Pregnancy and Parenting Features

Complications during Childbirth

Pregnant Woman


Every couple hopes and prays that their childbirth experience will be normal, happy and relatively uneventful. Complications during childbirth can present real dangers for both the mother and the baby. Whether you have a high risk pregnancy or not, it can be worth understanding some of the possible complications that can come during childbirth.

Here are some of the more common childbirth complications:

  • Prolonged labor. Also called failure to progress, this is a situation where labor lasts too long. It happens to a small percentage of women, and most of them are first time mothers. The biggest health dangers to mother and baby during prolonged labor have to do with infections.
  • Problems with baby’s position. Normally, your baby drops down lower into your uterus during the final weeks of pregnancy. It will be positioned with the head down and facing your back. The smallest part of the baby’s head will be the first to travel through the birth canal. You’ve probably heard about a breech birth. This basically means that the baby is not positioned correctly for childbirth. There are other potential problems with your baby’s position. Sometimes your baby will be facing toward your abdomen instead of your back. This creates a risk of tearing the birth canal.
  • Problems with the umbilical cord. Your baby’s umbilical cord is the source through which he gets oxygen and nutrients. There are a couple of problems that can occur with the umbilical cord during pregnancy. In some cases, the umbilical cord may drop down into the birth canal. It might even drop out through the vagina. This creates a risk the blood will stop flowing to your baby, and constitutes an emergency trip to the hospital. The other common umbilical cord problem is umbilical cord compression. This is when the cord gets stretched during labor, decreasing the amount of blood that can flow through it. This problem is relatively common, with about 10% of births having cord compression. In severe cases it may be necessary to consider a cesarean section.

If you have concerns about potential childbirth complications, talk to your doctor. She will be able to help assess any risks involved, and offer sound medical advice about how to approach your labor and delivery.

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