Problems during pregnancy are health complications associated with being pregnant and giving birth. They are usually involved either via the mother’s health, baby’s health, or both. Childbirth complication may arise during pregnancy or after pregnancy, depending on the woman’s body system. Sometimes the complications of birth are idiopathic (unknown cause).
It tends to become severe in some women, while in other women; it might be minor changes that are not life threatening. Few women have problems during childbirth. Most of these problems are natural changes that should be experienced by almost all pregnant women due to the new role of pregnancy. Some complications associated with pregnancy and delivery may require urgent medical or professional attention. Complication during pregnancy can occur at any stage of the pregnancy, including after childbirth, as there is no definite stage for these problems.
Most times, complications of the 1st stage of labor tend to be normal and unavoidable compared to the complication of the 3rd stage of the labor process. Complications are prone to occur at any stage of the labor process because all labor stages have its risks and possibilities.
In this article, we will discuss the common complication of the three stages of the childbirth process.
Problems During Pregnancy
Problems during pregnancy can arise as a result of many medical issues.
Just like every other thing, during pregnancy, your body undergoes significant changes. Most times, the usual symptoms of pregnancy and that of complications are sometimes difficult to distinguish. Some common problem during pregnancy may include, but are not limited to, the following;
1. High Blood Pressure
This is also known as hypertension. Most women tend to experience an increase in blood pressure during pregnancy. An increase in blood pressure can make it difficult for blood to reach the placenta, which provides nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. If the blood flow rate reduces, it can slow the fetus’s growth and increase the risk of preterm labor and Preeclampsia.
When the blood pressure increases as a result of the pregnancy, which is called gestational hypertension, there is always a need for immediate medical interventions. This happens to occur in some women during the second half of pregnancy and goes away after delivery. Preeclampsia is a dangerous situation if not well managed because it can cause the death of both the mother and the fetus.
2. Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes is the increase in blood glucose seen in pregnant women. Gestational Diabetes is a complication of the 2nd stage of labor, and it usually occurs from the second trimester of the pregnancy. Typically, the woman might have a normal blood sugar before pregnancy and start developing this increase in sugar level during the pregnancy. Sometimes the woman may already have an existing pre-diabetes.
Gestational Diabetes is usually managed by following a treatment plan or diet plan outlined by a healthcare provider; this is also the best way to reduce the childbirth complication associated with Diabetes due to pregnancy. If gestational diabetes is not monitored and controlled, it can lead to an increase in blood pressure and may cause the infant to be large with is one of the major causes of cesarean delivery. Even without this, the complications associated with gestational diabetes can alter the pregnant woman’s biochemical system, and this can be fatal at any stage.
When talking about complications during pregnancy and delivery, Infections are not left out. Some may have existing sexual or non-sexual infections before the pregnancy, while others picked up the infection during the pregnancy. Some of these infections may lead to other complications during labor and delivery if left untreated. This is because some infections can pass from mother to infant during childbirth and may harm the child after/during birth. Other infections can affect the fetus during pregnancy. Most of these infections can be prevented and as well treated with appropriate pre-pregnancy, prenatal, and postpartum follow-up care.
Infections can lead to the following childbirth complication:
- In pregnancy, infections can cause or contribute to pregnancy loss (before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
- Ectopic pregnancy (The embryo implants outside of the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube)
- Preterm labor (Usually before the third trimester)
- Low birth weight of the infant
- Some congenital disabilities or deformities include but are not limited to blindness, deafness, bone deformities, and intellectual disability.
- Illness in the newborn period (first stage of life)
- It may also cause Newborn death or maternal health complications depending on the severity.
This is one of the problems that can be seen during pregnancy and affects some pregnant women from around 20week, which is the second half of the pregnancy or immediately after delivery. This condition is associated with an increase in blood pressure, fluid retention (oedema), and protein in the urine (proteinuria). If it’s not handled or treated correctly, it can lead to serious childbirth complications and can be life-threatening in rare cases. Pre-eclampsia can also cause growth problems in the unborn child.
