Common Complications During Pregnancy – How to Avoid Them

Common Complications During Pregnancy – How to Avoid Them


By Dr Radhika KandulaGynaecology

Pregnancy may be considered as one of the most challenging aspects of a woman’s life; yet its beauty and joy seem to surpass the challenges and discomfort.

Most pregnancies occur without complications. However, some women who are pregnant experience complications that can involve their health, their baby’s health, or both. Sometimes, diseases or conditions the mother had before she became pregnant can lead to complications during pregnancy. Some complications occur during delivery.

Even with complications, early detection and prenatal care can reduce any further risk to you and your baby. Some common complications which might occur during pregnancy are discussed below:

Bleeding: Heavy bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain and menstrual-type cramps during the first trimester might indicate an ectopic pregnancy (embryo is implanted in a location other than the uterus) or a miscarriage while occurrence in the third semester indicates placental abruption (the placenta getting separated from the womb;s wall). Any form of bleeding would require the immediate attention of the doctor. Steps to avoid bleeding include bed rest, avoiding heavy work and staying hydrated all day long.

Flu Symptoms: It is recommended that flu vaccine be administered to pregnant women as they usually tend to develop the disease during their pregnancy.

High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is associated with a higher risk of many other complications, like preeclampsia. It puts you at a higher risk of having a baby well before your due date. This is called preterm delivery. It also increases your risk of having a baby who’s small. It’s important to control your blood pressure with medications during pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes: Gestational diabetes occurs when your body cannot process sugars effectively. This leads to higher-than-normal levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Some women will need to modify their meal plans to help control blood sugar levels. Others may need to take insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in control. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after pregnancy.

Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is also called toxemia. It occurs after the first 20 weeks of a pregnancy and causes high blood pressure and problems with your kidneys. The only cure for preeclampsia is delivering the baby early or if it is too early, the doctor provides the medication.

Preterm Labor: Preterm labor occurs when you go into labor before week 37 of your pregnancy. This is before your baby’s organs, such as the lungs and the brain, have finished developing. Certain medications can stop labor. Doctors usually recommend bed rest to keep the baby from being born too early.

Miscarriage: A miscarriage is the loss of pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), up to 20 percent of pregnancies among healthy women will end in a miscarriage. Sometimes, this happens before a woman is even aware of the pregnancy. In most cases, miscarriage isn’t preventable.

Anemia: If you have anemia, you may feel more tired and weak than usual, and you may have pale skin. Anemia has many causes and your doctor will need to treat the underlying cause of the anemia.

Infections: A variety of bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections may complicate a pregnancy. Infections can be harmful to both the mother and the baby, so it’s important to seek treatment right away.


Not all complications are preventable. The following steps may help promote a healthy pregnancy and prevent you from having a high-risk pregnancy:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and fiber.
  • Take prenatal vitamins daily.
  • Attend all routine prenatal visits, including those with a specialist if one is recommended.
  • Quit smoking if you smoke.
  • Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
  • Ask your doctor if the medications you’re already taking are okay to continue taking or if you should stop taking them.
  • Reduce your stress levels. Listening to music and doing yoga are two ways to reduce your stress levels.