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20 Unexpected Pregnancy Complications (Doctors Keep On The DL)

It is hard to imagine a time when women didn’t know much about pregnancy; a time when she figured out she was pregnant without tests and just went about her life until the baby came. That was it. No doctor’s appointments, no Google to save the day with an answer, and no pressure from friends and family. It seems like it was a much simpler time.

Now, in the age of information, there is enough out there to have every pregnant woman calling their doctor every day. They feel a strange ache and pain and they go right to the Internet in search of the meaning of it all. The problem is that what we see online is usually the least-case scenario. It is normally not what a woman is actually facing.

This immediately sends a woman’s pressure up and her anxiety worsens. She likely searched online because she loves and cares for her baby, but she ends up worrying herself more than anything. Pregnant women go through enough without having more added to their worry-chart. OB’s and midwives know this, and they are the last ones to want to add to it.

That means that there are a lot of pregnancy complications that professionals are likely to not tell a pregnant woman. Normally because they are rare or are nothing to worry about. Since they are so rare, they are often unexpected and can sneak up on someone. We have found 20 of them to always have in the back of the mind.

20 Polyhydramnios Can Bring On A Lot Of Amniotic Fluid

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A lot of these are medical terms, which mean they are long, hard to pronounce and even harder to spell out. Polyhydramnios is one of those big medical words, but it really just means a high amount of amniotic fluid during pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Organization, it only occurs in about 1% of pregnancies.

Polyhydramnios, or commonly called Poly, is when there is an excess of amniotic fluid in the uterus during pregnancy. Thankfully, it is usually harmless and causes no complications. It does have the potential to cause some complications, but unless it does your doctor may not mention it.

19 A Placenta Can Be Retained?

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Anyone who has been pregnant knows that retaining water during pregnancy is very common and it is an annoying side effect. A lot of women don’t know about the placenta being retained. This is something that can happen after pregnancy and delivery, but it is still not something many mentions.

There are three stages of labor and the second stage ends when the baby comes out. The third stage is a woman expels the afterbirth or placenta. When the placenta is retained, it means that the placenta does not naturally detach from the body. Now, this is not normally a big deal, because there are things the medical team can intervene and remove it for mom.

18 HBV Can Be Passed Down To The Baby

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HBV stands for Hepatitis B Virus, and not a lot of people really expect to find it as a pregnancy complication. This is a viral infection that can be passed on to the baby during childbirth if the mother is a carrier and does not know. This one may be rare, but it is a more serious one. Newborns who are born contracting this are 90% likely of having a lifelong infection. This can lead to some serious ramifications with the liver.

There are many ways to find out if you are a carrier of this. There are lab tests that can be done on the mother to find out if she is a carrier. The good news is that there is also a vaccine that can help protect your baby from HBV.

17 What Is A Prolapse?

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Prolapse is another condition that can happen during delivery. As the pregnancy nears the end, it is important to continue to check-in with your OB or midwife. The baby is running out of room in there and they are going to want to make sure that everything is fine, and nothing is getting crushed and squished in there.

They will want to look specifically at the umbilical cord. The cord is what is supplying oxygen and nutrients to the baby, so it is a very vital organ. Umbilical cord prolapse happens when there is too much pressure put on the cord. This normally happens during labor and the estimated amount it is found in is one in 10 deliveries.

16 Fetal Arrhythmia Is An Unusual Word And An Unusual Diagnosis

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The biggest worry a pregnant woman has is something being wrong with her baby. That is why there are so many tests and ultrasounds done during a woman’s pregnancy. To check on the baby’s growth and health as the pregnancy goes on. Fetal Arrhythmia is a complication that can be found in pregnancy and it can worry a mom-to-be.

It seems pretty simple, it refers to an abnormal heart rate in a growing baby. It can include a heart rate that is too fast or too slow. The normal rate of a fetal heart is between 120 and 160 beats per minute. This condition occurs in very few pregnancies, about 1% to 2% of all pregnancies and it is normally just a temporary occurrence.

15 Clots Are Very Rare But Happen

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Clots are something no one wants to have, whether they are pregnant or not. However, women will tend to worry about them more when they are carrying their child. Clots can be more serious than any of the other complications in this article, and that is because they are serious concerns even if you are not pregnant. Being pregnant can make it just a bit more serious.

Clots can pose a serious risk to the developing baby, but the good news is that they are very rare and there normally is little to worry about. Clots only affect only one or two women out of every 1,000 pregnancies. If you feel you are at risk, speak to your doctor about it and they can help monitor everything throughout the pregnancy.