Although the leading cause of pre-eclampsia is unknown, it is associated with the placenta’s problems. Pregnant women with pre-eclampsia may not know that they have it unless they are tested. Although this might go unnoticed, it’s wise to always go for antenatal care because conditions like pre-eclampsia can be dangerous and life-threatening.
Anemia usually sets in in the third trimester. During this period, the levels of haemoglobin reduce.
According to the American Pregnancy Association report, it is estimated that approximately half of pregnant women suffer from anaemia worldwide. Anaemia prevalence during pregnancy differed from 18% in developed countries to 75% in South Asia. Anaemia is a condition that shouldn’t be overlooked because it can cause a further cascade of issues that might threaten the life and wellbeing of mother and child.
The treatment of anaemia is solely dependent on the severity of the anaemia.
Complication During Labor And Delivery
Some of the more common childbirth complication experienced during labor and delivery:
1. Failure to progress
This is when labor does not progress and last longer than expected. This is a complication of the 3rd stage of labor, which is almost immediately before childbirth. This is likely caused by a lot of contributing factors like weak contractions, the cervix does not dilate well or widen enough on time, or the infant’s descent in the birth canal does not proceed smoothly. According to studies, about 8% of women experience delays in labor caused by several reasons. If there is a failure to labor progressing, your health care provider may give medications to increase contractions and enhance labor, or the woman may need a cesarean delivery.
2. Perineal Tears
The vagina and the surrounding tissues are likely to tear during the delivery process. Sometimes these tears can heal on their own without serious medical intervention. If a tear is more severe or the woman has had an episiotomy (a surgical cut between the vagina and anus), her health provider may use stitches to repair her tear.
3. Problems of complications in umbilical cord
The umbilical cord may get stuck-up on an arm or leg when the baby travels through the birth canal. The provider intervenes if the cord becomes wrapped around the infant’s neck, is compressed, or comes out before the infant.
4. Fetal Distress
This is when the fetus does not appear to be doing well. There may be an irregular heartbeat, but not all irregular heartbeat signifies danger. If this is the situation, the healthcare provider will have the woman switch positions to help the baby get more blood flow. Sometimes, such as when test results show a larger problem with the fetus, delivery might have to happen immediately. In this instance, the woman is more likely to need an emergency cesarean delivery. The health care provider may need to carry out an episiotomy to widen the opening vaginal for delivery.
5. Water breaking early
Labor usually sets in its own within 24 hours after the woman’s water must have broken. If the pregnancy is at or near term with no sign of labor, the provider may induce labor. If the woman’s water breaks before 34 weeks of pregnancy (last stage), the woman will be monitored in the hospital. An infection might become a major concern if the woman’s water breaks early, and labor does not begin on its own.
6. Perinatal Asphyxia
Perinatal asphyxia occurs when the fetus fails to initiate and sustain breathing at birth. Prenatal asphyxia can lead to hypoxemia or even acidosis. It’s a life-threatening condition for a newborn baby.
7. Shoulder Dystopia
In this case, one of the infant’s shoulders becomes stuck after its head must have come out of the vagina. This is not common, and it’s likely to affect women who are just giving birth for the first time. This particular situation is usually treatable and temporary.
8. Excessive Bleeding
Generally, women lose blood during vagina delivery or any delivery. But in a situation where the bleeding is extreme, it can lead to one of the major causes of complications of labor. Excessive bleeding is likely to occur as a result of tears to the uterus. When the uterus does not contract to deliver the placenta, excessive bleeding may set in. Excessive bleeding is life threatening, and it can lead to death if not handled appropriately and timely.
Complications After birth
After childbirth, you can’t help but marvel at how your body has endured in the past nine months before delivery.
In this postpartum period, which is immediately after you must have delivered your baby, your body will begin to heal from childbirth. Rebuild its strength and also begin to regain its pre-pregnancy shape.
You may not know what to expect, but be sure to be ready for physical and emotional changes that come post-pregnancy.
There are some symptoms you feel after childbirth, and these symptoms aren’t the same for everyone. Women might experience a wide range of complications after birth, but some are more severe than others and each with its symptoms.
