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Most people are aware pregnancy can bring certain complications, such as premature delivery and bleeding. But there are additional complications, which you may not have heard about.

Pregnancy is a time of anticipation and excitement for many expectant parents. Although most pregnancies progress normally, complications do occur. It is not a great idea to dwell on things that can go wrong. But being aware of possible complications may allow you to recognize symptoms early and prevent the condition from becoming worse.

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Beyond Morning Sickness in Pregnancy

It is common for some women to develop morning sickness during their pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks. Morning sickness involves nausea and possibly vomiting. It may be misleading to call it morning sickness when it can occur at any time of the day or night.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is one complication of pregnancy, which you may not have heard about.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is more than typical morning sickness.

It is extreme and sometimes debilitating nausea and vomiting.  

The cause of nausea in pregnancy is not completely understood. But it is believed to be due to a sudden increase in the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which is released into the bloodstream by the placenta. Why some women experience hyperemesis gravidarum is not known.

Women who experience hyperemesis gravidarum develop severe and persistent vomiting, which can lead to lightheadedness and weight loss. In some cases, dehydration and malnutrition can also develop.

Anti-nausea medication may be prescribed to decrease vomiting. Vitamin B6 is also sometimes recommended. Women are often encouraged to eat small, frequent meals, which may be easier on their stomachs. If dehydration develops, intravenous fluids may need to be administered if a woman cannot keep liquids down.

Although it can be very unpleasant, the good news is hyperemesis gravidarum cannot last forever.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the most severe nausea usually subsides by the second half of the pregnancy.

Anemia in Pregnancy

Anemia is a condition where there is a lack of healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. If the organs and tissues of the body do not receive sufficient levels of oxygen, their function may be affected.   

Anyone can become anemic, but women who are pregnancy have an increased risk of the condition. During the second half of pregnancy, the body increases red blood cell production in order to provide nutrients to the baby. The body needs iron to make red blood cells. If there is not enough iron, fewer red blood cells may be produced.  

Anemia in pregnancy can be mild or severe. In some instances, it can lead to prematurity and low birth weight. The most common cause of anemia in pregnancy is insufficient iron intake or a lack of folate, which also helps in red blood cell production.

Symptoms of anemia in pregnancy include feeling tired or weak and shortness of breath.

It is common for women to become tired during pregnancy and shortness of breath can also occur as the uterus grows. It can be difficult to distinguish what is causing certain symptoms. Speaking with your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing is recommended.

Treatment for anemia often involves taking iron and folate supplements. Eating iron rich foods is also recommended. Foods, such as fish, eggs, lean beef and chicken are high in iron.

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