Dr. Rinku Sen Gupta Senior consultant gynaecologist Madhukar Rainbow Children’s Hospital
Most pregnancies are straightforward. However, approximately 1 in 10 mothers may develop some complications in pregnancy or labour. COMPLICATION is such a dreaded word but in reality, most complications give indicators to caregivers to find solutions to the primary disease process. Let me explain this. Some mothers develop high blood pressure in pregnancy which subsides after delivery. This high blood pressure leads to reduced blood flow in placenta and consequently, the baby suffers from a lack of nutrition and oxygen. Thus, when me or my nurse detects high blood pressure in pregnancy which serves as a warning sign, we will start medications for you which will minimize (although not eliminate) the risk to your baby. Another common complication is developing high sugars in pregnancy. Certain hormones in pregnancy does not allow insulin in your body to breakdown sugars appropriately. This may adversely affect the sugars in your baby and affect the growth and development of baby. So, we check your blood sugars in pregnancy routinely and the detection can lead us to corrective measures on your diet which subsequently will limit the harm to baby. Mothers often ask me what they can do to avoid complications. The answer is not simple.
Due to rising maternal age at pregnancy and a noteworthy rise in IVF pregnancies complications like hypertension, multiple pregnancy and preterm deliveries have increased. This may also increase chances of low-lying placenta and excessive bleeding after delivery known as postpartum haemorrhage.
Unfortunately, most complications are not preventable.
However, following the steps below can lead to timely detection and minimize sequelae:
- Regular antenatal care including appropriate blood tests and ultrasounds based on standard medical guidelines recommended by professional bodies
- Following a healthy lifestyle including nutrient rich home food, 40-minute exercise daily and meditation. There is no need to take artificial protein supplements routinely.
- Avoiding bed rest unless specifically advised by your care giver due to a specific medical condition.
- Keeping your Haemoglobin at least 11 gm% can help you lessen the chances of complications due to excessive bleeding. Your caregiver will prescribe you iron injections in case you cannot tolerate oral medications
- Be aware of the warning signs of complications like reduced fetal movements, bleeding and leaking per vaginum specially in the third trimester.
- Choosing the right caregiver team and the hospital is critical. On the one hand, the focus should be to reduce unnecessary interventions like caesarean sections and on the other hand if unexpected complications like cord prolapse (umblical cord protrudes out before delivery of a baby) occur facilities should be available to deliver the baby within 15 minutes of diagnosis.
Fortunately, complications are rare . However they are usually not preventable but the Mother, family and the caregiver team can work together as a team to ensure the best possible outcomes.