Some of the postpartum complications include:
1. Postpartum infections
Childbirth is no child’s play, the wound, stitches, and tearing during childbirth that occurs when the baby is passing from the vaginal opening may cause infections. These may result in urinary, vaginal, or even kidney infection after birth.
2. Incontinence or constipation
Urine inconsistency as a result of childbirth is more common than you may think. This is not a life-threatening situation but can cause discomfort, embarrassment, and inconvenience. This condition is likely to improve over time, but seeking medical attention is advisable. Sometimes urine incontinence may become more severe and might require serious medical attention.
3. Postpartum hemorrhage
Beeding after childbirth is normal. Heavy bleeding or haemorrhage is not common and occurs in just 2% of births; it most often sets in after long labors, multiple births, or if the uterus has become infected.
Postpartum hemorrhage is also one most common causes of death in childbirth. Postpartum hemorrhage usually occurs when the uterus fails to contract properly after the placenta must have been delivered. When there’s tear diction in the uterus, cervix, or vagina, after the baby and placenta must have been delivered, the mother is monitored by the health provider to ensure the uterus is contracting it should. If bleeding continues to b severe, your midwife or doctor helps you to contract by massaging your uterine. You may be given a synthetic hormone called oxytocin to help stimulate contractions. A pelvic exam will be conducted to dictate the cause of the hemorrhage. The mothers’ blood may also be tested for infection and even anaemia. If there is so much blood loss, a blood transfusion may be recommended.
If hemorrhage starts a week or two after delivery, it may be caused by a remain of the placenta in the uterus. If this is the case, the tissue will be removed surgically. Once you notice any heavy bleeding, report to your doctor immediately.
4. Perineal Pain
This is common among women who gave birth through the vagina; pain in the perineum (this is an area between the rectum and the vagina) is common. These tender tissues must have stretched or even torn during delivery, causing it to feel swollen, bruised, and sore. This discomfort may be relieved by an episiotomy, or an incision sometimes can be made in the perineum during delivery to stop the vagina from ripping.
This is also known as breast infection and usually is indicated by a tender, reddened area on the breast (the entire breast can also be involved). Breast infections can result in stress, exhaustion, or cracked nipples — may be associated by fever, chills, fatigue, headache, and vomiting. When any of these symptoms are noticed, it should be reported to your doctor or health provider, who may recommend treatment.
If you have mastitis, you may continue to nurse from both breasts. This breast infection does not affect your breast milk or its production. It’s also essential to have enough rest and consume plenty of fluids. Warm and wet towels applied to the affected area to alleviate discomfort and cold compresses applied after nursing to help congestion in your breast area.
6. Hemorrhoids and Constipation
Hemorrhoids and constipation can be aggravated by the pressure of the enlarged uterus and fetus on the lower abdomen veins. Both conditions are quite common in pregnant and postpartum women. Over-the-counter ointments and sprays, and sometimes accompanied by fibre-rich diets and fluids, usually can help reduce constipation and the swelling of hemorrhoids. Warm-sits-baths followed by a cold compress also offer some relief. Also, an inflatable, donut-shaped pillow, which can be purchased at any drugstore, can ease discomfort caused by sitting.
There are other wide ranges of postpartum problems; some may be more serious than others and each with its symptoms. Some of the more common issues include:
- Pain in the perineal area
- Excessive bleeding after delivery
- Vagina discharge
- Breast problems, such as swollen breast infection and clogged ducts
- Stretch mark
- Hemorrhoids and constipation
- Urinary or fecal (stool) incontinence
- Hair loss
- Postpartum depression
- Discomfort during sex
- Excessive gaining of weights, which can be, managed with dieting and recommended exercise regimens.
Pregnancy Complications Conclusion
Complication during labor and delivery is a comprehensive medical situation. It involves a lot of care, prophylaxis, and urgency. Most times, following the doctor’s advice, handles and helps minimize the chances of serious complications. Going to quacks can cause complications that lead to death and sorrow.
Pregnant women should always abide by the set down rules and instructions from the doctor (certified health care provider) and never fail to go for regular check-ups. Failure to do these might cause problems during pregnancy.
In a nutshell, pregnancy, labor, and delivery are a severe affair; hence don’t complicate issues by following the wrong medical paths.