Pregnancy Problems

The vast majority of pregnancies is uncomplicated and ends with the birth of a normal, healthy baby. Even when complications do occur, early diagnosis and treatment will often prevent serious problems. Early and regular prenatal care is the best insurance against problems in pregnancy. Regular care enables the doctor to watch for abnormal changes in blood pressure, blood, urine, or weight. Such changes may be warnings of potential problems.

Regular care also helps you learn to recognize the difference between the normal changes your body is going through and those which may represent early warning signs.

It is important that you recognize these early warning signs so that you can notify your doctor or someone at the clinic immediately.

  • Bleeding, no matter how slight, from the vagina, rectum, nipple, or lungs (coughing blood)
  • Swelling or puffiness of the face or hands
  • A sudden large weight gain
  • Persistent severe swelling of the legs
  • Severe or repeated headaches
  • Dimness, blurred vision, flashes of light, or spots before your eyes
  • Sharp or prolonged pain in your abdomen
  • Severe or continued vomiting
  • Chills and/or fever
  • Sudden escape of fluid from the vagina

If you notice any of these signs, do not wait for your next checkup. Contact your doctor immediately, so the cause of the problem can be identified and treatment begun. Following are some of the problems that can occur during pregnancy.


A miscarriage occurs when the fetus is born before it has developed enough to live outside the mother's body. Early signs of miscarriage are bleeding and cramps and if you notice bleeding from your vagina, you should call your physician immediately. Save the pads you wear to catch the blood, clots, and tissue, because the doctor will want to inspect them as soon as possible.

In some cases, miscarriage is nature's way of preventing the birth of fetuses that for various reasons could not have survived. Miscarriage can be caused by certain health problems, but usually there is no apparent reason. Usually, such miscarriages cannot be prevented.

Severe Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting affect some women in early pregnancy. However, if vomiting continues or is so severe you cannot keep anything down, it should be reported. You need nourishment and so does your baby. If you keep vomiting, neither of you is getting the foods and liquids you need.


The most common form of anemia occurs when your body does not have enough iron to build the extra red blood cells you need while you are pregnant. This form of anemia can usually be prevented by eating foods that are high in iron. Foods high in iron include liver, red meats, dried beans, leafy green vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals.

Many doctors prescribe iron supplements during pregnancy because the need for iron is greater than is usually contained in the average diet. When you are taking an iron supplement your bowel movements will be darker and harder so you should increase the amounts of fluids and roughage in your diet. Be sure to keep iron supplement tablets, like all medicine, in a safe place so children cannot accidentally eat them.

There are other, more serious forms of anemia, and if any of them are found during the early laboratory tests, your pregnancy will be followed more closely. Be sure to tell your doctor if you or any relatives are anemic or have blood diseases.

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