How Common Are Pregnancy Complications?

Every pregnant woman has some level of concern about pregnancy complications. It’s normal to wonder how a pregnancy will affect your health; however, there is good news: the vast majority of women have healthy pregnancies without problems. And, most difficulties of pregnancy can be managed well. 

Here we’ll discuss four of the more common pregnancy complications women experience.

1. Hyperemesis Gravidarum

There are numerous benefits to pregnancy hormones; they keep your pregnancy healthy, yet they are also what contributes to symptoms you might be experiencing, including morning sickness.

Most women have some morning sickness, but in 0.8-2.3 percent of pregnancies, it’s severe, causing weight loss and dehydration. When this happens, it’s called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). The term comes from Greek, where hyper means “over” as in excessive, and emesis translates to “vomiting.” Anyone who has experienced HG can vouch for the accurate description!

The most common reason for hospital admissions in the first-trimester pregnancy is due to dehydration from vomiting. HG often subsides between the twelfth and twentieth week of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a known way to prevent HG, but you can manage it through the following tips:

  • Small, frequent meals
  • Avoid spicy, fatty, and oily foods
  • Taking ginger and Vitamin B6 (check with your doctor first!)
  • Accupressure, acupuncture, or acustimulation
  • Antinausea and antihistamine medications

2. Miscarriage

A more common pregnancy complication is miscarriage. According to the March of Dimes (MOD), miscarriage is when a pregnancy ends on its own before the twentieth week of pregnancy.

50 to 75 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. This number may shock you, but it’s because most miscarriages happen just after a fertilized egg implants into the uterine line and before women realize they’re pregnant (known as a “chemical pregnancy”). Miscarriage rates drop to 10-25 percent in known pregnancies, and 80 percent of those occur in the first trimester.

If you’ve had a miscarriage, know that women often blame themselves or ask what they could have done to prevent their miscarriage. However, almost all miscarriages are unpreventable and caused by the embryo having genetic problems.

3. Infections

If you suspect you have an infection while you’re pregnant, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent pregnancy complications.

There are several bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections women can contract during pregnancy. Some common infections in pregnancy include:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Yeast infection
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Hepatitis B
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Toxoplasmosis
  • Viruses including the common cold, influenza, and Zika

Prevention includes washing your hands, not touching your face, disinfecting surfaces, and getting vaccinations. Untreated STIs can lead to scarring and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus), so be sure to get your recommended screenings — even if you don’t have symptoms. Infections cause approximately half of all preterm births.

4. Preterm Labor

Ninety percent of pregnancies last at least 37 weeks. Preterm labor is when your uterus starts having contractions, and your cervix begins to dilate before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It can lead to giving birth too early (preterm birth).

You can’t always prevent preterm labor, but you can take steps to reduce your risk by making healthy lifestyle choices. Get prenatal care throughout your pregnancy and see your dentist for check-ups. If you smoke, quit, and skip recreational drugs and alcohol. Get adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition.

Uncertain?

Is the possibility that you might have complications making you anxious? If you’re having doubts about whether you should continue your pregnancy, Willowbrook Women’s Center is a great first step. We can begin by confirming your pregnancy with a no-cost, lab-quality pregnancy test. Contact us today.