Potential Problems During Pregnancy and Childbirth

While pregnancy is a wonderful thing for many families and most women are excited about the new baby and have good pregnancies and childbirth experiences, there are cases where things do not go so well. When things do not go as planned or when problems arise this can cause problems for the mother as well as the developing fetus. Both the nine months of pregnancy as well as the process of childbirth both carry risks for certain problems to arise. Some of the more common of these include:


  • Miscarriage- sometimes things do not go right in the pregnancy and even after the fetus as begun to grow, the body rejects it. Miscarriage can happen at any time during the nine months of pregnancy but it is most common in the first trimester. Often times the cause of a miscarriage is not fully known.
  • Preeclampsia- the mother’s body is under a lot of stress and strain during pregnancy, especially if she has other health issues or concerns. Preeclampsia is the development of high blood pressure and excess urine in the body. This can be very dangerous for the mother and in many cases, leads to an induced labor or an emergency C-section in severe cases.
  • Oligohydramnios- too little fluid in the amniotic sac can impact fetal growth and can also lead to problems such as infection and premature labor. There is little that can be done to correct it and careful and frequent monitoring is needed once it is diagnosed.
  • Gestational Diabetes- even heathy women who watch what they eat while pregnant can gain weight rapidly and develop gestational diabetes. This can affect the health of the mother and cause the fetus to grow too large which can make delivery difficult and dangerous. Fortunately, in most cases after delivery the diabetes reverses and the mother regains a clean bill of health.
  • Placenta previa- with this pregnancy concern, the placenta shifts to a lower position than normal. In mild cases this is usually not cause for concern but if it shifts too much it can block the cervix which makes labor and delivery much harder. It also can increase the risk for bleeding and infections, especially in the third trimester.


  • Umbilical Cords- as the fetus develops, the cord can become twisted and knotted which can reduce the flow of nutrients, blood and oxygen. In severe cases this can be life threatening to the fetus. The cord can also become wrapped around the neck, legs, or other body parts and cause major injuries during delivery.
  • Fetal Heart Rate- even in healthy pregnancies the stress of labor and delivery can take its toll. During delivery monitors are hooked up to keep an eye on the fetal heart rate. If it drops too low there is a chance for fetal death and an emergency C-section may be ordered.
  • Stalled Labor- despite the best efforts and plans, sometimes something goes wrong and labor will not naturally progress. There are some things that ca be done medically to encourage labor to resume but it that does not work a C-section may be needed. The risk from a stalled labor is great for both the mother and the fetus.
  • Baby Position- when they are born, most babies emerge head first as this is the easiest position for birth and it is how nature intended babies to be born. Sometimes labor starts too early or the baby moves too much right before delivery and can be in the wrong position. Painful, long, and dangerous deliveries are often caused by poor baby positioning.
  • Birth Injuries- even with the best medical care and the greatest effort on the part of the mother to do everything right, things can go wrong. Doctor error, medicine side effects, and delivery procedures can result in injury to the newborn baby or the mother. Fortunately, these cases are not as common as they could be but they do still occur far too often for a developed nation like the United States .

Both the nine months of pregnancy as well as the process of childbirth both carry risks for certain problems to arise. Knowing what some of these are can help you prepare and be on the lookout for the early warning signs that can keep you and your baby safe and healthy!