Common pregnancy complications

Here’s what you need to know about these all too typical pregnancy complications

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Varicose veins

  • These are unsightly and sometimes painful swollen veins and roughly 30% of women are likely to develop them during pregnancy.
  • You’re more likely to have them if there is a family history of varicose veins
  • Try wearing elastic support tights and loose fitting clothes, and avoid standing for prolonged periods to alleviate symptoms
  • Seek medical advice if they are painful or red and sore, as you can run the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or phlebitis (inflammation)
  • They can be surgically removed but it’s best to wait until a few months after giving birth to allow your veins to shrink naturally
  • Piles are simply varicose veins that develop around your anus. Cold compresses and Kegel exercises can help relieve symptoms
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Ovarian cysts

  • These types of growth can develop on the ovaries during pregnancy
  • It is very common for cysts to be picked up on an ultrasound during early pregnancy, and often they will disappear without treatment
  • If the cyst becomes painful, large or solid it may require surgical intervention and it can cause miscarriage or premature labour
  • If you require surgery you are most likely to have it between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy to avoid the risk of exposing the foetus to anaesthetic in the crucial first 12 weeks of development

Fibroids

  • A fibroid is a mass of benign muscle tissue growth on the uterine wall
  • Fibroids often develop prior to pregnancy and are picked up on ultrasound or pelvic examination
  • A fibroid can grow larger during pregnancy but is unlikely to affect it unless it is blocking your cervix or grows extremely large
  • If a fibroid is blocking the cervix, a caesarean might be advised. If a fibroid is too large it can increase the risk of heavy bleeding after delivery. This can be minimised with an oxytocin hormone injection.
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Incontinence

  • The muscles of the pelvic floor, which help with the control of bladder and bowel function, are put under increased stress during pregnancy and childbirth
  • If these muscles become too stretched or damaged then you may experience a small leakage of urine when you laugh or cough
  • Doing Kegal exercises, where you together the muscles around the urethra as if trying to stop urinating, can strengthen the pelvic floor, helping to minimise or prevent incontinence problems.

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