is not at risk.
As part of your physical examination your blood
is checked for a substance called the Rh factor. If your blood
contains this factor, you are Rh positive. If your blood does not
contain it you are Rh negative. About 85 percent of white women
are Rh positive. The Rh factor is much less common in black and
If the mother has the Rh factor, or both
parents have the Rh factor, or if neither parent has the Rh
factor, there is no problem. However, if you are Rh negative and
the father is Rh positive, there is a possibility that the baby's
blood may also be Rh positive, i.e., the opposite of yours. In
this case your body manufactures substances called Rh antibodies
that will affect your unborn baby's Rh positive blood cells.
Antibodies are normally useful because they protect you from many
common diseases, but in this case, the antibodies can make your
baby anemic and sensitize you for future pregnancies. Fortunately,
Rh sensitization does not usually affect the baby in your first
If you are Rh negative and you have not become
sensitized to the Rh factor, you should have an injection of Rh
immunoglobulin within 72 hours of every delivery, miscarriage, or
abortion. This usually protects each baby in future pregnancies.
If you know you are Rh negative, be sure to remind your doctor or
someone at the clinic.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are
infections spread by sexual contact. Many people call them
venereal diseases or VD. The most serious in pregnancy are
gonorrhea, syphilis, and genital herpes. Prompt medical care can
protect both you and your baby.
Usually, gonorrhea produces no symptoms at all
in women. However, it may cause vaginal discharge or burning on
urination. If untreated gonorrhea spreads through the blood to
other parts of the body, it poses a real danger for mothers and
babies in pregnancy. This form of gonorrhea may cause fever, joint
pains, or skin rash.
Gonorrhea may also spread to your baby's eyes
during birth. All women should be tested for gonorrhea early in
their pregnancy. The prompt detection and treatment of gonorrhea
will prevent complications for infected mothers and their babies.
Syphilis is a very serious infection that can
infect the baby before birth. All mothers receive a blood test for
this infection early in their prenatal care. In adults, the
infection usually starts as a firm, reddish sore on the genital
area or in the vagina. It does not hurt. Even without treatment,
the sore heals and other symptoms such as a skin rash may follow.
After several weeks, these signs also disappear with or without
treatment. You should tell your doctor about any unusual lumps,
sores, or rashes on your body. Unless you are treated with
antibiotics, the syphilis germs are still in the body, even though
the sores and rashes go away. Infection in the baby is usually
prevented when the mother is fully treated in pregnancy.
Herpes, a virus infection that causes painful
blisters on the genitals, is becoming more common. Symptoms can be
relieved with medicine, but there is no cure. The infection may
reappear on its own. If you or your sexual partner have any signs
of herpes infection, you should tell your doctor about them,
because this disease may influence the way your pregnancy is
Some kinds of vaginitis are acquired sexually
but this disease frequently occurs in pregnancy for no apparent
reason. These infections usually are not serious, but can be
bothersome because they cause pain, itching, and discharge. A
pelvic exam is necessary for your doctor to determine the cause of
the infection and to select a safe and effective medicine to cure
Any time you are exposed to an STD, or think
you might have one, it is very important that both you and your
partner receive prompt medical attention.