An average pregnancy lasts for 9 months – 9 magical months where your body nurtures and grows a tiny human being. But sometimes genes, underlying conditions or diseases that the mother has can lead to complications during pregnancy.
While most pregnancies are uncomplicated, it is always helpful to be aware of the common pregnancy complications that are most likely to affect expecting moms. Here is our quick snapshot of the most common pregnancy problems and how they can be treated.
Understanding The Most Common Complications And Pregnancy Problems, Their Causes, Risk Factors And Treatment
The placenta is a nutrient-dense organ that nourished the baby in the mother’s uterus.
Abruptio Placenta is when the placenta gets separated from the uterus before birth. Placental abruption deprives the baby of oxygen and essential nutrients. It also causes heavy bleeding in the mother. Severe placental abruption can lead to fetal death. Infants who survive have a 40-50% chance of developing severe lifelong health complications.
The causes of placental abruption are unknown. Sometimes an injury to the abdomen from a fall or an accident can cause it.
The onset of Abruptio Placenta is usually sudden and intense. Treatment for this pregnancy complication will depend on how far along you are in your pregnancy and the severity of the abruption. Treatments include close monitoring, medications to speed up the baby’s lung development or immediate delivery by C-section.
Risk factors include hypertension, maternal age above 40, previous history of placental abruption, smoking, accidents and falls.
Implantation bleeding is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. It occurs 6 to 12 days after conception. It is a common sign of pregnancy that 20 to 25 percent of women face and is rarely considered dangerous.
There is no need for treatment.
If the implantation bleeding is heavy, filled with blood clots and menstrual-like cramping, there is a risk that you may be experiencing a miscarriage.
Bleeding in the second and third trimester is usually a sign of pregnancy complications, placental complications, a vaginal or cervical infection.
Bleeding or spotting at any stage in pregnancy should be reported to a doctor right away.
11% to 38% of pregnant women experience constipation. Some pregnant women may develop constipation for the first time during pregnancy. Others might experience the worsening of their symptoms if they already suffered from constipation.
Hormonal changes, prenatal iron tablets can cause constipation.
A fiber-rich diet, increased fluid intake, including probiotics and regular exercise. Doctors may also recommend laxatives, suppositories and enemas for this pregnancy problems.
Constipation among pregnant women is related to age, pre-pregnancy body mass index, diet, exercise, occupation and psychological factors like stress.
Diarrhea during pregnancy is a common pregnancy problem.
Often caused due to virus, bacteria, stomach flu, intestinal parasites, food poisoning.
Steer clear of high-fat, fried foods, spicy foods, milk and dairy, and high-fiber foods.
ProHeraTip: If diarrhea persists a couple of days it can also quickly lead to dehydration, a major risk factor for premature labor. Loose motions are a pregnancy problem that must be taken seriously even if it is mild..- HERA
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy complication in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus. Almost 90 percent of the ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy needs immediate attention as it can be fatal.
There is no clear reason for an ectopic pregnancy. The common causes are hormonal imbalances, stress or imbalance to your uterus, such as surgery or pelvic inflammatory diseases.
Treatment for an ectopic pregnancy includes medication to stop and dissolve the pregnancy. Sometimes doctors recommend surgery to remove the pregnancy.
Risk factors include smoking, secondhand smoke, advanced maternal age, tubal blockage or previous tubal surgery, prior pelvic inflammatory disease, abdominal surgery. Another key risk factor is a previous history of ectopic pregnancies. 
Many pregnant women experience fatigue as one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a complex, chronic and debilitating condition. Symptoms include muscle and joint pain, sore throat, memory lapses, headaches, trouble sleeping and immunity problems.
Extra rest, coupled with stress management techniques and a nutritious diet.
The prime cause of this pregnancy complication is unknown. Some other causes include psychological stress, viral infections, toxic exposure, gastroenteritis or hormone imbalances. 
Chronic fatigue syndrome can occur at any age, but it most commonly affects young to middle-aged adults. Women are four times more likely to get it.
Gestational diabetes is a pregnancy complication in which the expectant mother’s blood sugar levels become high during pregnancy.
Treatment includes a healthy diet, moderate exercise and insulin injections in some cases.
Gestational diabetes is sometimes related to the hormonal changes of pregnancy. Genes and body weight may also play a role.
Overweight mothers, physical inactivity or a previous history of gestational diabetes.
