Common Problems in Pregnancy

Most women can expect an uncomplicated pregnancy, but there are some conditions that require prompt and expert attention. These are listed below for your information.


Bleeding in pregnancy is not normal and should always be reported to your midwife or doctor, who will arrange the necessary tests to be done to ensure that the correct treatment is given.

Breech presentation

When babies are presenting bottom first (breech) there can be difficulties with the birth. We will check the presentation of your baby at about 36 weeks into your pregnancy. It may be possible for your Consultant Obstetrician to manually turn your baby to a head first position (External cephalic version) at around 37 weeks.

If this is not possible or unsuccessful you will be given an opportunity to discuss your birth options one of which will include a planned caesarean section.

Blood pressure

As stated previously high blood pressure in pregnancy can be serious and we will perform an assessment of your risk of developing high blood pressure so that we can decide how closely to monitor you during your pregnancy.


Itching is common during pregnancy, usually affecting the trunk often combined with a rash. In rare cases where itching is severe and includes the palms of the hands but with no rash this may suggest a condition called Obstetric Cholestasis.

This condition affects liver function, is very rare but can be dangerous for the baby and require early delivery.

Premature birth

Most babies will be born between 37 and 42 weeks. However some labours begin naturally before this time. The earlier the birth the more problems there are likely to be for the baby who may require intensive care. If it is possible to delay the birth this will be attempted along with treatment to assist with maturing the baby’s lungs.

Twins or triplets

Being pregnant with more than one baby carries greater risks for mother and babies. It is important to monitor pregnancy closely.


During pregnancy and the weeks immediately following birth you are more likely to develop a thrombosis (clot in the blood vessels). You should consult a doctor immediately if your leg is painful and or swollen in the calf area, if you are breathless, have pains in your chest or cough up any blood.

Domestic violence

One in four women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. This may take the form of physical, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse.

Thirty per cent of this abuse starts in pregnancy and existing abuse may worsen during pregnancy or after birth. Domestic violence should not be tolerated. It risks your health and that of your baby before and after birth (Department of Health 2007).

You can speak in confidence to your GP, midwife, obstetrician, health visitor or social worker. If you wish they can help you take steps to stop the abuse or to seek refuge.

If you need urgent help call the National Domestic Violence Helpline which is available 24 hours a day: Freephone 0808 2000 247.

Women’s Aid Federation of England –