5 Examples of Serious Pregnancy Complications

Pregnant woman at doctor's office

Although many women experience minor discomforts during pregnancy, serious pregnancy complications can be life-threatening for the mother and the baby.

Minor Complications

Minor pregnancy complications can be irritating and sometimes even a cause for concern. However, most minor issues can be treated easily or they may simply go away after the birth of the baby. Discomforts such as morning sickness, constipation, hemorrhoids, temporary incontinence, shortness of breath, and indigestion are common ailments associated with pregnancy. Many of these can be treated with over-the-counter drugs and/or ointments, but there are more serious pregnancy complications to consider.

Recognizing Serious Pregnancy Complications

Unfortunately, some of the most serious complications that a woman may experience during pregnancy can go undetected, particularly if a woman doesn't have adequate prenatal care. Gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and even sexually transmitted diseases may not exhibit telltale signs, although these are all conditions that obstetricians look for throughout a woman's pregnancy. Because these complications can pose silent threats to the mother's and the baby's health, it is imperative that a woman make and keep regular checkups throughout her pregnancy.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is another important factor in determining the health and wellbeing of the mother and the baby. Women who use tobacco and alcohol products or illegal drugs put themselves and their fetuses at great risk. Complications can also arise for those women who are overweight as well. Your doctor will ask you a serious of questions pertaining to your lifestyle, health, and daily habits, and it is very important that you answer these questions as honestly as possible. Remember-your doctor is not there to judge you! He is there to help you have a successful and healthy pregnancy and a beautiful, healthy baby!

List of Serious Complications

The list of serious pregnancy complications may seem quite long and very frightening. Keep in mind, however, that the majority of women experience a generally complication-free pregnancy, with the exception of minor discomforts. However, educating yourself about the risks and complications that could occur during your pregnancy is just another way that you can take care of yourself and your infant.

  • Placenta problems-Both placenta previa and placenta abruption can cause complications, such as bleeding and/or high blood pressure. In most cases, a Caesarian delivery will be scheduled with either of these conditions.
  • Preterm labor-If your body attempts to go into labor too early, your doctor may prescribe bed rest and medication to try to postpone your labor until a later date.
  • Pre-eclampsia-This is pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and it can be fatal to the infant if left untreated or uncontrolled. Fluid retention and excessive protein in the urine are other symptoms of this condition.
  • Ectopic pregnancy-In many cases, a woman may not be aware of the pregnancy until she starts to bleed. An ectopic pregnancy indicates that the fertilized egg is embedded outside of the womb and this condition can be life-threatening.
  • Miscarriage-A pregnancy that spontaneously aborts usually before the sixth month is typically referred to as a miscarriage.

Other Complications

Other complications may include the following:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Umbilical cord problems
  • Infections
  • Uterine inversion
  • Bleeding


The treatment for any complication that arises during pregnancy will vary depending upon the condition and the health of the mother and the baby. However, in many cases, common treatments may include a Caesarian delivery and a longer hospital stay for mother and child. If you experience any problems associated with your pregnancy, you should contact your doctor immediately. Make a note of the specific problems and document the times and frequency of the symptoms as well. Contacting your doctor as soon as possible may make a huge difference in the success of your pregnancy and the health of your baby.

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5 Examples of Serious Pregnancy Complications