Pregnancy is life-changing and a cause for great celebration as you prepare to bring your sweet baby into the world. Everyone hopes that pregnancy will go smoothly, but there’s always a risk of complications.
That’s why proper monitoring and care by a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist throughout your pregnancy is a must.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa has dedicated his career to treating women who suffer from both unusual and common gynecological and pregnancy-related conditions. We’re also proud to share that he’s been selected for the 2021 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which recognizes clinical excellence and outstanding compassion.
Our team at The Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery skillfully guides you through your pregnancy, whether it’s uneventful or offers a challenge. Here’s some info on what leads to a complicated pregnancy and an explanation of the types.
The link between high-risk pregnancies and complications
Certain factors contribute to making a pregnancy high-risk, which gives you a somewhat greater chance of experiencing complications. Risk factors include:
- Being under 17 years of age or over 38 when your baby is born
- Pre-pregnancy health conditions such as diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, or an autoimmune condition
- Conditions you develop during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia (pregnancy high blood pressure)
- A history of miscarriage, a premature birth, or complicated pregnancies accompanied by things like preterm labor
- Being pregnant with multiple babies
- Lifestyle practices like smoking and drinking alcohol
About 8% of women who become pregnant experience complications that have the potential to hurt either the mother or baby if not medically addressed.
5 types of complicated pregnancies explained
Pregnancy complication chances increase if you have a high-risk pregnancy, but they can also happen out of the blue. This is why excellent prenatal care is critical. Dr. Khamvongsa treats:
This is dangerously high blood pressure that develops anytime in pregnancy, but most often after the 20-week mark.
You should let Dr. Khamvongsa know if you have any abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting, vision problems, or bad headaches or dizziness, as these are preeclampsia symptoms. You might also notice swelling in your hands or face, or that you’re urinating less.
You may get treated with medication, but the condition dissipates once you have your baby, so inducing labor may be necessary.
This type of diabetes is diagnosed when you’re pregnant, and unfortunately, it raises your risk for post-pregnancy diabetes. As with type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes is characterized by resistance to the hormone insulin.
There aren’t typically obvious symptoms for it, so you’re usually screened at around 24 to 28 weeks. Being overweight puts you at risk for gestational diabetes, and the condition makes it more likely that you’ll have a baby with a high birth weight.
Dr. Khamvongsa may recommend changing your diet to control gestational diabetes, though some women need medications, including insulin. If the condition isn’t controlled, it can lead to preeclampsia.
Your placenta provides your baby’s nourishment, and usually it attaches to the upper portion of your uterus, but sometimes it can either partially or fully cover your cervix — this is placenta previa. You’re at greater risk for the condition if you have fibroids or uterine scarring from a previous pregnancy or past surgery.
Symptoms of placenta previa include vaginal bleeding without pain or no symptoms at all. Dr. Khamvongsa can diagnose placenta previa with an ultrasound. If you’re diagnosed with placenta previa, you will need to deliver your baby via C-section some weeks prior to your due date, but Dr. Kahmvongsa can advise and support you through that journey as well.
Sometimes your cervix opens prematurely when you’re pregnant, if the weight of your baby is too much for it. If you’ve had cervical surgery or an incompentent cervix with a prior pregnancy, you’re more likely to experience it.
It’s often imperceptible, though you may have light cramping. Dr. Kahmvongsa diagnoses cervical insufficiency by measuring your cervix’s length using an ultrasound.
Treatments include bed rest and progesterone suppositories, but Dr. Khamvongsa may also recommend a minor surgical procedure called cerclage, during which a sturdy thread is stitched around your cervix to strengthen it and keep it closed.
Scarce or excessive amniotic fluid
Amniotic fluid envelops your baby to keep him or her safe. It also regulates the temperature in your uterus.
If you don’t have enough fluid, your baby’s muscle, limb, lung, and digestive system development can be impaired, while too much can put you at risk for several complications, including preterm labor and excessive bleeding after delivery.
With low fluid, you receive saline solution orally or via an IV. If you’re treated during labor, you get the solution delivered through a catheter. If you have a fluid surplus, your doctor can perform a draining procedure or give you medication that can help.
Call our office at 786-220-8664 to schedule a prenatal visit to discuss any concerns, or request one online.