8 Pregnancy Complications: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

|   June 24, 2021   |   Obstetrics & Maternity

8 Pregnancy Complications: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatments

If you've just learned you're pregnant, you've probably got a lot of questions, especially if this is your first child. Are those cramps normal? Will you start craving weird foods? And what about any complications like gestational diabetes, ectopic pregnancy, and preeclampsia?

You're probably being flooded with lots of stories from the other women in your life, and it may be hard to sort through all that information. It doesn't have to be stressful, however. We're here to help you sort through some of your burning questions to let you know what is normal, and when you should schedule an appointment to see us.

Miscarriage


Miscarriage is a subject that many women don't like to discuss, especially if they have lost a child, but it's important for you to at least know what it is, and how it happens. MedlinePlus states, "A miscarriage is an unexpected loss of pregnancy before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages happen very early in the pregnancy, often before a woman even knows she is pregnant." A miscarriage may happen because of a genetic problem with the fetus, problems with the uterus or cervix, or a chronic disease.

SYMPTOMS

  • vaginal spotting
  • abdominal pain or cramping
  • fluid or tissue passing from the vagina
  • bleeding

DIAGNOSIS

If a miscarriage is suspected, there are a few ways to diagnose it.

  • A blood test that will check the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This is also known as the pregnancy hormone.
  • A pelvic exam to see if the cervix is dilated or thinned.
  • An ultrasound to look at the uterus and placenta.

TREATMENT

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, "Treatments for pregnancy loss focus on ensuring that the nonviable pregnancy leaves the woman's body safely and completely. Women going through pregnancy loss are at risk for bleeding, pain, and infection, especially if some of the pregnancy tissue remains behind in the uterus."

Ectopic Pregnancy


For a typical pregnancy, it develops in the uterus or the womb. In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, it develops in the fallopian tubes. As the fetus begins to grow, it can cause the uterus to burst.

SYMPTOMS

  • Cramping on one side of the pelvis
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Pain in the lower abdominal area
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Sudden or severe pain in the lower abdomen

Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy

DIAGNOSIS

There are several options available to doctors to test for an ectopic pregnancy. These include: 

  • Pelvic examination
  • Ultrasound
  • Blood tests
  • Laparoscopy

TREATMENT

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "An ectopic pregnancy cannot move or be moved to the uterus, so it always requires treatment. There are two methods used to treat an ectopic pregnancy: 1) medication and 2) surgery. Several weeks of follow-up are required with each treatment."

In the case of medication, methotrexate is administered through an injection. It will prevent the cells from growing, which will end the pregnancy. 

During surgery, the ectopic pregnancy will be removed from the fallopian tube. In some severe cases, the entire tube might be removed.

Gestational Diabetes


If you're not already diagnosed with diabetes, you may be at risk of gestational diabetes. The CDC reports, "Gestational diabetes occurs when your body can't make enough insulin during your pregnancy. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy." 

SYMPTOMS

There are no real symptoms for gestational diabetes. You'll have to be tested to know for sure. This usually takes place during the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

DIAGNOSIS

A blood test is usually all it takes to diagnose gestational diabetes. There are two commonly used tests. 

  • Glucose Challenge Test
  • Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT)

TREATMENT

The treatment for gestational diabetes is largely dependent on you. It will require that you:

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Remain active
  • Check your blood sugar
  • Keep all your doctor appointments 

Incompetent Cervix


The lower cervix is where the fetus grows during the pregnancy. During a typical pregnancy, the cervix doesn't begin to dilate until it's closer to time for birth. MedlinePlus reports that an incompetent cervix will widen before the baby is due to come.

SYMPTOMS

There aren't any major symptoms that you will notice, except for bleeding, and possibly an infection.

DIAGNOSIS

  • Transvaginal ultrasound
  • Pelvic exam
  • Lab tests

TREATMENT

If left undiagnosed, an incompetent cervix could lead to miscarriage. There are a few treatment options if diagnosed in time, which include: 

  • Ultrasounds
  • Progesterone supplementation. This is a hormone which will be administered weekly.
  • Cervical cerclage, which is a surgery in which your cervix will be stitched together. These will be removed in the last month of pregnancy, or during labor.

Low or Excess Amniotic Fluid


When in the amniotic sac, the fetus is surrounded by a clear or slightly yellowish liquid called amniotic fluid. Too much or too little amniotic fluid can lead to health problems for the baby. It will be monitored by your doctor throughout the pregnancy.

Preeclampsia


If you suddenly find your blood pressure rising during pregnancy, even though it was never an issue before you became pregnant, it may be preeclampsia

SYMPTOMS

  • Blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher
  • Swelling
  • Protein in urine

DIAGNOSIS

  • Monitor blood pressure

TREATMENT

If the fetus is 37 weeks old or later, the doctor will likely induce labor. If the fetus has not reached 37 weeks yet, then the doctor may:

  • Continue to monitor the fetus until it reaches 37 weeks
  • Put the mother on bed rest
  • Administer anticonvulsive medication
  • Admit the mother to the hospital to be monitored

Eclampsia


This is when preeclampsia has progressed, and the mother starts to have seizures. It is a medical emergency, and the mother will be admitted to the hospital immediately. Magnesium is often administered to help control the seizures.

Venous Thrombosis

Pregnancy can increase the risk of Venous thrombosis. This is essentially a blood clot. The CDC reports that an increase of estrogen in a woman's body can increase the risk of Venous thrombosis for up to three months after the pregnancy ends. 

SYMPTOMS

  • Swelling of the affected limb
  • Pain or tenderness not caused by injury
  • Skin that is warm to the touch, red, or discolored

More serious symptoms that require immediate medical attention include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain that worsens with a deep breath or cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Faster than the normal or irregular heartbeat

DIAGNOSIS

  • Venous compression ultrasonography

TREATMENT

  • Low-molecular-weight heparin

Schedule An Appointment Today with an OB/GYN In Jackson, MS


It's crucial that you keep all of your appointments. If you feel like something is wrong, or you're having symptoms that seem a little off, don't hesitate to call us and make an appointment. It may be nothing, but it's better to have it diagnosed by one of our doctors rather than wait. Contact us to make an appointment today.


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