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While the vast majority of women will experience nine months of a healthy pregnancy with no complications, other women may be diagnosed with a specific condition that may require treatment or monitoring.

Women can experience certain health conditions (or complications) that are a result of pregnancy, as well as conditions that are not related to pregnancy but occur during – and may be impacted by – pregnancy.

Women should discuss all symptoms they are experiencing with their HCP, to include in between appointments when necessary, so their HCP can rule out any possible conditions that need to be treated or managed to prevent complications.

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Women can experience certain conditions during pregnancy that occur as a direct result of pregnancy (but may present similarly in nature to non-obstetric conditions). These include, but are not limited to:

Women can also experience certain conditions during pregnancy that are unrelated to pregnancy, but may may occur during pregnancy. These include, but are not limited to:

There is very limited information regarding the overall range of conditions pregnant women can experience; it is also unclear how many conditions could have a change in prognosis or management due to pregnancy.

Diagnosing specific conditions during pregnancy can be frustrating for HCPs; although some gestational conditions are more easily recognizable than others, HCPs must make an assessment of collective symptoms to determine if symptoms are normal or may indicate something more. HCPs need to consider:

  • Symptoms related to normal physiological changes of pregnancy (no treatment necessary unless they affect a woman's quality of life)

  • Symptoms related to a specific pregnancy-associated condition (may require immediate treatment)

  • Symptoms related to a non-obstetric condition that happened to occur while a woman was pregnant

For example, if a pregnant women is suffering from nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy, the HCP should not assume its simply NVP although this is the most likely; the nausea and vomiting could be related to molar pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, bowel obstruction, migraine, etc.

This full assessment is important; HCPs need to rule out certain possibilities, as some of those possibilities may require immediate treatment (ectopic pregnancy).

Women should tell their HCP how they are feeling and what they are experiencing during every prenatal appointment (and in-between if necessary). This can help HCPs diagnose certain conditions as early as possible and prevent potential complications.

Content Summary 

Abdominal conditions: Appendicitis, bowel obstruction, fibroids, pancreatitis, and ovarian torsion are common causes of non-obstetric abdominal pain/cramping during pregnancy. Women should always tell their HCP when they are experiencing abdominal pain. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Uterus (impact abdominal cavity); Gastrointestinal Tract

Common Cold: Common colds, which are caused by viruses that can affect the upper and/or lower respiratory tracts, are very common and behave similarly in pregnant women as they do in non-pregnant women. However, some symptoms as well as the severity of overall infection can be more significant during pregnancy (influenza, pneumonia).  Read more.

Responsible body changes: Respiratory System; Immune System

Associated Symptoms: Coughing; Nasal Congestion; Sneezing; Sore Throat; Runny Nose

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which a pregnant woman’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin in her body to regulate blood glucose levels, putting the woman and her baby at risk for hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).  Read more.

Responsible body changes: Pancreas (insulin resistance)

Associated symptoms: Usually does not produce symptoms; HCPs screen for GDM between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy

Group B streptococcus: Group B streptococcus is a bacterium present in the digestive, urinary, and reproductive tracts of both men and women, and is usually harmless and symptom-free.  However, during pregnancy, this bacterium can be passed to the newborn during vaginal delivery. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Cervix; Vagina

Associated symptoms: Usually none; screened for after 36 weeks of pregnancy by an HCP

Herpes Simplex Virus: Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is an incurable, lifelong, recurrent sexually transmitted infection that causes open sores on various parts of the body, usually the mouth (cold sores) and genitals. HSV is very common among pregnant women, which is a concern because HSV can cause congenital or neonatal infection that can be life-threatening for the newborn. Read more.

Responsible body changes: HSV does not occur as a result of pregnancy, but becomes more dangerous for a fetus when contracted by the mother during pregnancy.

Associated symptoms: Some women may never notice symptoms until a routine screening tests positive, others will notice sores around the mouth or genitals.

Influenza is a common respiratory infection around the world, one in which pregnant women are often indicated as more vulnerable to than the general population. Influenza, and its prognosis during pregnancy on both mother and baby appears to depend upon severity of infection, stage of pregnancy, underlying illnesses, vaccination status, the overall health of the pregnancy, and when a woman saw an HCP or received medical care for the infection. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Not a direct result of pregnancy, but changes to the Immune System, Respiratory System, and Cardiovascular System can affect management and prognosis.

Associated symptoms: Coughing; Body/Muscle Aches; Nasal Congestion; Sore Throat; Headache; Fatigue (*some influenza symptoms can mimic normal pregnancy symptoms)

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP): ICP is a relatively rare condition involving the liver that occurs when bile salts build up in a pregnant woman’s circulation, causing extreme itching (no rash). The condition likely occurs due to hormonal effects on the liver, gallbladder, and bile duct system. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Liver; Skin; Immune System; Increase in Hormones

Associated symptoms: Extreme, intense itching

Insufficient Cervix: An insufficient cervix (formerly incompetent cervix) indicates a mechanical or tissue failure of the cervix to maintain the structural integrity/physical support necessary to sustain a pregnancy. An insufficient cervix can soften, ripen, and/or dilate too soon, often leading to preterm delivery.  Read more.

Responsible body changes: Cervix; Uterus

Associated symptoms: Usually none, but spotting or contractions may occur; noticed during physical exam or ultrasound

Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP): NVP is one of the most common conditions in all of pregnancy. It begins very early, can range in severity from mild to severe, and can last from just a few days to potentially the entire pregnancy. Read more.

Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG): HG is the condition named for the most severe form of NVP. Women with HG are at an increased risk for early pregnancy complications. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Gastrointestinal Tract; Increase in Hormones

Associated symptoms: Nausea; Vomiting; can also lead to Constipation; Acid Reflux; Fatigue; Weight Loss

Obesity: While obesity during pregnancy is increasing world-wide and includes greater risks of complications for both the woman and her baby, women considered "obese" can still experience perfectly healthy pregnancies. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Fatigue; Increase in Hormones (increases fat deposition)

Placental Disorders: Various placental disorders can occur during pregnancy, to include placenta previa (covering the cervix), placenta accreta (deep invasion), and placental abruption (detaches early), as well as a retained placenta (does not dislodge after delivery).

The main symptom of placenta previa is painless bleeding; accreta is usually diagnosed during ultrasound/after delivery and without specific symptoms; abruption can result in hemorrhaging, as well as abdominal and pelvic pain. A retained placenta is diagnosed after delivery. Read more.

Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (PEP): Also known as Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, PEP is the most common skin disorder in pregnancy that leads to significant itching and a rash. Although other skin conditions during pregnancy also lead to intense itching, PEP is considered self-limiting, does not harm the fetus, and does not lead to more serious complications.  Read more.

Responsible body changes: Skin

Associated symptoms: Itching; Rash; Lack of Sleep

Preeclampsia: Preeclampsia is a vascular condition during pregnancy that manifests primarily as high blood pressure, but can also include sudden swelling in the face and hands, headache, vision changes, sudden weight gain, and abdominal pain. When preeclampsia is diagnosed early, its management can prevent serious complications. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Blood Pressure; Placentation

Associated signs/symptoms: Headache; Swelling; Vision Changes; Sudden Weight Gain

Restless Leg Syndrome: Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a condition that in some published studies, is “caused” by pregnancy itself, but the mechanism for how or why this may occur is not known. RLS includes an irresistible urge to move the legs, especially when trying to fall asleep, and could be accompanied by other symptoms such as an aching feeling. Read more.

Responsible body changes: Unknown

Associated symptoms: Lack of Sleep; aching, restless legs

Syphilis: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that is easily screened for and cured with antibiotics. However, the presentation of the infection causes some women to completely miss the initial signs, and syphilis can lay dormant for years after the original infection. Syphilis can be passed to the fetus during pregnancy, the incidence of which has increased more than 260% in recent years. Read more.

Associated symptoms: Sores, as well as skin rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, headaches, weight loss, hair loss, muscle aches, and fatigue

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI): UTIs are considered common during pregnancy and require treatment. HCPs may routinely screen for UTIs – even in women without symptoms – through simple urine tests during prenatal appointments. Various hormonal and physical changes during pregnancy make pregnant women more susceptible to UTIs, and women who have never experienced a UTI before may contract their first one during pregnancy.  Read more.

Responsible body changes: Bladder; Kidneys; Uterine Weight

Associated Symptoms: Trouble voiding; painful urination; strong urges to urinate; itching; burning; Pelvic Pain; Back Pain

Venous thromboembolism events, which include deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), are rare during pregnancy. However, because swelling and shortness of breath are both common during pregnancy and are in some cases considered normal, VTE is commonly suspected and considered, especially in the postpartum period.  Read more.

Associated Symptoms: Swelling and Shortness of Breath; along with a possible rash/redness/heat at clot site

Fetal-Associated Conditions

Birth Defects: It is estimated that birth defects affect up to 3% of all pregnancies, which includes a wide range of possible structural and functional defects – up to 7,000 different types have been identified. Fortunately, some of these birth defects can have extraordinarily little overall impact on a child's life. Read more.

Ectopic Pregnancy: Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in a location outside of the main cavity of the uterus; is a common cause of abdominal pain in early pregnancy and must be ruled out. Ectopic pregnancy that continues to develop may result in a ruptured Fallopian tube which could be life-threatening. Read more.

Associated symptoms: Abdominal pain, shoulder pain, Nausea and Vomiting

Miscarriage: The widespread use of highly sensitive home pregnancy tests has allowed women to find out they are pregnant within 8 days of conception. While this extra time is a positive development in allowing women to prepare for a pregnancy much earlier, it has also revealed just how many pregnancies fail in the first few weeks.

Although recognizing its high frequency does not make experiencing it any easier, this same research reveals that most couples who experience miscarriage go on to have healthy, full-term pregnancies in the future. Read more.

Associated symptoms: Vaginal bleeding, cramping (the presence of these symptoms does not always mean a miscarriage will occur)

Molar Pregnancy: Molar pregnancies, when abnormal trophoblastic tissue grows into the uterus, are part of a category of diseases known as Gestational Trophoblast Disease (GTD) and are considered very rare. Molar pregnancies are not viable pregnancies and are managed with a surgical procedure.

A smaller percentage of women may have severe invasion of the uterus, which can require further treatment, and in some cases, may be malignant (with an excellent prognosis). Read more.

Associated symptoms: Nausea; Intense Vomiting; grape-like tissue discharge, large uterus compared to gestational age


Women should tell their HCP how they are feeling and what they are experiencing during every prenatal appointment (and in-between if necessary). This can help HCPs diagnose certain conditions as early as possible and prevent potential complications.


Partners/Support play an important role in the prevention of complications during pregnancy. There are certain signs and symptoms a pregnant woman could experience that may be more noticeable to her partner or other family members around her.

Partners can read this site to learn more about potential complications and what outward signs and symptoms could indicate a visit to an HCP may be necessary (abdominal pain, fever, chest pain, shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, snoring, nausea and vomiting).


Pregnancy Complications (U.S. Office on Women's Health)

Pregnancy Complications (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Health Problems in Pregnancy (Medline Plus)


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