Their appearance is a red flag.
Conditions you may never have had before can develop during your pregnancy. It is absolutely vital that these conditions be diagnosed as early as possible, as they could lead to a high-risk pregnancy and seriously affect the birth. They can determine whether you have a normal delivery or a Caesarian (C-section). Moreover, their effects may persist or manifest long after you have given birth.
- Haemorrhage: Uncontrolled Bleeding During Pregnancy or Birth:
Severe blood loss during pregnancy, labour or the post-partum period is alarming and the number one threat to maternal health. If you experience vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, immediately bring it to the attention of a doctor. During childbirth, bleeding can be treated with blood transfusions and/or manual removal of the placenta. “Oxytocics” are drugs which induce uterine contractions and they may also be used to stop the bleeding.
- Hypertension: High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy or Birth:
You may never ever have had high blood pressure in your life. But if it makes an appearance during pregnancy, it needs careful monitoring as it could be a sign of “pre-eclampsia.” If left untreated, pre-eclampsia can lead to eclampsia and raise a high risk of seizures, kidney failure and even coma. In the worst case, eclampsia can even be fatal for the mother and/or infant.
Fortunately, pre-eclampsia can be detected during pregnancy and pre-emptive measures taken. Monitoring blood pressure during every prenatal check-up, conducting a through physical examination, screening for protein in the urine and generalized swelling (edema) are important to detect pre-eclampsia. During childbirth, sedative or anti-convulsant medication can also be administered.
- Pregnancy-related Infections:
At the clinic or in daily life, when it comes to hygiene, the bar must be set high. Poor hygiene and a disregard for infection control practices can really stack up the risks for infection (sepsis) during pregnancy and childbirth. Moreover, care must be taken to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections during pregnancy. Rigidly following infection control protocols, conducting appropriate prenatal testing, and use of intravenous (IV) or intramuscular (IM) antibiotics during childbirth and the post-partum period keeps infections in check.
- Prolonged or obstructed labour:
In other words, the stuff childbirth horror stories are made of! In some cases, it’s a size thing: a disproportion between the size of the baby’s head and the mother’s pelvis (Cephalopelvic disproportion a.k.a. CPD) at the time of delivery. Or, it could be the position of the foetus. This is when assisted vaginal delivery methods such as forceps extraction, vacuum, or a Caesarian section (C-section) need to be employed.
- Anaemia During Pregnancy and Birth:
One in two women in India (an estimated 56%) suffers from some form of anaemia, regardless of socioeconomic background. In pregnancy and childbirth, a haemoglobin count of less than 8 g/dl is regarded high risk. Anaemia associated with pregnancy is a weird chicken-and-egg situation: anaemia in the mother can lead to poor foetal development. Then, complications during the birth, such as bleeding, can be a risk factor for anaemia. Screening for anaemia and its management through an iron-rich diet or iron supplements, therefore, are crucial.
Obstetric conditions like these, unfortunately, have consequences beyond childbirth. Learn about the lasting effects they can have on your quality of life.
Did you experience one or more of these conditions during pregnancy and/or childbirth? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and be featured on our website!
- Felippi V, Chou D et al. Levels and causes of maternal morbidity and mortality
- Causes of Maternal Mortality
- Kaur, K. Anaemia, a ‘silent killer’ among women in India: Present scenario