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Complications of Pregnancy
While most women have perfectly healthy pregnancies with
only minor discomforts, it never hurts to know the warning
signs of conditions that can cause serious health problems
for you and your baby. There is a range of different symptoms
you can experience during and after pregnancy, from minor
discomforts like nausea and leg cramps, to more severe problems
like bleeding. Every woman and every pregnancy is different
though, and some women even have a problem-free experience.
But, you should be prepared to notice any changes in your
body as your pregnancy blossoms.
for a list of some of the most serious problems that you might
face during or right after pregnancy.
Problems Without Symptoms
Some health problems you might have during pregnancy do not
have symptoms. One of these is Group B Streptococcus (GBS)
infection. GBS is a common infection that rarely makes adults
sick. The bacterium lives in the gastrointestinal system,
along with many other harmless bacteria. Between 10 to 30
percent of pregnant women carry GBS in their vagina and rectums.
But, if GBS is passed to the baby during delivery, it can
cause serious health problems in your newborn, such as pneumonia,
blood infection, or infection of the tissues around the brain.
Because there are no symptoms of GBS, you will be tested
by your health care provider at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy.
The simple test involves swabbing the vagina and rectum for
a sample of cells that are sent to a lab to look for GBS.
If you are infected, you will be treated with intravenous
(IV) antibiotics during labor and delivery to make sure the
baby is protected.
Another problem is anemia, or having below-normal levels of
iron in the blood. Iron is needed for hemoglobin (a protein
in blood that helps take oxygen to body tissues for energy and
growth) for you and your baby. Iron also helps build bones and
teeth. Most women do not have symptoms of anemia, but some might
have extreme fatigue. Your health care provider will check for
signs of anemia through the routine blood tests that are taken
in different stages of your pregnancy. If you have anemia, you
will be given iron supplements to take once or twice a day.
Help prevent anemia by eating more iron-rich foods, like potatoes,
raisins, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, whole-grain breads
and iron-fortified cereals.