Pregnancy Complications

Normal Pregnancy Discomforts

Some women breeze through their pregnancy, while others will deal with every discomfort in the book. Here are some ideas of ways to deal with pregnancy discomforts:

  • Nausea: Ginger tea, crackers, lemon drops.
  • Tired/Fatigued: Take naps, put your feet up, get help from friends and family, eat healthy foods, drink water, and limit your caffeine.
  • Heartburn: Avoid spicy foods, eat several small meals, drink lots of water.
  • Constipation: Drink lots of water, include fiber in your diet, exercise.
  • Moodiness: Take breaks, exercise, breathing exercises.
  • Backache: Take breaks, exercise, try prenatal yoga.
  • A Little Swelling: Put your feet up, drink lots of water – if you have lots of swelling, talk to your provider right away to make sure you aren’t suffering from preeclampsia (see below).


Possible Complications

This purpose of this section is to make you aware of some possible problems that can happen during pregnancy. Going to your regular prenatal visits will help your doctor identify whether or not you are at risk for any of these problems. If you think you might be experiencing any of these complications, call your doctor right away!

Premature/Preterm Labor:

Premature babies (born before 37 weeks) can have

  • Breathing problems
  • Feeding problems
  • Problems with their eyes and ears
  • Problems with their nervous systems

Premature babies are more susceptible to illness and they can die. If your baby is premature, he may need to be carefully monitored in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), a special unit for babies with health problems. Quitting smoking will decrease your chances of going into labor early and having a premature baby.


Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs, STDs):

STIs or STDs are infections that you can get from having sex with someone who is infected. When you are pregnant, these infections can cause harm to your baby. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis are infections that are treatable and curable (you can get rid of them with medications). Other STDs like HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and Herpes are treatable (you can take medication to manage them) but not curable (you can’t get rid of it). Babies born to moms with virus like herpes and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), can become infected during the birthing process. It is very important to be tested for these infections during pregnancy.


Bacterial Vaginosis (BV):

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a common infection in pregnant women. It is caused by an imbalance of the normal bacteria in the vagina. It is not sexually transmitted, but is associated with intercourse. Untreated BV can cause preterm labor and low birth weight.


Group B Streptococcus (GBS):

GBS is a bacterium that can live in your vagina, rectal area, and intestines. If you are positive for GBS you can pass it onto your baby and some (not all) can develop serious illnesses including sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Your doctor will screen you for GBS towards the end of your pregnancy. If you are positive, you will probably be given antibiotics during your labor.


Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational Diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy. It causes high levels of glucose in the blood which can cause health problems. The risks of Gestational Diabetes are having a very large baby, and you are more likely to develop high blood pressure and preeclampsia. Babies are at risk of having breathing problems, low glucose levels, and jaundice. Most GD can be controlled with diet and exercise, but medication might be needed.



Preeclampsia (also called toxemia) is a condition that pregnant women can get. It is marked by high blood pressure and protein in your urine. Some signs of preeclampsia are rapid weight gain, major swelling, severe headache, vision changes, and very sharp pain in your abdomen. If untreated, it can lead to Eclampsia – very serious illness for you and your baby.