14 Fifth Disease Is Super Contagious

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Fifth disease sounds more worrying than it actually is. This is one reason why a lot of doctors keep these complications on the DL (down low) because they are usually rare and nothing really to worry about. Fifth disease is a contagious infection that is caused by the human parvovirus B19. It is spread through coughing and sneezing.

This one is a bit more common than others, it is found in one in 400 expecting mothers every year. However, most of the women who contract this complication go on to have healthy babies who are perfectly fine. Symptoms of Fifth disease are much like the common flu, so if you are presenting any of them when pregnant it is important to speak to your healthcare provider.

13 The Annoying Hernia

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A hernia is never fun, and it wouldn’t be any easier to get through when carrying a growing baby. Hernias can happen when pregnant. A hernia is when a part of an internal organ protrudes through an opening in the muscle. This sounds a lot more serious than it is, but it can be quite painful. A pregnant woman does not need to be in any more discomfort than she is already in.

A hernia during pregnancy is not always cause for concern unless there is pain. If there is pain, a woman should see her OB right away for treatment options. If left untreated, it can have more serious complications. Hernias are caused by a weakness in the wall of a muscle, which would be fitting with pregnancy when everything gets a bit stretched out and weakened due to the growing baby.

12 Yeast Infections! (Not A Big Deal)

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Yeast infections happen all the time to women, and they can happen during pregnancy as well. Actually, according to the American Pregnancy Association, it is more likely that a woman will get a yeast infection when she is pregnant. This normally happens during the second trimester. Pregnancy hormones have a way of changing a woman’s whole body and they can affect the discharge.

If mom notices a change in her discharge, including it smelling a bit off, she should check in with her doctor. The good news is, a yeast infection during pregnancy has no negative effect on the baby. It will just be uncomfortable for mom, so she will want that to be taken care of immediately.

11 UTIs Can Happen!

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UTIs are also very common in women (and men) all over the world, however, they can occur more when a woman is pregnant. A UTI, or Urinary Tract Infection, is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract. Women who are between week six and week 24 of their pregnancy are at the highest risk of contracting this.

There is a very good reason why pregnant women are at more of a risk for this. As we said, a UTI is caused because of changes in the urinary tract. When a woman is pregnant, her uterus spends a lot of time hanging out right on top of the bladder, which is why we run to the bathroom all the time. As the uterus grows, the added pressure can block the drainage which can cause an infection.

10 Toxoplasmosis Is As Frightening As It Sounds

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Medical words are very intimidating and even if a doctor talks about it with you, they are likely going to use simple words that you can understand and that don’t seem as intimidating The reason pregnant women are told not to change cat litter when pregnant is because of the threat of contracting toxoplasmosis.

Cat waste can contain the parasite that can cause this issue, and it is a serious condition if contracted. There is a chance that if you have been around cats for a while that you have probably built up an immunity to it, but this is one risk no one should ever take. It is best that someone else handles the kitty litter for nine months.

9 RH Factor Sounds Complicated, But Is It? 

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RH factor is something that only pertains to certain pregnant women. It all comes down to the type of red stuff their body is carrying. If their supply is a + type, then they are off the hook. If it is, though, they do not have the RH factor in them. The RH factor is a type of protein on the surface of the red cells. RH negative people do not have this protein.

What this means is that if a baby’s supply is RH positive, and mom’s is negative and they mix during the pregnancy, mom’s body will start to fight. It will not recognize the new foreign type and start to build antibodies to fight future positive factors off. Luckily, women are screened for this at the beginning of pregnancy and there is a shot mom will get mid-way through her pregnancy to prevent this from happening.

8 We Know Placenta Previa, But What About Placenta Accreta?

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Placenta Previa is pretty well-known and therefore doesn’t really need to be talked about. Placenta Accreta is one that not a lot of people know about and not a lot of doctors talk about. The placenta normally attaches itself to the uterine wall and it is essential for the growth and wellbeing of a little baby.

Placenta Accreta is when the placenta attaches itself too deeply into the wall of the uterus. This does not happen too often. Approximately one in 2,5000 pregnancies will develop this condition. They don’t know what causes this to happen, though they do believe having a previous C-section increases your risk. The only complication this could mean for the baby is a possible premature delivery, but the OB will monitor you throughout your pregnancy.

