Pregnancy - Complications - Abo-Incompatability


ABO incompatibility is a complication that can occur during pregnancy. Essentially, it is an immune response, occurring when babies have a different blood type to their mother and are then affected by the antibodies she has produced. This is never under a mother’s control; blood groups are just part of an individual’s make-up. Babies with an ABO incompatibility need to be monitored closely, though with effective treatment they respond very well and experience no long-term health effects.

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Pregnant woman holding her belly in discomfort

Bleeding During Pregnancy

Bleeding during pregnancy is more common than you may suspect. As many as one in three women will have some sort of bleeding during their first trimester of pregnancy. This can range from a few brown spots to bright red blood loss and for some, passing large clots.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Cholestasis

Cholestasis In Pregnancy

Cholestasis in pregnancy, otherwise known as Obstetric Cholestasis or Intrahepatic Cholestasis is a relatively rare condition, affecting 0.4 - 1% of pregnancies. This is a liver disease occurring only during pregnancy, with some women more prone to developing it than others. Although not commonly known, for mothers who experience cholestasis it can really impact on the pleasure and comfort of their pregnancy.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis In Pregnancy

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that can occur at any time, though during pregnancy the risks are increased. Essentially it’s a blood clot, which usually starts in one of the deep veins of the lower legs. Blood returning upwards to the heart from the legs needs to combat gravity. The compression of a large tummy, combined with blood and hormonal changes makes this more of a complex process than in the non- pregnant state.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Eclampsia


Eclampsia is a serious condition that can occur in mothers when preeclampsia becomes uncontrolled or does not get resolved. In the developed world, this is a condition which is rarely seen as most cases of escalating preeclampsia are detected before they get to this point.

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Pregnant woman in pain holding her stomach

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a condition which is quite separate from the other types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. The term gestational refers to it occurring during pregnancy. For many women who are diagnosed, the diabetes will go away after their baby is born.

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High blood pressure marked on a chart

High Blood Pressure In Pregnancy

Having an elevated blood pressure (BP) during pregnancy is not uncommon. The amount of blood the heart needs to pump to all the organs increases steadily until the stage of around 20 weeks, when it is pumping approximately 7 litres every minute.

If the heart pumps too rapidly, palpitations can be felt as each contraction of the heart is not as forceful or coordinated as it needs to be. The combination of extra blood volume and more efficient pumping action by the heart means that the blood pressure should actually be affected more than it is.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Hyperemesis Gravidarum

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

One common pregnancy symptom is nausea, and in the majority of women this subsides after the first trimester. However, in some women severe nausea and vomiting occurs – referred to by your doctor as hyperemesis gravidarum. This can easily result in dehydration, weight loss (5% or greater), as well as nutritional deficiencies.

Hyperemesis can begin as early as weeks 4-6 of pregnancy, though it most commonly occurs between weeks 8-12. For some women hyperemesis continues until after their baby is born. For the majority of mothers however, there is a significant improvement by around week 20.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Intrauterine Growth Retardation

Intrauterine Growth Retardation

Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR) occurs in around 3-5% of all pregnancies. This is a condition where the baby’s growth is compromised and restricted, so that they are smaller than they should be. By definition, a baby with IUGR weighs below the 10th percentile for their gestational age.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Oligohydramnios


Oligohydramnios means that there is an inadequate amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby in the womb. This watery compound supports the baby in a number of different ways, and it is important that there is the correct volume i.e. not too much and not too little, so as not to compromise to the baby’s well-being.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Perinatal Mortality

Perinatal Mortality

Putting aside the enormous emotional implications for a moment, by definition, perinatal mortality refers to the numbers of babies that are stillborn, or those who die within the first week of their life per 1 000 live births. Another name for this is perinatal death

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Pregnancy - Complications - Placenta Praevia

Placenta Praevia

This is a condition when part or the whole of the placenta is lying across the cervix instead of being attached higher up on the mother’s uterine wall. In placenta praevia, the placenta is quite literally “in front of” the baby’s head. This means the placenta is blocking the baby’s exit out of the mother’s womb, creating a barrier which the baby cannot get past. Placenta praevia occurs once in around every 200 pregnancies.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Placental Disruption

Placental Disruption

Placental abruption is a condition that occurs when the placenta prematurely separates from the wall of the womb. Another name for this is abruptio placentae. The placenta is the baby’s main life line for oxygen and nutrients, and unless it is adhering firmly to the wall of the womb, there is an interruption in the flow of these vital elements.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Polyhydramnios


Polyhydramnios is a condition where there is too much amniotic fluid surrounding the baby. Amniotic fluid supports the baby in the womb and assists in the development of its limbs, lungs and digestive organs. It also helps to cushion the baby and supports it to keep an even, suitable body temperature.

Amniotic fluid volume continues to steadily increase until around the 34th week of pregnancy when the amount tends to level off. In polyhydramnios, the “bag of waters” is not of a normal volume, but instead has exceeded the normal amount which is ideal over the course of pregnancy.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Preeclampsia


Preeclampsia is a condition unique to human pregnancy. It is a disorder that usually develops in the second half of gestation and occurs in around 5-8% of all pregnancies.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Premature Labour

Premature Labour

Premature labour is a relatively common event, occurring in around 7–11% of all pregnancies. It is officially defined as labour that occurs before the baby reaches 37 weeks of gestation.

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Pregnant woman in discomfort lying on a couch holding her belly

Rhesus Disease

The Rhesus factor is a special antigen or protein on the surface of red blood cells. This is a protective mechanism that helps the body to recognise its own blood. Everyone inherits genes from their parents that determine their blood group, as well as their tendency to have Rhesus (or D) antigens or not.

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Pregnancy - Complications - Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Pregnancy-related pain in the region of the symphysis pubis accounts for a great deal of discomfort for many women. When the bones that form the front of the pelvis become unstable and move, the associated bone and nerve pain can, and does impact on normal, everyday mobility. Which is why pregnant women with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) are often desperate to know what causes this condition and what they can do to relieve their symptoms.

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