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Risks and Complications During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, you may have many questions about your health and potential complications that can occur during pregnancy. Some women may have underlying health risk factors that can increase the chances of having a health issue during pregnancy.

Risk factors for complications include prior health conditions (diabetes and hypertension are some examples), being age 40 or over, or use of alcohol or cigarettes. Make sure that you consult with your healthcare professional regularly and discuss any risk factors with them. They will monitor you for issues and ensure that your pregnancy is healthy.

Vaginal Bleeding

Some women may experience spotting or light vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Any bleeding during pregnancy needs to be evaluated by your health care provider. Learn more in this section:

Miscarriage

Miscarriage is a loss of a pregnancy that occurs in the first 20 weeks. It can be difficult to accept the loss of a pregnancy. If you have had a miscarriage, you may need extra care and support. Learn more in this section:

Blood Pressure

Some women may develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. High blood pressure may have started before pregnancy or very high blood pressure may start in the second or third trimester.. Very high blood pressure during pregnancy could decrease the amount of blood and oxygen to your baby which could hinder baby’s growth. Very high blood pressure could cause the placenta to pull away from uterus too soon. Learn more about high blood pressure in pregnancy.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Ectopic pregnancies are often caused by damage to the fallopian tubes. If you experience pelvic or belly pain, or vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, consult your healthcare professional. Ectopic pregnancies can be dangerous if not treated quickly. Learn more about ectopic pregnancy.

Molar Pregnancy

A molar pregnancy happens when tissue that normally becomes a fetus instead becomes an abnormal growth in your uterus. Even though it isn't an embryo, this growth triggers symptoms of pregnancy. A molar pregnancy should be treated right away. This will make sure that all of the tissue is removed. This tissue can cause serious problems in some women.

Reproductive Concerns

Endometriosis and ovarian cysts cause pain and abnormal bleeding for many women. Most ovarian cysts do not cause symptoms, but can rupture or twist, causing pelvic pain. If you feel pelvic pain or difficult periods visit your healthcare professional. Learn more in this section:

Problems with Placenta

During pregnancy, some women may experience difficulties with their placentas. This includes having a placenta that blocks the cervix or a placenta which separates from the wall of the uterus. You may also experience problems with the amniotic sac that surrounds your baby. Learn more about placenta in this section:

Multiple Pregnancy

Risks increase with the number of babies you carry at a time. If you have a multiple pregnancy, you may be more likely to develop problems such as diabetes, miscarriage or birth defects. This does not happen to all women. Many women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. Learn more in this section:

Other Pregnancy Risks

Other Useful Websites

BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre

BC Women's offers specialized services for women experiencing complications in pregnancy through several clinics.

Perinatal Services BC

Perinatal Services BC provides leadership, support, and coordination for the strategic planning of perinatal services in British Columbia. See Perinatal Services BC: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to learn more.

Baby’s Best Chance

Baby’s Best Chance provides easy to read tips on having a healthy pregnancy and giving your baby a good start in life. It also provides you with information on how to take care of your own well-being. Baby’s Best Chance is available online in English, Chinese, French, Punjabi and Spanish.

Last Updated: June 2021