Pregnancy complications Part III article includes ItchySkin and Itching, Incompetent Cervix or Cervical Insufficiency, Morning Sickness, Nausea, Vomiting, Obstetric Cholestasis, Preeclampsia, and Pelvic Pain. Learn about symptoms, causes, effects, treatment, and prevention tips associated with each individual pregnancy complication.
A perfect pregnancy is the one that proceeds with moderate symptoms and in the absence of any major hitch. But not all are that lucky and some face more severe pregnancy complications. With early detection, understanding of symptoms, and adequate prenatal care, you can handle these complications successfully and without any threat to maternal health or the baby.
Itchy Skin and Itching
One in every four pregnant women has itchy skin. Mild itching is common and usually not considered among pregnancy complications. However, severe itching indicates a serious condition called obstetric cholestasis and it can be serious problem.
Normally, changes in hormones, dryness, and stretching turn the skin itchy, most notably close the abdomen and breast areas. This may aggravate preexisting eczema.Fungal infection too causes itchiness.
Symptoms: Mild to moderate itching
Causes: Hormonal changes due to pregnancy (when not obstetric cholestasis), fungal infection, dry skin
Treatment/Prevention: Use breathable, loose clothes, avoid using deodorants or perfumes, drink a lot of water, avoid fried, packed, and junked foods, go for cold water baths, use moisturizers, and avoid sun exposure at noon and afternoon.
Incompetent Cervix Pregnancy Complications
Alternatively known as cervical insufficiency, incompetent cervix is a serious pregnancy complication. The most prominent symptom is a weakened cervix and a factor in premature birth and miscarriage after the second trimester.
Cervix extends from uterus to vagina. When the bay grows in the womb, it puts a lot of pressure on cervix. In case of a healthy cervix, it withholds the pressure for the full term and opens up only when the fetus is ready for birth. But a weakened cervix may open even if the child is not fully developed. It results in premature birth or miscarriage.
The incident of incompetent cervix is rare with less than 1 percent women subject to this complication during pregnancy.
Symptoms: Persistent discomfort or spotting after 14th week, feeling of pelvic pressure, abdominal cramps, backache
Causes: Previous cervix surgery or damage, prior second-trimester miscarriages, uterine abnormality, frail physique
Treatment/Prevention: Cervicalcerclage involves stitching of a band/ belt is used to support the cervix. Rest under enhanced care, progesterone supplementation, regular monitoring, and restricted physical activity help continue with the pregnancy.
Morning Sickness During Pregnancy
About 80 percent of pregnant woman experience morning sickness. It starts between the 4th and 6th weeks into pregnancy. The symptoms vary from mild to severe nausea, vomiting, and electrolyte disturbance. It peaks around the 9th week and often experienced throughout the day before subsiding by the 13th week.
It does not impact the baby directly, but may result in pregnancy complications with potential to cause fetal distress. Morning sickness could inhibit food intake, cause dehydration, aggravate lack of nutrition, and contribute to psychological distress.
Symptoms: Nausea or vomiting or both, weight loss, electrolyte disturbance,dehydration, disinterested in eating and drinking, secondary anxiety, decrease in urination, headaches, low blood pressure
Causes: Release of high amount of HCG hormone into blood by the placenta, pregnancy stress, increased sensitivity, recurring fatigue, a combination of physical and emotional distress
Treatment/Prevention: Avoid any medication without doctor’s advice. Natural antacids, dietary changes, adequate rest, adequate intake of electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients, eating light snacks, increased fluid intake, avoid greasy foods, rest and relaxation, and dietary planning right from the onset helps avoid or minimize morning sickness.
Nausea and Vomiting During Pregnancy
Over 70 percent pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting. It is so common that many take it a sign of motherhood and cease to consider it among pregnancy complications. Nausea is common to sight in a pregnant woman in the first trimester. It ceases to exist as the pregnancy enters the 14th week and rarely continues without any effect on the child inside. Excessive nausea and vomiting linked to morning sickness syndrome.