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a hormone produced during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, hCG levels are usually low, and they rise, doubling almost every 48 hours. It peaks somewhere between 9th and 10th weeks after the last menstrual period and then starts to decline. Abnormal levels of hCG are associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes such as fetal loss, preeclampsia, preterm delivery and fetal growth restriction.
Abnormal hCG levels do not give a diagnosis of pregnancy complications. They only suggest that there are issues to look into. 
High blood pressure in pregnancy is called gestational hypertension and usually develops after 20 weeks. It can cause pregnancy complications such as Preeclampsia or HELLP Syndrome.
Treated through medication
Smoking, alcohol, family history, multiple pregnancies, maternal age over 35, diabetes are some causes of high blood pressure
Leading an unhealthy lifestyle, advanced maternal age, using assistive conception technologies or carrying multiples.
Mild itching is considered normal in pregnancy. It is caused due to the increased supply of blood to the skin. Intense and unbearable itching is a symptom Cholestasis of pregnancy. It is a liver condition and a 9th month pregnancy problem that occurs in the later weeks of pregnancy. This itching worsens at night and is accompanied by nausea, loss of appetite and yellowing of skin.
The cause of this 9th month pregnancy problem is unclear. Pregnancy hormones or genetic factors may cause it.
This pregnancy complication is treated with prescription drugs. Doctors also recommend soaking itchy areas in lukewarm water.
Risk factors include a personal or family history of cholestasis, twin pregnancy complications or a history of liver damage or liver disease.
Food aversions and loss of appetite affect more than half of all pregnant women, especially those struggling with morning sickness. A 9th month pregnancy problem is the loss of appetite due to heartburn.
Morning sickness and smell sensitivity, heartburn, constipation.
HeraProTip: If you are experiencing appetite loss a pregnancy complication consider eating bland, filling foods that are rich in nutrients..- HERA
A 9th month pregnancy problem for many women is that the breasts produce milk weeks or months before their due date. This substance is colostrum, the first milk your breasts make to prepare for feeding your baby. This is normal and nothing to worry about.
Labor pain in pregnancy is usually a case of stomach tightening and is called Braxton-Hicks contractions. These start as early as the fourth month and are do not affect the dilation of the cervix. They are irregular, with no set pattern that you can time.
Sex, exertion, dehydration are some triggers for Braxton-Hicks contractions in pregnancy.
Word of Caution: If there are more than four to six contractions in an hour or if the contractions are accompanied by cramping in the lower back or bleeding, you must consult a doctor.- HERA
Preterm labor is a pregnancy complication when contractions result in the opening of the cervix after week 20 and before week 37. It is the leading cause of premature birth.
Treatment includes medicine to either stop the labor or speed up the development of the baby’s lungs with antibiotics.
History of preterm delivery, history of cervical surgery, twin pregnancies, infections, congenital disabilities, high blood pressure, water bag breaking early or too much amniotic fluid.
Risk Factor: Smoking, drugs, alcohol, stress, obesity or not gaining enough weight
Miscarriages are a common pregnancy problem during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Symptoms of miscarriage are strong cramps in the lower abdomen and tissue passing through the vagina.
The doctor will give the mother medication to help pass the tissue. Sometimes they may need to perform a dilation and curettage (D&C), a scraping of the uterine lining, or a (D&E), a suction of the uterus to remove fetal tissue.
Often, pregnancy losses result from a problem with the chromosomes in the fetus. Other causes include problems with the sperm, the placenta cervix, uterus, or toxins in the environment. 
There are many risk factors for miscarriage that range from thyroid and pregnancy complications, hypertension, PCOS, autoimmune disorders, extreme weight and lifestyle factors such as drugs, smoking, alcohol or consuming too much coffee. Women with a history of miscarriages are also at a higher risk.
Vaginal discharge during pregnancy is clear. An increase in discharge during pregnancy is also normal. However, discharge with a foul smell, colored, or itchy, is an indication to visit the doctor.
ProHera Tip: During the last week of pregnancy, vaginal discharge may contain streaks of thick mucus and some blood. This is called a ‘show’ and is an indication that your body is preparing for labor..- HERA
Complications in pregnancy can involve the mother’s health, the baby’s health, or both. Fortunately, with proper treatment and advice, most can be managed so that you have a safe pregnancy and childbirth.
To know more about the various pregnancy complications and their treatments, keep reading the Hera blog.