Pregnancy Complications Homework Help
Most pregnant women do not experience pregnancy complications. Some involve complications that can potentially interfere with their health, that of their baby, or both. Some complications may be due to health conditions or diseases the mother had before she became pregnant. Other compilations start during birth.
Prenatal care and early detection can go a long way in reducing the risk complications pose to the mother and her baby. The most common pregnancy complications are:
- high blood pressure
- loss of pregnancy or miscarriage
- preterm labor
- gestational diabetes.
Who is at risk for pregnancy complications?
Women who have a chronic illness or health condition should talk to their doctor before they get pregnant. This will help reduce the possibility of any complications. If such women get pregnant before talking to the doctor, they should have the doctor closely monitor their pregnancy.
Examples of health conditions and diseases that are likely to trigger complications during pregnancy include:
- high blood pressure
- sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV
- kidney problems
In addition to these conditions and illnesses, other factors can increase the risk for complications during pregnancy. These factors include:
- using illegal drugs
- being pregnant at age 35 or older
- smoking cigarettes
- carrying multiples such as twins or triplets
- drinking alcohol
- being pregnant at a young age
- having a history of preterm birth or pregnancy loss
- having an eating disorder such as being anorexic
common pregnancy and labor complications covered in our homework help
It is sometimes hard to differentiate between the symptoms of complications and symptoms of a normal pregnancy. Many complications are usually mild and do not progress, However, it is still important to talk to the doctor if you are concerned.
Prompt treatment helps in managing most of the pregnancy complications. The most common complications experienced during pregnancy are:
- High blood pressure – high blood pressure is usually caused by the narrowing of the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the placenta and other organs of the body. High blood pressure is linked to other complications such as preeclampsia.
Pregnant women with high blood pressure are at an increased risk of premature birth. This means that they are more likely to deliver the baby before the due date. Premature birth also increases the risk of delivering a small baby. High blood pressure during pregnancy should therefore be controlled using medications to avoid further complications.
- Preeclampsia – this complication is common, especially during the second trimester or just after birth. Women with preeclampsia will experience fluid retention, high blood pressure, and have protein in the urine.
If left untreated, preeclampsia leads to serious complications, and in some cases, it can be life-threatening. Preeclampsia causes growth problems in the unborn child. The exact cause of preeclampsia remains unknown. It is believed that it occurs if there is a problem with the placenta.
In some cases, preeclampsia may go unnoticed. Mild eclampsia is monitored with regular urine and blood pressure tests during antenatal appointments and will disappear once the baby is born. Severe eclampsia on the other hand may need hospitalization.
Symptoms of eclampsia include protein in the urine and high blood pressure. Progressive symptoms include less urine, dizziness, severe headaches, nausea and vomiting, vision problems, feeling generally unwell, excessive weight gain, pain in the upper abdomen, and shortness of breath.
Untreated preeclampsia might cause stroke, eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and problems with the brain and kidneys. It may also lead to preterm birth. Effects of preeclampsia on the unborn baby are slow growth due to a poor supply of blood through the placenta. This means that the baby receives less oxygen and nutrients hence the slow development. This is called intrauterine growth restriction or growth retardation.
Risk factors for preeclampsia include :
- existing medical issues such as kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and migraines.
- if you had preeclampsia in previous pregnancies
- if you are expecting multiple babies such as twins or triplets since multiple gestations put more strain on the placenta
- you are a teenager or above 40 years of age
- you have a family history of preeclampsia
- if you were obese at the beginning of the pregnancy
- if it has been 10 years or more since your last pregnancy
- if it is your first pregnancy
Preeclampsia is managed by controlling blood pressure and managing the symptoms. In some cases, medications may be used. Severe preeclampsia will need hospitalization. Doctors say that the only sure way of treating preeclampsia is by delivering the baby.
Preeclampsia is also known as toxemia. It causes problems with the kidney and high blood pressure. For women who are between the 37-40th week of pregnancy, the doctor will induce labor so that they can deliver the baby and placenta to prevent preeclampsia from progressing.
If preeclampsia starts too early into the pregnancy, the doctor will need to monitor the mother and baby closely. The doctor may give medications to lower blood pressure. The mother may be hospitalized for close monitoring and care.