Symptoms: Mild to moderate nausea, vomiting, uncomfortable feeling, disinterest in food, feeling of indigestion, queasiness
Causes: Hormonal changes in the body, including surge in HCG and estrogen, stomach sensitivity, and stress contribute to nausea during pregnancy.
Treatment/ Prevention: Natural antacids, dietary changes, adequate rest, adequate intake of electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients, eating light snacks, increased fluid intake, suck a hard candy, avoid smell triggers, avoid greasy foods, rest and relaxation.
Obstetric Cholestasis Pregnancy Complications
Also known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, the liver illness is considered among serious pregnancy complications. However, it occurrence is very rare, about 1 or 2 in 1000 pregnant women. Obstetric cholestasis, though can develop after the 7th week into pregnancy, it has a higher chance of occurrence in around the 30th week.
Obstetric cholestasis occurs due to obstructed flow of bile acid. Pregnancy hormones disrupt the normal functioning of gallbladder and this hinders proper flow of bile acids from the liver. As a result, bile acids accumulate in the liver and enter the bloodstream.
Those with family history or previous incident ofobstetric cholestasis, they face a higher risk of developing it during pregnancy. While it may cause damage to the liver of the mother, it increases fetal distress and the risk of stillbirth.
Symptoms: Itching in hands, feet, and abdomen with or without rash, spread of itching to other parts of the body, severe itching at night, dark urine, loss of appetite, pale bowel movements, fatigue, jaundice, pain in the upper right quadrant
Causes: Bile acid flow obstruction following increase in hormones during pregnancy
Treatment/Prevention: Medications to control itching and reduce bile acid concentration. Cold baths help. Doctors may suggest intake of Vitamin K. Natural substances, such as dandelion root and milk thistle, are also beneficial. Have blood tests for liver function check.
Preeclampsia and Pregnancy Complications
Abnormal hypertension along with fluid retention and excessive protein in urine indicates the possibility of preeclampsia. Considered among life-threatening pregnancy complications, it usually visible after the 20th week. Those with preexisting hypertension, obesity, and family history of the disease are at increased risk of it.
Preeclampsia is associated with liver, renal, low platelet count, and heart problems in the mother. The problem affects the baby by inhibiting blood, oxygen, and nutrition supply through placenta.
Symptoms: Mild – high blood pressure, edema, discovery of high amount of protein in urine. Severe – fatigue, severe headache, abdomen pain, respiratory distress, nausea, blurred vision, hypertension
Treatment/Prevention: Doctors suggest surgical delivery as soon as possible. Reduce salt intake. Consult a nutritionist for increased protein requirements. Practice sleeping postures that take the fetal weight off from blood vessels. Increase water intake and rest. Regular exercise and avoidance of caffeine and alcohol help.
Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Pelvic girdle pain is listed among common pregnancy complications. It refers to painful symptoms felt across the pelvic reason. The pregnancy increases the production of relaxin hormone, which softens the ligaments in the pelvic joints to help in the child birth. However, the failure of supporting muscle to adjust accordingly contributes to uneven mobility of pelvic joints. This leads to pelvic pain.
The condition aggravates if a pregnant woman has a prior history of back or pelvic pain or preexisting pelvic injury or engaged in a physically demanding job.
Symptoms: Pain in the pelvic region, pain jumping from one pelvic area to another, shooting pain in buttocks, sciatica-like pain in back legs, pain in pubis and sacroiliac joints, groin pain, hip pain, pelvic pain while walking or climbing upstairs
Causes: Pelvic joint stiffness, pregnancy-related changes
Treatment/Prevention: Temporarily avoid activities that lead to pelvic pain during pregnancy. Physiotherapy, pelvic floor exercises, wearing flat shoes, knee symmetry while standing or sitting, slow walking or climbing, and pelvic support belts help in overcoming pain symptoms.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com