What Causes Complications During Pregnancy?
Most pregnancies occur without any complications. In some cases, however, complications can occur that can affect the health of the mother, baby, or both. Prenatal care and early identification of potential complications can reduce the risk to both the mother and baby. Conversations with your doctor before you become pregnant can identify any pre-existing risk factors, and monitoring during pregnancy ensures that complications can be identified before they worsen. Common conditions that can cause complications during pregnancy include diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, certain STDs, and anemia. Those who are pregnant at an older age, have an eating disorder, or have a history of pregnancy loss may also find themselves at a higher risk for complications. Pregnancy comes with many new symptoms, so if you are unsure if something you are feeling is normal or is a sign of a problem, please don’t hesitate to discuss it with your doctor at NJPA so any necessary steps can be taken.
Care for Pregnancy-Related Complications at NJPA
Preterm Birth Prevention
Preterm birth occurs when a child is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy – before he or she can fully grow and develop properly in utero. The leading cause of infant death is the child being born before week 31 or 32. Preterm birth may also be associated with long-term mental disabilities, cerebral palsy, and vision issues. Preterm birth prevention includes undertaking actions to reduce the risk of preterm birth, such as seeking prenatal care regularly, consuming prenatal vitamins, remaining at a healthy weight (not underweight or overweight), quitting smoking and alcohol use, and remaining the healthiest you possibly can throughout the pregnancy.
Twins, triplets, and even quadruplets may not always be planned for, but they can be an exceptional surprise for an expectant mother and her partner. Multiple gestations, however, increase the risk of preterm labor with each additional baby. The average twin pregnancy lasts 36 weeks, and triplet and quadruplet pregnancies last around 32 weeks. Being closely monitored during a multiple gestation pregnancy can help prevent low birth weight, gestational diabetes, and the loss of a fetus – three common pregnancy complications that can occur when multiple gestations are involved.
Placenta Previa Abruption & Vasa Previa
Placenta previa occurs when the placenta is too close to the cervix. Placental abruption, however, occurs when the placenta tears away from the uterine wall; not only is this very dangerous, but it can threaten the health of the child and the mother. Vasa previa is a rare condition that is also very dangerous, with blood vessels crossing over the cervix. Ultrasound may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of all three of these conditions.
Intrauterine Growth Restriction
Intrauterine growth restriction is when a baby grows poorly inside of the womb. If this is the case with an expectant mother, her child may be born with a significantly low birth weight. Serious health problems could ensue. For this reason, we have a strict approach when it comes to dealing with – and even preventing – intrauterine growth restriction. Our physicians advise that expectant mothers attend all prenatal appointments to monitor the baby’s growth, check the medications being taken during pregnancy, keep their bodies well-nourished, and cease alcohol consumption and smoking immediately. Bed rest and labor induction at an early stage may be necessary for a mother to protect the health of her unborn baby. However, in most cases, careful observation will allow the pregnancy to continue until full term.
Hypertension and Preeclampsia
When a woman’s blood pressure increases after 20 weeks of pregnancy, she may be developing preeclampsia. This condition may be dangerous for both the baby and mother – especially since there are sometimes no physical symptoms. This condition can keep a baby from receiving the proper amount of blood and oxygen from their mother and place the mother at risk for medical complications. For those women with preeclampsia, our team of doctors will work with the mother and her obstetrician to help her and her baby receive the most thorough care possible.