- Preterm Labor – this is when the mother goes into labor before the 37th week of the pregnancy. At this time, the bay’s organs like the brain and lungs are not fully developed. Some medications can be given to stop labor. In most cases, the doctor will recommend bed rest. This helps to stop the early delivery of the baby.
- Gestational diabetes – this is diabetes that starts during pregnancy. It occurs when the body is not able to process sugar as it is supposed to. This means that levels of blood sugar in the blood are higher than they are supposed to be.
To control blood sugar levels during pregnancy, it may be necessary for women to modify their meal plans and diet. Some women may need to take insulin to control their sugar levels. Gestational diabetes resolves soon as the mother gives birth.
- Miscarriage – miscarriage is defined as the loss of pregnancy in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage may also happen way early even before the woman knows she is pregnant.
Most cases of miscarriage cannot be prevented. Miscarriage and stillbirth are not the same things. Miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy within the first 20 weeks while stillbirth is the loss of pregnancy after the 20th week.
The main cause of miscarriage is not known. On the other hand, stillbirth may be caused by;
- problems with the placenta
- chronic health issues in the mother
- Anaemia – anemia occurs when the number of red blood cells in the body is lower than normal. Pregnant women with anemia will feel more weak and tired than usual. Some may develop pale skin.
Anemia can be caused by several factors and thus the doctor needs to identify and treat the underlying cause. Most cases of anemia during pregnancy occur due to deficiency therefore mothers need to take folic acid and iron supplements.
Anemia means that there is not enough hemoglobin in the blood to carry oxygen around the mother’s body and her baby. Most cases of anemia in pregnancy are mild. Severe anemia is characterized by difficulty concentrating, being constantly out of breath, feeling irritable, weak, and dizzy and the heart will race more often.
Why do pregnant women become anemic?
The body changes during pregnancy to accommodate the baby. During pregnancy, the body needs to make more blood. The blood level in a woman before pregnancy is usually around 5L and increases to 7 or 8 L at the end of pregnancy.
To make this extra blood, the body will need a lot of vitaminB12, folate, and iron. The main cause of anemia in pregnancy is iron deficiency. Pregnant women need triple the amount of iron than when they are not.
Throughout the pregnancy, iron requirements keep on increasing. Naturally, it is difficult for the body to absorb iron which means that it is difficult to make hemoglobin. Anemia in pregnancy can be prevented by taking supplements.
Sickle cell disease and preeclampsia may also increase the risk for anemia in pregnancy. A blood test is usually done on the first antenatal appointment and at 28 weeks. This blood test is meant to check your full blood count.
If your hemoglobin levels are low for the stage of pregnancy, additional tests may be done. Severe anemia during pregnancy is likely to affect the heart and may worsen the mother’s condition if they lose a lot of blood when giving birth.
How to avoid anemia in pregnancy
Anemia is prevented in the following ways:
- Starting pregnancy in good health – it is important to see the doctor for a check-up before one gets pregnant. The doctor will advise the woman about anemia and other health conditions.
They will also advise them on the need to take folate and iodine supplements. Women planning to get pregnant should take folic acid supplements for a month before they get pregnant.
Taking supplements reduces the risk of neural tube defects. Women with diabetes, epilepsy, and those that are overweight will need an increased dose of the daily folic acid supplement. A daily dose of the folic acid supplement should be discussed with the doctor.
150mcg of iodine is recommended. It can be taken through supplements or obtained from what the person consumes. Iodine is important for the development of the baby. The iodine requirement for pregnant women is higher than that of the average person.
- eating a healthy diet while pregnant – a healthy diet is a simple way of preventing anemia. Common sources of iron include dried fruits, spinach, fortified bread, and cereals.
Vitamin B12 on the other hand is found in fish, meat, dairy products, eggs, and shellfish. Folate is found in beans, beef, green leafy vegetables, asparagus, muesli, and brussels sprouts. It is important to eat foods that contain these nutrients to prevent anemia.
Vegetarian women can replace animal food with beans, tofu, soy milk, and eggs. Eating plenty of fruits after meals may help in the absorption of iron in the food. Also, it is important to avoid taking coffee or tea soon after meals as they may interfere with the absorption of iron.
- supplements – women planning to get pregnant are advised to take folate and iodine supplements. They should continue taking these supplements during the first trimester.
In addition to supplements. they should eat foods rich in folate and iodine. Iron deficient women will be advised to take iron supplements. Vegetarian women will be advised to take vitamin B 12 supplements.
