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Recognizing the warning signs of common pregnancy complications allows any expectant mother to seek care more quickly. If you know what to look out for you could save your life, and your baby's.

Pregnancy is an exciting but often unpredictable time during a woman's life. Complications can crop up, and managing or treating them may be easier if the expectant mother herself knows the red flags, rather than waiting for her healthcare provider to diagnose problems. Today, we will take a look at some of the more common pregnancy complications, what their symptoms are, and how they are managed.

Gestational Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose in the blood. There are three types of diabetes — Type 1, Type 2, and gestational diabetes. All of these can affect women who are pregnant, but gestational diabetes is the one type of diabetes that is pregnancy-induced and that will resolve itself after the expectant mother gives birth.

Gestational diabetes can negatively influence both maternal and fetal health. Fortunately, it can also be managed quite well. Many pregnant women succeed in controlling their gestational diabetes through exercise and a good diet alone, but medications are available to those who need them. Screening for gestational diabetes is a routine part of prenatal care in the United States, and this screening process is carried out through the glucose test that takes place between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy.

You will, however, benefit from knowing the signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes so that you can inform your doctor in a timely manner — helping you bring your condition under control as soon as possible. There are usually no symptoms, but those women who do notice the tell-tale signs should contact their healthcare provider right away:

  • Excessive thirst, seemingly unrelated to water intake

  • Very frequent urination (which is, note, also a normal pregnancy symptom)

  • Blurred vision

  • Bladder, vaginal and skin infections

  • Weight loss, even when you eat a lot

  • Fatigue (again, also a pregnancy symptom)

  • Nausea and vomiting (obviously, yet another pregnancy sign)

Risk factors for gestational diabetes include a family history of diabetes, being overweight, having had a large baby or gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy, and having hypertension.

Placenta Previa And Placental Abruption

Placenta previa is a pregnancy complication in which the placenta covers the cervix (the opening between the vagina and uterus) either partially or completely. Most women who have placenta previa will have this condition diagnosed through ultrasound in a timely manner. The most common symptom of placenta previa is sudden vaginal bleeding, which can start halfway through the second trimester. Cramps and contractions can also indicate placenta previa.

Placenta previa alone is a very compelling reason to undergo at least one ultrasound. Yet, a low-lying placenta that was diagnosed during the early stages of pregnancy does not have to mean that you will have placenta previa later on during pregnancy. As your uterus expands, the part to which the placenta is attached tends to move up.

Placental abruption is an emergency during which the placenta starts detaching from the uterine wall before the baby is born. Placental abruption can be either partial or complete, and it can happen during pregnancy as well as during labor. It is most likely to occur during the third trimester of pregnancy. The symptoms are:

  • Sudden, possibly heavy vaginal bleeding

  • Abdominal pain

  • Uterine contractions than come in rapid succession

  • Back pain

  • A uterus that is painful to touch, and possibly hard as the blood gets trapped in

Placental abruption symptoms should lead to to go to the ER immediately. If you think you have placenta previa symptoms, you should call your OBGYN for an appointment and ultrasound.

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