Complications of pregnancy are the symptoms and problems that are associated with pregnancy. There are both routine problems and serious, even potentially fatal problems. The routine problems are normal complications, and pose no significant danger to either the woman or the fetus. Serious problems can cause both maternal death and fetal death if untreated.
Complication: uterine contractions, which may occur because dehydration causes body release of ADH, which is similar to oxytocin in structure. Oxytocin itself can cause uterine contractions and thus ADH can cross-react with oxytocin receptors and also cause contractions.
Caused by: increased intravascular volume, elevated GFR (glomerular filtration rate), and compression of the bladder by the expanding uterus. Patients are advised to continue fluid intake despite this. Urinalysis and culture should be ordered to rule out infection, which can also cause increased urinary frequency but typically is accompanied by dysuria (pain when urinating).
Caused by: Unknown, but risk factors include smoking, advanced maternal age, and prior damage to the Fallopian tubes.
Treatment: If there is no spontaneous resolution, the pregnancy must be aborted either surgically or by the drug methotrexate.
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) (gait and weightbearing syndrome)
Caused by: With some pregnancies ligaments become stretched either by injury or excess strain and could cause pelvic joint pain, malalignment and instability. For most women pelvic girdle pain resolves in weeks after delivery but for some it can last for years resulting in a reduced tolerance for weight bearing activities.
Treatment: One of the main factors in helping women cope is with education, information and support. Many treatment options are available.
Caused by: Various causes; risk factors include maternal hypertension, trauma, and drug use.
Treatment: Immediate delivery if the fetus is mature (36 weeks or older), or if a younger fetus or the mother is in distress. In less severe cases with immature fetuses, the situation may be monitored in hospital, with treatment for hypovolemia if necessary.