7 What Is Oligohydramnios?

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Oligohydramnios is a fancy way of saying that there is low amniotic fluid in the uterus. Makes us wonder why they even need to give conditions these big, hard to pronounce and impossible to spell words. The amniotic fluid that is surrounding the baby is vital for their growth and development. It protects the baby and it helps develop their muscles, limbs, lungs and digestive system.

Babies also use this fluid to practice breathing and swallowing, and if there is too little of it there could be a problem. OBs can run tests to check on the levels of fluid, including an ultrasound. About 8% of women will have low amniotic fluid, but only 4% will actually be diagnosed with this condition.

6 HELLP Syndrome Needs Some Help

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HELLP Syndrome is one of the rarest conditions on this list, and you will likely not hear this leave the lips of your doctor. The syndrome is actually defined by a series of symptoms all coming together to form this. It is thought to be a variant of the well-known pregnancy complication, preeclampsia. There is not a lot known about HELLP Syndrome and doctors are still working on it.

Due to not being a lot known about this syndrome, there is worry that it is often misdiagnosed. It is thought to affect about 0.2 to 0.6% of all pregnancies, so it is incredibly rare.

HELLP stands for Hemolysis (breakdown of red cells), 'EL' is elevated liver enzymes, and 'LP' or low platelets count. The best way to minimize this syndrome is for mom to deliver her baby, which will depend on how far along she is in her pregnancy.

5 Cytomegalovirus Can Also Be Called CMV

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I am always really glad when the medical terms have short forms we can go by. Cytomegalovirus is also known as CMV, and that is (understandably) how I will be referring to it from now on. CMV is a virus that can be transferred to a developing child before they are even born. The good news is that CMV infection is usually harmless and doesn’t generally cause any illness.

The reason this one can be a little unnerving is because once a person is born with this, it remains in their body for their whole life though it does stay dormant. There are a few symptoms, swollen glands, fever, exhaustion, and weakness are some of them. However, it is important to remember that experience of symptoms is very rare.

4 Cholestasis Attacks A Mom's Liver

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This one hits home for me because I thought I had it with my second pregnancy. I also was never told this could happen and only heard of it when I googled my main symptom. Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a common liver disease that only happens in pregnancy. It normally presents itself in the later stage of pregnancy and the biggest symptom is severe itching.

The reason it happens is because the normal flow of liver bile is severely affected by pregnancy hormones. This causes a constant sense of itchiness all over the body. Nothing will bring relief and it is enough to drive anyone insane. If you ever experience this, speak to your doctor and they can run a simple test to make sure everything is okay.

3 Depression Doesn’t Always Come After Pregnancy

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Mental health is a big topic in the world today, and postpartum depression is one of the most talked about struggles for new moms. There is a push out there for new moms to do a self-check and make sure they are doing okay. However, this creates the notion that depression regarding pregnancy and being a new mom only comes after the baby is born.

There are many instances where a woman can find herself depressed when she is pregnant. Prenatal depression is not as common, but it does happen. This is again due to the changing hormones in a woman’s body when she is growing a child. A mother’s depression can affect her baby’s development, so it is important to bring it up at a doctor’s appointment if you feel anything is wrong.

2 BV Is Easy To Say, But Painful To Have

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BV is a rather simple one to write out, for that I am grateful. BV stands for Bacterial Vaginosis and it is also common in pregnancy due to changing hormones. This infection is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria. This is normal bacteria that is found in a woman, but when there is too much, it can cause BV. BV has been linked to having some complications with the baby if left untreated. It can cause preterm birth and for a baby to feel light.

There is no clear way to prevent BV from happening when you are pregnant, but we know it is not passed from person to person. Some women have some symptoms like burning and a strong smell, but some women have no symptoms at all which make this challenging. It is important to speak to your doctor if you think you have this or just simply want to check and make sure you are in the clear.

1 How Serious Is The Flu?

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Pregnancy can be very uncomfortable. The last thing a woman wants when she is pregnant is to get sick. With my second child, I contracted the stomach flu and it was annoying. There was a lot of time spent in the bathroom and a lot of phone calls to the OB and hospital to make sure my baby was okay. He was, but it was a stressful time.

The flu can be very serious during pregnancy and it is important to talk to your OB if you find yourself feeling ill when pregnant. It presents all the normal symptoms; fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, vomiting and feeling tired. It is important to stay hydrated and don’t hesitate if you are worried about your baby’s wellbeing.

References: womenshealth.gov, americanpregnancy.org

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