Pregnancy is a very normal part of life for most women. It is a happy and healthy time, when women glow more than any other time in their lives. Having said this, there are some times when pregnancy just is not going right. While the chances that your pregnancy will be filled with complications are minimal, it is important to understand what can go wrong to feel prepared if it does.
A very common part of pregnancy is morning sickness. For most women, this means a period of time, typically in the first trimester, when stomach upset and difficulty keeping down food are common. For most, these symptoms are minimal and there is no need for serious medical intervention. For some women, however, Hyperemesis is to blame. This is severe morning sickness that does not go away. It prevents women from keeping any food down, can lead to severe dehydration and sometimes leads to serious nutritional deficits for mom and baby. In cases like these, women need to seek medical attention. Doctors can prescribe medications or order hospital care, if necessary, and this often helps the pregnancy to get back on track.
Sometimes women do things to their own bodies that put their pregnancies at risk. The biggest of these problems include the use of drugs and alcohol. Drugs of any kind, prescription, over the counter or recreational, should be stopped during pregnancy unless a woman’s physician says otherwise. While some drugs are important and beneficial to a pregnant women, a physician should always evaluate their use to see if the benefits outweigh the risks. Alcohol use can stump the growth of a fetus and lead to premature birth. Avoiding it completely is best, and at minimum, a mother should reduce her alcohol consumption as much as possible and seek help if that becomes difficult for her.
Another thing that mothers should avoid during pregnancy is excessive weight gain. The definition of excessive weight gain can vary from woman to woman, and how much a woman should gain is a decision that she should make with her doctor’s consult. Too much weight gain can make delivery difficult. It also increases risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and high birth weight when the baby is born. A baby who is large faces its own set of medical problems, and higher birth weights also increase the risks of c-sections and other interventions.
Finally, a mother should always be aware of any early signs of contractions or labor. Premature births are serious, and they increase the risks of the baby having to spend time in the NICU or facing lifelong medical concerns. If a mother begins to experience the signs and symptoms of labor prior to 38 weeks, she should immediately consult her physician. In some cases, the baby can be born early without complications. In others, labor can be stopped with medications, bed rest and hospital care.
Most pregnancies are very healthy, but pregnancy does not come without risk. If things get serious, the potential for problems increases for both mom and baby. Being aware of potential problems in pregnancy allows a mother to remain proactive in her prenatal care, and this leads to a healthier pregnancy and a happier birth.