The wonders of pregnancy and childbirth are one of the most beautiful and unique experiences in a woman’s life. However, pregnancy complications during childbirth can happen to anyone, even one who has had a normal, trouble free pregnancy.
Some of the most common concerns are:
- Failure to Progress (Prolonged Labour) – Some women, mostly first time mothers, may experience a labour that lasts too long. In this situation both the mother and the baby are at risk for several complications, including infections. A small percentage of women have prolonged labour during childbirth.
- Abnormal Presentation – As the body prepares for delivery, the foetus takes position. This is referred to as presentation. It could be either vertex (head down) or breech (buttocks down).In the weeks before the due date, the foetus moves lower in the uterus. The perfect presentation is where the baby is positioned head down, facing the mother’s back, with its chin tucked to its chest, and the back of the head ready to enter the pelvis. This way, the smallest part of the baby’s head leads the way through the cervix and into the birth canal. During childbirth, it is best for the head of the foetus to lead the way into the birth canal, so that there is little risk that the body will make it through but the head will get hung up.
- Cephalo pelvic disproportion – In this type of pregnancy complication during childbirth, the baby’s head is too large to fit through the mother’s pelvis, either because of their relative sizes or because of the poor positioning of the foetus.
- Occiput or Cephalic posterior – The baby faces toward the mother’s abdomen instead of her back in this type of pregnancy complication. This increases the chance of painful “back labour”; a lengthy childbirth. It could also cause tearing of the birth canal. Sometimes the baby’s head is positioned wrong, with the forehead, top of the head or face entering the birth canal first instead of the back of its head. This is known as mal presentation of the head.
- Breech Presentation – A breech presentation is another pregnancy complication during childbirth. It could be frank, complete or incomplete / footling, depending on the way the foetus enters the birth canal. Breech presentations are frequently seen far before the due date, and most often the baby turns to a normal vertex position closer to the delivery. A few babies lie horizontally in the uterus. This is called a transverse lie, and usually means that the shoulder will lead the way into the birth canal instead of the head.
Abnormal presentations will increase a woman’s risk for injuries to the uterus or birth canal. Breech babies are also at risk, for injury or a prolapsed umbilical cord. Amongst abnormal presentations, transverse lie is the most serious and can lead to ruptured uterus as well as foetal injury.
- Umbilical Cord Prolapse - The umbilical cord is the baby’s lifeline, as oxygen and other nutrients are passed from the mother’s system through it. Sometimes, before or during labour, the umbilical cord can slip through the cervix into the birth canal before the baby does. It may even protrude from the vagina. This is dangerous as the umbilical cord can get blocked and stop blood flow to the baby. It is an emergency situation and one of the most serious pregnancy complications during childbirth.
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