When the pregnancy reports come positive, it becomes the most exciting and emotional moment. It is the journey of parents-to-be and the baby developing inside the mother’s womb. This journey can be a cakewalk, or it can be difficult for a few. It is different for different couples, and the common early pregnancy complication is a miscarriage.
There can be a few other complications that pregnant women may experience in their early pregnancy. This includes:
- Vaginal bleeding: An occasional spotting is common during pregnancy. But, if there is heavy bleeding, it indicates a miscarriage. If the blood is bright red, along with cramps similar to periods, it is a clear sign of miscarriage. If the heavy bleeding is coupled with sharp lower abdominal pain, it indicates ectopic pregnancy.
- Ectopic pregnancy: In an ectopic pregnancy, the foetus may develop in one of the fallopian tubes. Sometimes it can also be found in the ovary, any previous scar of a C-section or any other part of the abdomen. Ideally, the fertilized egg slips down from the fallopian tubes and attaches to the uterus lining, and the baby grows in the uterus. But in an ectopic pregnancy, the fallopian tubes cannot be stretched, thus preventing the growth of the baby. In this situation, either the miscarriage happens naturally, or it becomes necessary to terminate the pregnancy.
- Excessive nausea and vomiting: It is common for pregnant women to experience morning sickness. Morning sickness is due to hormonal changes in the body. But excessive nausea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, electrolyte and fluid imbalance, dizziness, and weight loss. With excessive dehydration, the mother might have to be hospitalized for immediate intravenous drip for electrolyte and fluid balance.
- Vaginal Discharge and Itching: During pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes in the female’s body. A small amount of vaginal discharge is normal, but if the mother-to-be experiences abnormal vaginal discharge, along with itching, it might be due to vaginal infections. It can also be a sexually transmitted infection, which can be harmful to the baby. Hence, it is advisable to consult your gynaecologist and seek immediate treatment as soon as possible.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs): There will be times when you might experience burning and pain while urinating. This may be a sign of a urinary tract infection. For UTI treatment, you need to drink ample water alongside other treatments as advised by your gynaecologist. If left untreated, UTIs can lead to serious infections, premature delivery or preterm birth.
- Preeclampsia: It is the condition where the mother’s blood pressure shoots up abnormally. It can also be seen in women with no history of high blood pressure before pregnancy. If it goes undetected or is not treated on time, it can be life-threatening for the mother and the baby. You can detect it early by looking for symptoms like severe headache, vision changes, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and pain under the ribs. Many a time, the female will not show any symptoms, and it is only detected during a routine check-up. The risk factor for preeclampsia is obesity, pregnancy with more than one foetus and extremely high blood pressure before pregnancy.
- Foetal alcohol symptom: Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to foetal alcohol symptoms. This condition affects the mental & physical development of the foetus as the alcohol consumed can be passed to the baby through the placenta.
- HELLP syndrome: HELLP syndrome stands for haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. It affects the liver of pregnant women and is often associated with preeclampsia. It has symptoms like nausea, gastrointestinal pain, severe headaches, and severe itching on the body. In severe cases, immediate delivery is the only option or it might damage the mother’s nervous system, lungs and kidneys.
- Anaemia: During pregnancy, the body automatically produces 20% more blood to provide nutrition to the baby. This means the mother needs extra iron to make enough haemoglobin and compensate for the increase in blood. If the mother has an iron deficiency, it might lead to anaemia. Anaemia can be detected with early signs of tiredness, dizziness, shortness of breath, and rapid heartbeats. If untreated, anaemia might lead to a pre-term baby or low weight of the baby at birth.
There is always a trigger for these complications to arise. Stress is one of the biggest (and the most harmful) triggers that can aggravate all pregnancy complications. To maintain good health, it is important for the mother to de-stress, which can be done through yoga and meditation.
Early pregnancy care is also recommended as tests and scans early in the pregnancy can help avoid or identify complications at the earliest so that they can be treated immediately. For a healthy pregnancy, ensure to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. Plus, never skip your doctor’s appointment and follow the given instructions.