pregnancy, complications, risk factors, common concerns, OBGYN, prenatal care, healthy pregnancy, signs of complicationsMost pregnancies occur without complications. However, some women will experience complications involving their health, their baby’s health, or both. Before becoming pregnant, diseases or conditions the mother had can sometimes lead to complications, but most are manageable with early detection and prompt treatment.

Who is at Risk for Common Pregnancy Complications?

Women with a chronic condition or illness are potentially at risk for pregnancy complications. We recommend talking to your doctor about minimizing any complications before getting pregnant. If you’re already pregnant, your doctor may need to monitor your pregnancy. 

Disease Risk Factors To Know

Here are some examples of common diseases and conditions that can cause complications during your pregnancy. They include

  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • high blood pressure 
  • infections
  • sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
  • kidney problems
  • epilepsy
  • anemia

If you have a history of any of these diseases, it’s important to discuss them with your OB/GYN. But they aren’t the only risk factors to watch for. Other factors may increase your risk for pregnancy complications.

Other Factors that May Increase Your Risk for Pregnancy Complications

Understanding other risk factors that may increase your risk for complications can help you plan include

  • becoming pregnant at age 35 or older
  • being pregnant at an early age
  • having an eating disorder like anorexia
  • smoking cigarettes
  • using illegal drugs
  • drinking alcohol
  • a history of pregnancy loss or preterm birth
  • carrying multiples, such as twins or triplets

The Most Common Pregnancy Complications

Pregnancy can come with complications. It’s helpful to know which serious medical issues are most likely to affect expecting moms. Here’s a quick guide to the most common pregnancy complications.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure occurs when the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the organs and the placenta are narrow. Elevated blood pressure is associated with a higher risk of other complications, like preeclampsia. It puts you at a higher risk of having a baby well before your due date called preterm delivery. High blood pressure also increases your risk of having a small baby, so it’s important to control it with medications during pregnancy.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs when your body cannot process sugars effectively. It leads to higher-than-normal levels of sugar in the bloodstream. Some women will need to modify their meal plans to help control blood sugar levels. Others may need to take insulin to keep their blood sugar levels in control. Gestational diabetes usually resolves after pregnancy.


Preeclampsia, also called toxemia, occurs after the first 20 weeks of pregnancy and causes high blood pressure and potential problems with your kidneys. The recommended treatment for preeclampsia is delivery of the baby and placenta to prevent the disease from progressing. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits regarding the timing of delivery.

Preterm Labor

Preterm labor is when you go into labor before week 37 of your pregnancy. This period is before your baby’s organs, such as the lungs and the brain, have finished developing. Certain medications can stop labor. Doctors usually recommend bed rest to keep the baby from being born too early.


The loss of a pregnancy during the first 20 weeks. Up to 20 percent of pregnancies among healthy women will end in a miscarriage. Sometimes, this happens before a woman is even aware of the pregnancy. In most cases, miscarriage isn’t preventable.


The loss of pregnancy after week 20. Many times, the cause for this isn’t known. Issues that may cause stillbirths include problems with the placenta, chronic health issues in the mother, and infections.

Keeping up with your regular and prenatal appointments can help your doctor or midwife detect any common pregnancy complications early, through routine physical exams, lab tests, and ultrasounds. Need more info about common pregnancy complications. Click here.

Do you live in Northwest Arkansas and need a healthcare provider? At Creekside Center for Women, our friendly staff is here to help. Schedule your visit at 479.582.9268.