According to medical statistics based on reported cases alone, up to 94% of pregnancies develop complications. The majority of those are minor and never progress to a dangerous or potentially serious stage. However, that’s not always the case. Some complications can lead to extensive treatment or even fatal consequences and knowing what those are can them or at least lowering the risks.
Morning sickness is one of the most common pregnancy issues, involving about 70% of pregnancies. Hyperemesis gravidarum, however, is rare and occurs in only about 3% of pregnancies. This type of severe morning sickness involves excessive vomiting, extreme weakness, and can result in a 5% loss of pregnancy weight which can limit fetal growth and weaken the immune systems of the mother and fetus. Controlling your weight prior to pregnancy and getting proper prenatal care can help offset this condition.
Preeclampsia (originally known as toxemia) is a severe type of high blood pressure that often occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. Once the condition is diagnosed, childbirth is the only actual cure. If delivery is forced too early, or the condition isn’t treated correctly, both the mother and infant can suffer serious health issues including organ failure. Previous high blood pressure issues in the mother, high BMI over 30, extreme maternal age, and multiple fetuses are common risk factors. Early control and treatment for mothers at risk can be as simple as proper prenatal care and prescribed baby aspirin.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that is contracted only during pregnancy for up to 5% of expectant mothers. Glucose testing and screens usually begin by the end of the second trimester, and most cases can be effectively treated with a medically monitored diet and approved exercise. Pregnancy complications can include macrosomia (high fetal weight), higher risk for C-section, and hypoglycemia in the infant. Mothers and children exposed to GDM are also at higher risks of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
If the placenta lies too low, it can cover part of the cervix during the last trimester and cause heavy bleeding before or during delivery. This condition is called placenta previa, and it occurs in up to 3% of pregnancies. The condition can lead to slow organ formation in the fetus and require a cesarean birth. Those highest at risks include mothers over the age of 35, mothers who smoke or do cocaine, multiple fetal pregnancies, and women who have had previous c-sections or miscarriages.
Untreated or Mistreated Infections
Some common illnesses and infections can be relatively harmless to a fetus during pregnancy. But others can lead to serious pregnancy complications, future disabilities or serious life challenges, and even have fatal consequences. A urinary tract infection (UTI), the flu, and listeria may cause premature labor. But 20% of mothers with Hepatitis B end up passing it to their infants because the medical team fails to administer the vaccine prior to releasing the infant. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and toxoplasmosis can lead to sensory disabilities and/or intellectual disabilities in the infant. Group B strep and various sexually transmitted diseases can be fatal to an infant it passed during pregnancy or childbirth. Most pregnancy complications should be easily diagnosed and treated by the physician. But if medical neglect or oversights lead to pain and suffering, contact a competent birth injury attorney.