Due to technical difficulties, all Medical Marijuana online applications will be unavailable until 8AM, Tuesday, March 11th. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

A Woman's Right to Know

Pregnancy & Childbirth

Print This Pageprint

Pregnancy and birth is usually a safe, natural process although complications can occur. The most common complications of pregnancy include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Complicated delivery
  • Premature labor
  • Depression
  • Infection
  • Diabetes
  • Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)

The number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the United States in 2007 was 14.5 deaths per 100,000 live births. This is the same as saying in 2007 one out of 6,897 women's death was pregnancy-related. (CDC Report)

Methods of Delivery

Labor is when a pregnant woman's uterus contracts and pushes or delivers the baby from her body. The baby may be delivered through the woman's vagina or by cesarean section. A cesarean section is a surgical procedure.

  • Vaginal Delivery
    Possible side effects and risks:
    • Injury to the bladder or rectum
    • A hole (fistula) between the bladder and vagina or the rectum and vagina
    • Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
    • Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication from an operation
    • Emergency treatment for any of the above problems, including the possible need to treat with an operation, medicines, or blood transfusion
    • Rarely, death
  • Cesarean Birth
    Possible side effects and risks:
    • Injury to the bowel or bladder
    • Inability to get pregnant due to infection or complication from an operation
    • Hemorrhage (heavy bleeding)
    • Injury to the tube (ureter) between the kidney and bladder
    • A possible hysterectomy as a result of complication or injury during the procedure
    • Complications from anesthesia such as respiratory problems, headaches, or drug reactions
    • Emergency treatment for any of the above problems, including the possible need to treat with an operation, medicines, or a blood transfusion
    • Rarely, death

Emotional Side of Birth

Birth is a life-changing experience, and each birth brings with it a new and different set of experiences and feelings.

The feelings you experience after birth may be the most intense you have ever encountered: great surges of joy and happiness, feelings of contentment and fulfillment. It is not uncommon for women also to experience fears, worries, or sadness.

Depression after the birth of a baby can occur. Many new mothers experience various degrees of it. While depression can occur within days after delivery, it can also appear gradually, and sometimes it doesn't start until a year after your baby's birth.

In most cases, mothers have mild symptoms that may last only a few days. However, some mothers experience severe symptoms that can include exhaustion, feelings such as worthlessness or hopelessness, and memory loss. In rare circumstances you may have a fear of harming yourself or your baby. Although these symptoms may not last long, if you have any of them, call your doctor to get professional help and support.

You can reduce the risk for problems or complications in any pregnancy. Here's how:

  • Get early and regular prenatal care
  • Eat a well balanced diet and get regular exercise
  • Don't smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs that your doctor hasn't prescribed for you

If you have questions or concerns, be sure to talk with your doctor or other health-care provider.