After a soon-to-be mom makes it past their sixteenth week, the chances of losing the pregnancy are supposed to be drastically cut back. Sometimes, unfortunately, there are unforeseeable circumstances that arise and, all of a sudden, the chances of mom losing the pregnancy increases dramatically. Sometimes, it’s something that has happened to the mother during her pregnancy (maybe she took a tumble or got severe food poisoning) and that increased the chances. Other times, it is something that can’t be helped because it’s something the baby did naturally.
The are signs are not always noticeable – there’s no red alarm that goes off to let mom know there’s a complication and to call the doctor. But, thankfully, there are warning signs that moms should pay attention to that will let them know if the baby is in trouble. For example, if a woman notices there’s a lack of fetal movement or heavy leaking, this can be a serious sign that something is not quite right with her pregnancy. In moments, such as this, it’s crucial for moms to get themselves to a hospital.
Here is a list of warning signs that the baby won’t make it through the third trimester.
12 Water Breaks Before 24 Weeks
PPROM, or Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes, is when mom’s water breaks prematurely causing her to go into premature labor. However, with PPROM sometimes contractions don’t start right away and then mom runs the risk of an amniotic fluid infection or prolapse or compression of the umbilical cord. This condition is something many moms never expect and, ironically, one that puts their pregnancy in the most danger.
If mom goes into premature labor, that carries a risk of its own as well. Premature labor is when mom goes into labor anytime before 37 weeks. At 23 weeks the baby has a 17% chance, at 24 weeks the baby has a 39% chance, at 25 weeks the baby has a 50% chance, and at 32 weeks the baby has a high chance of survival. Premature babies have a high mortality rate due to the fact that they are not fully formed and developed yet.
11 No More Feeling
By the third trimester, the baby is actively moving around inside its mother like crazy since they can generally start to be felt between 16 and 25 weeks. As a mom, if you start to notice that you are no longer feeling anymore movements from your little one after 24 hours, you should contact your doctor immediately. Especially, if you have never gone that long without feeling your baby move before. That is a clear warning sign that something is not right.
You can try doing things that usually get your baby moving first, to see if that helps before calling your doctor. As an example; it’s said that if you eat, do jumping jacks, jiggle your belly, or poke your belly that your baby is supposed to become more active. It’s actually important to pay attention to your baby’s kicks and movements to begin with because if you start to notice that they are starting to slow down, that could be a warning sign.
10 There’s Leaking
Heavy bleeding during the third trimester is never a good sign and can mean multiple things such as placenta previa, placental abruption, uterine rupture, and vasa previa. placenta previa is very rare and only happens to 1 in 200 pregnancies, and it is where the placenta sits low in the uterus and either partially or completely covers the opening to the birth canal and can cause bleeding. If this happens to the point where it bleeds, immediate medical attention is needed.
Placental abruption is very rare, and that is where the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus and is very dangerous to both mother and her unborn baby. This only happens in 1% of pregnancies, and immediate medical attention is needed. Medical attention will also be needed right away if a uterine rupture is suspected.
9 Growth Suddenly Stops
One way for a mom to tell that something is not right is if the baby stops growing in the third trimester. There are numerous ways for mom to tell if her little one is not progressing the way it should be. Some of the ways that she may be able to tell would be something such as a fundal height measurement, or during an ultrasound, even by having HCG levels monitored. Anything that mom has been using to measure how far along she is. If all of a sudden though things come to a halt, something’s not right. A doctor will be the only sure way to tell. It’s always good for a mom to keep track of things, to begin with, this way if things would go wrong, she is a step ahead.
8 There’s An Itch That Never Goes Away
It can be normal to be a little itchy during a pregnancy, but being seriously itchy especially of the hands and feet can be a warning sign of something more serious happening inside of mom’s body. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), also known as obstetric cholestasis (OC), is a liver disorder that has potentially no effects on mom but can put an end to the pregnancy without really knowing why.
Typically, bile salts will move from the liver to the stomach to help digest food, and with ICP the bile salts will instead build up inside of mom’s body instead of flow from the liver to the stomach. This is more prominent in women who are of Indiana or Pakistani descent. Or if a mother has had ICP with a previous pregnancy, she has a higher risk of developing it again.
7 Not Properly Positioned
If mom-to-be is having a V birth, positioning is crucial for a healthy delivery. This is called malpresentation. For those who don’t know, malpresentation is when the baby is not in the proper formation in the womb for mom to have a proper and healthy delivery. In certain pregnancies, the baby is positioned the opposite way, which means the baby is feet first or sideways to exit for childbirth. These two types of positions are called “breech” or “transverse” by doctors and nurses. If the delivery date slowly approaches, and doctors see that the baby is in a bad position, it can be a serious red flag for mom’s pregnancy. This is why it’s crucial for mom around 37 weeks to make sure the doctor checks how the baby positioned.