- Infections – there is a variety of viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections that may complicate a pregnancy. These infections can harm both the mother and her unborn baby. Infections should thus be treated as soon as possible.
These infections include:
- bacterial vaginosis
- urinary tract infection
- a yeast infection
- zika virus
- group B Streptococcus
- hepatitis B virus
Some of these infections can be easily prevented by regularly washing hands. Hepatitis B virus and influenza can be prevented by vaccination.
- Severe vomiting (Hyperemesis gravidarum) – in the first trimester, nausea and vomiting are very common. However, some women may experience severe vomiting and nausea which is called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Pregnant women who experience severe nausea and vomiting should go to the hospital for treatment. Hyperemesis gravidarum is rare but severe. It is worse than morning sickness. Women with this condition cannot keep food down and are sick all the time. Symptoms of this condition usually begin between the 4th and 9th week of the pregnancy and will start to improve by the 15th to 20th week.
Signs and symptoms of this condition include:
- prolonged and severe nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- headaches, confusion, jaundice, and fainting
- low blood pressure
- ketosis (increased number of ketones in the urine and blood)
This condition is unpleasant and its symptoms are usually dramatic. However, there is very little chance of this condition harming the baby. If hyperemesis gravidarum causes excessive weight loss during pregnancy, the baby will likely be born smaller than normal.
Mild cases of this condition are controlled by a change of diet, antacids, and enough rest. Severe cases on the other hand might need specialist treatment and will sometimes need the woman to be admitted to the hospital so that the condition can be assessed and the right treatment given.
Treatment at the hospital might include treatment to stop the vomiting and intravenous fluids to treat ketosis. Hyperemesis gravidarum can cause dehydration. This means that there is an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis with this condition.
- Labor complications – several complications can occur during labor and at the time of giving birth. Complications during labor will force the doctor to change the way they plan to proceed with the delivery.
- Breech position – a baby in breech position is one whereby their legs are positioned to be delivered before the head. Breech position occurs in about 4% of all full-term births. Babies in breech positions are usually healthy.
If the baby is too big to pass through the birth canal or if they show signs of distress, the doctor will recommend against a vaginal birth. In some cases, the doctor may try to change the position of the baby if they are found to be in breech position weeks before delivery.
If the baby is in a breech position during labor, a cesarean section is done.
- Placenta previa – this is when the placenta covers the cervix. In such cases, a cesarean section is the best solution.
- Low birth weight – low birth weight is caused by smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, using illicit drugs, and poor nutrition during birth. Low birth weight babies are at risk of blindness, respiratory infections, heart infections, and learning disabilities. When a baby is born at low birth weight, there is a need for them to stay at the hospital for a couple of months after being born for close monitoring.
When should you call the doctor?
Pregnant women should call the doctor whenever there are signs of problems. They should call the doctor as soon as possible if they experience the following:
- bleeding from the vagina
- blurred vision
- severe headaches
- sudden swelling of the face or hands
- persistent vomiting
- pain in the abdomen
- if you feel the baby is moving less than usual, especially in the third trimester
How to prevent pregnancy complications
It is impossible to prevent all pregnancy complications. To promote a healthy pregnancy and prevent high-risk pregnancies, it is important to follow these steps:
- eating a healthy diet with a lot of vegetables, fruits, fiber, and lean proteins
- taking prenatal vitamins daily
- smokers should quit smoking
- stopping the use of alcohol and illegal drugs
- women planning to get pregnant should first consult with the doctor to help them prepare.
- attending all routine prenatal clinical
- reducing stress levels
- being careful and talking to the doctor about the safety of continued use of certain medications.
- being at a healthy weight before getting pregnant and a healthy weight gain of around 25-35 pounds during pregnancy.
Most women do not experience complications during pregnancy. Some pregnancy complications can interfere with the heath of the mother and the unborn baby. Some pregnancy complications are caused by health conditions the mother had before she got pregnant.
However, some complications start during the pregnancy.
Most pregnant women do not experience pregnancy complications. Some experience complications that can potentially interfere with their health, that of their baby, or both. Some complications may be due to health conditions or diseases the mother had before she became pregnant. Other compilations start during birth. Early diagnosis helps reduce the risk of complications.
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Prenatal care and early detection can go a long way in reducing the risk of complications pose to
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