Complications during pregnancy

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Problems can occur at various stages in a pregnancy. Complications during early pregnancy can include a miscarriage, which is the natural termination of the pregnancy by the body, or an ectopic (ec-TOP-ic) pregnancy, where the fetus develops outside the uterus, in the fallopian (fa-LOW-pee-an) tubes. During mid-pregnancy, complications sometimes include an incompetent cervix (SIR-vix), in which the cervix opens and expels the fetus prematurely. Other complications during mid-pregnancy include urinary tract infections, excessive weight gain, insufficient weight gain, and premature labor. During late pregnancy, the most common complication is high blood pressure. Polyhydramnios (PAUL-ee-hy-DRAM nee-os) can occur during late pregnancy when extra amniotic (am-nee-OT-ic) fluid develops around the fetus. Intrauterine (in-tra-YOO-ter-in) growth retardation occurs when the fetus doesn't get the nutrition it needs from the placenta. Other late pregnancy complications include bleeding, early labor contractions, delivering the fetus before it's fully developed, and overdue delivery. It's important to be aware of signals that could indicate something is wrong. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms, : vaginal bleeding, severe swelling of the face, feet or hands, severe abdominal pain, loss of fluids from the vagina, prolonged vomiting, blurred vision, painful urination, severe headache, or a fever over 100 degrees. Also, contact a physician if you have regular contractions three to four weeks prior to your due date, if you're injured, or if you notice a significant decrease in the movement of the baby. For more information about complications during pregnancy and their warning signs, talk to a health care provider.

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