6 There’s A Pounding Pain
If a mom starts to get really bad headaches accompanied by blurry vision and abnormal swelling, she needs to contact her doctor immediately because those are all signs of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia does not always lead to the pregnancy making it through the third trimester, but when left untreated, it can be fatal to both mom and her unborn baby. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy induced hypertension or high blood pressure.
Doctors have to watch what the treat mom with when it comes to blood pressure medication, because not all blood pressure medication is safe for pregnant women to take and can do more harm than good. Preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks and affects 5-8% of all pregnancies. It is definitely not something a mom wants to mess around with, that’s for sure.
5 Don’t Overlook The Common Cold
Body aches, fever, chills, sore throat. Does that all sound familiar? It should because almost everyone has felt that way at least once in their life. That’s right; I’m talking about the flu. The flu can actually become fatal to unborn babies. It is always recommended that pregnant women receive their flu shots if they are knocked up around flu season. Pregnant women are more susceptible to getting the flu because of their already weakened immune system that is allowing their baby to grow and develop. The flu is an infection, and any infection can pose a risk to a developing baby. The risk of stillbirth was even greater when we had that outbreak of the swine flu or other uncommon strands of the virus. So, mom, keep you and your baby safe and just get the flu shot.
4 Belly Pains – How To Tell The Difference?
It’s quite common for pregnant women to experience cramping during pregnancy, but powerful and consistent pain in the abdomen is especially dangerous in the third trimester. You might be thinking – how can we tell the difference? And, if we could, why does pain signal danger? If mom-to-be experiences stomach pains along with bleeding or spotting, a painful headache, or more swelling around the joints than usual, these symptoms can mean mom might have something deeper like preeclampsia or an ectopic pregnancy, which is dangerous for both mom and baby. So, if you experience any of these symptoms, it’s crucial to go talk to your doctor to see if there are any underlying conditions that can put mom’s pregnancy in danger.
3 A Racing Pulse
If a mom develops a high fever, with an elevated heart rate, foul-smelling V discharge, and possibly some abdominal pain she should contact her doctor immediately because it could be a warning sign of something much more serious. Something called chorioamnionitis, which can be very harmful, even fatal to mom’s unborn baby.
Chorioamnionitis is an infection of the membranes of the sac that houses the baby and the amniotic fluids. This usually occurs when an undetected infection goes untreated for too long and progresses inside the womb that originated from the lady parts. This can lead to preterm premature rupture of membranes or PPROM. Which PPROM in itself can be fatal to an unborn baby. Chorioamnionitis can also lead to premature contractions, which can lead to premature birth, which can also potentially be harmful to the baby and at the worst-case scenario even fatal.
2 Sugar Levels Keep Rising
Women who have pregestational diabetes, which means women who were diabetic prior to becoming pregnant, have a higher likelihood of developing complications during the pregnancy, such as birth defects and stillbirth. This is especially true for moms who are insulin-dependent and have uncontrolled blood sugar levels. For birth defects, the main areas affected are the heart and connecting blood vessels, the digestive tract, brain and spine abnormalities, and urinary and kidney areas.
When it comes to the baby being stillborn, the reasons they are stillborn are actually fully unknown. The baby may grow and develop slowly due to poor circulation or other conditions such as high blood pressure, or microvascular disease. All of which can add even more complications on top of a diabetic pregnancy. The risk is still increased with blood vessel changes and lack of blood sugar control.
1 The Umbilical Cord Comes Out First
When the baby’s umbilical cord becomes compressed, that means that there is pressure put on it. This can either happen during the later stages of the pregnancy or during the delivery process. In fact, it actually happens during 1 in 10 deliveries. When it happens during the pregnancy, it usually happens towards the end of the pregnancy when the baby has become the most active. Most of the time, the compression happens to be mild, but it can be severe. In the severe cases, the baby is deprived of oxygen and the vital nutrients it needs, and in worst case scenarios, the baby is stillborn.
In the case of an umbilical cord prolapse, the umbilical cord comes out of the birth canal before the baby and is compressed, depriving the baby of oxygen.
Sources: Webmd.com, Preemiesurvival.org, Stanfordchildrens.org, Pregnancybirthbaby.org.au, Nhs.uk, Medscape.com, Fitpregnancy.com, Groupbstrepinternational.org
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