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Chapter Sixteen. Caring for the Maternal... > Signs of Complications of Pregnancy

Signs of Complications of Pregnancy

There are many complications of pregnancy. The nurse should instruct the client to report to a doctor if she has any of the following symptoms:

  • Persistent vomitingHyperemesis gravidarum (nausea and vomiting after the first trimester) can lead to fluid and electrolyte imbalances.

  • Vaginal bleeding—Can be an indication of placenta previa (placenta over cervix, which produces painless bleeding), abruptio placenta (separation of the placenta before the third stage of labor, which produces painful bleeding), or a threatened abortion.

  • Abdominal pain—Can indicate a threatened abortion, an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the body of the uterus; if it ruptures, peritonitis results), or abruptio placenta.

  • Incompetent cervix—Causes a spontaneous abortion. This problem is corrected by performing a McDonalds’, cerclage, or Shirodkar procedure to close the cervix.

  • Vertigo, headache, or edema of the hands and face—Can indicate preeclampsia.

  • Premature rupture of membranes—Can indicate premature labor and lead to infections.

  • Chills and fever—Can be an indication of a urinary tract infection or sepsis.

  • Excessively rapid uterine enlargement—Can indicate a hydatidiform mole.


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