What are the most common pregnancy risks?

Although the outcomes for mothers and babies are better than at any time in history, there are still several pregnancy risks that any mother-to-be needs to be aware of. Some are more prominent in women over 35 years of age, such as fetal anomalies, while others can strike at any age. The most common risks associated with pregnancy include gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, fetal abnormalities, and hemorrhage. These don't affect most women if proper precautions are taken, but they are common enough to be aware of.

Gestational diabetes is one of the most common pregnancy risks and one of the most serious for many mothers. In general, it refers to diabetes caused by pregnancy and increases the risk of complications for the mother. Babies born to mothers with the condition are often large for gestational age and may have more difficulty passing through the birth canal. Having gestational diabetes also puts women at higher risk of developing type II diabetes later in life. In most cases, women who develop this condition do not remain diabetic after giving birth.

In most cases, gestational diabetes can be controlled with a strict diet plan used to control blood sugar. Daily blood sugar tests are also done with a portable monitor. Many doctors try to induce labor before the due date in a diabetic mother due to the risk of an enlarged baby, but this is usually not necessary for those whose diabetes is controlled.

Preeclampsia is another pregnancy risk that occurs relatively frequently. It is marked by high blood pressure, swelling of the hands and feet, and elevated levels of protein in the urine. Without treatment, this condition can escalate and become very serious for both mother and baby. The result is often a condition called eclampsia, which can lead to seizures, coma, or death. Pre-eclampsia needs to be closely monitored, and if it cannot be successfully treated with medication, a cesarean section or induction may be necessary.

Fetal abnormalities are also considered pregnancy risks because many of them threaten the health of the fetus. Genetic problems are more common in women over the age of 35, as their eggs are older and more likely to have abnormalities. Down syndrome is one of the most common conditions and is associated with mental retardation and health problems for the baby. Genetic problems often lead to miscarriage or miscarriage.

Ectopic or tubal pregnancy is also a risk and can be a life-threatening condition for the mother. An ectopic pregnancy describes a situation in which a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. The tube cannot expand and support a pregnancy beyond a few weeks, so as the baby grows, the end result is rupture of the tubes.

If not detected quickly, a tubal pregnancy could be fatal to the mother due to severe internal bleeding in the abdominal cavity caused by the rupture of the tube. Warning signs of a tubal pregnancy include severe stomach pain on one side, bleeding, and lower back pain. If they are present, emergency care should be sought immediately.

Other risks of pregnancy include hemorrhage after delivery, infection of the postpartum uterus, and, in some cases, loss of thyroid function. These can be successfully treated if caught early enough. Heart problems can also occasionally arise during or after pregnancy, most often in people with undiagnosed heart conditions. Symptoms may appear during pregnancy because the heart must work harder to keep the baby growing.

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