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5 Major Prenatal & Newborn Complications To Watch Out For

Updated 19 Apr 2019 – By Loanstreet

In collaboration with  

Congratulations - You’re pregnant! Awww… you must be feeling a lot of joy and are excited about this new person you’ll bring into the world. However, let’s be honest here, you’re also terrified that something may go wrong, right? It’s OKAY. These feelings are normal.

Pregnancies complications can happen to any of us, which is why it's helpful to know possible complications that can affect you and your baby. 

Again, this article isn’t meant to scare you, but to provide answers to some of your what-ifs. With the help of Prudential, here’s a quick guide to the 5 major prenatal and newborn complications that you should be aware of.

SIDE NOTE: The information provided here shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. So please consult your doctor immediately if you have any concerns.


So, what are some of the major prenatal complications?

1. Eclampsia

A life-threatening complication, it causes a pregnant woman - usually previously diagnosed with preeclampsia (high blood pressure and protein in the urine) - to develop seizures or enter into a coma. Bear in mind that you may be at risk of eclampsia if you’re older than 35 years or younger than 20 years, have chronic hypertension (high blood pressure), pregnant with twins or triplets, have kidney disease, diabetes or it’s your first-time pregnancy.

What are the SYMPTOMS? Some of the common signs before eclampsia happens are elevated blood pressure, swelling in your face or hands, headaches, excessive weight gain, nausea and vomiting, vision problems, difficulty urinating and abdominal pain (especially in the right upper abdomen). Leading up to eclampsia, you’ll experience seizures, loss of consciousness and agitation.

Why is it DANGEROUS? This condition can affect the placenta, which is the organ that delivers oxygen and nutrients from your blood to the fetus. When high blood pressure reduces blood flow through the vessels, the placenta may be unable to function properly. This may result in your baby being born with low birth weight or other health problems. Meanwhile, complication to mothers can be quite severe, which includes the risk of death from stroke or cardiac arrest.


2. Amniotic Fluid Embolism

If you're 35 or older and pregnant, you might be at high risk of amniotic fluid embolism. It occurs when amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus), fetal cells, hair or other debris enter your bloodstream. This usually happens during labour or shortly after giving birth in both vaginal and cesarean births.

What are the SYMPTOMS? Amniotic fluid embolism might develop suddenly and rapidly. Some of the signs may include sudden shortness of breath, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, bleeding from the uterus, cardiovascular collapse (dysfunction of the heart), fetal heart rate abnormalities, seizures and loss of consciousness.

Why is it DANGEROUS? It can cause serious complications for you and your baby such as brain injury due to low blood oxygen, infant or maternal death because of the sudden cardiac arrest, excessive blood loss, acute respiratory distress or multiple organ failure.


What about newborn complications?

3. Jaundice

This occurs when your baby’s skin and eyes turn yellow, caused by the excess bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia), a yellow pigment produced during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. However, during this time the newborn’s liver is still developing and may not be mature enough to remove bilirubin.

What are the SYMPTOMS? The signs of jaundice are pretty obvious - the yellowing of your baby’s skin and eyes, which may begin within 2 to 4 days after birth and will spread down across the body. You can check this by lightly pressing your finger on the baby’s skin. Make sure that you examine your baby in good lighting condition. If the skin looks yellow where you pressed, it's likely your baby has jaundice.

Why is it DANGEROUS? In most cases, jaundice will disappear within 2 to 3 weeks. However, if it stays longer than 3 weeks, it may be a symptom of an underlying condition. This becomes a serious condition when the bilirubin levels increase. It can put a baby at risk for deafness, cerebral palsy, or other forms of brain damage.


4. Severe measles

Measles is caused by the highly contagious respiratory infection, also known as rubeola virus. If your baby hasn’t been immunised and hasn’t had measles before, he/she is likely to catch it if he/she is exposed to it. 

What are the SYMPTOMS? The first symptoms of measles infection are usually a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, and red eyes. A more obvious early symptom is small, grey-white spots (which look like grains of sand/salt) inside your baby's mouth. 

Why is it DANGEROUS? Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children as it can lead to Pneumonia (a serious lung infection) - the most common cause of death from measles in young children as mentioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO).


5. Down Syndrome

This condition happens when the baby is born with an extra chromosome which leads to a range of issues that affect your baby both mentally and physically. To date, the cause of the extra full or partial chromosome is still unknown.  Mothers who deliver at over 35 years of age may have a higher risk.

What are the SYMPTOMS? The signs of down syndrome may vary from one person to another. That said, some of the common physical signs of Down Syndrome are decreased/poor muscle tone, short neck, flattened facial profile and nose, small head, ears, and mouth, upward slanting eyes and short hands with short fingers. 

Why is it DANGEROUS? Well, it’s not life-threatening, but it’s not something to be taken lightly either. A person with Down Syndrome has slower cognitive and motor skills development like delay in acquiring speech. 

Other than that, the baby might later develop health issues like a congenital heart defect, respiratory problems, hearing difficulties, Alzheimer's disease, childhood leukaemia, epilepsy and thyroid conditions.


Hmm, I know I should get insurance coverage for my baby but… how early should I get it?

There’s no such thing as too early when it comes to protection. To alleviate some of your worries, it’s good to get peace of mind in the form of insurance. 

With Prudential’s PRUmy child plus, you can get early protection for your unborn baby from as early as 14 weeks old in the womb! That’s not the only good news - Prudential is the first insurer in Malaysia to offer coverage for IVF pregnancies. Besides your baby, this comprehensive solution also protects you. 


What’s PRUmy child plus?

PRUmy child plus is a child protection solution that comes with PRUwith you (a regular premium investment-linked insurance plan) as its basic protection plan. You’ll be covered for Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) before the Policy Anniversary Date of age 70 or death of the Life Assured, whichever occurs first. 

What’s great about this plan is that you’re able to customise your plan by adding riders (optional coverage) according to your financial standing and protection needs. One rider that we’d recommend you to take is the prenatal rider, which is known as Infant Care Plus. 

It will protect both mother and foetus with coverage like Pregnancy Care Benefit that covers against possible pregnancy complications before birth, while Child Care Benefit would provide coverage from incubation to hospitalisation due to selected congenital conditions including neonatal jaundice as well as other congenital conditions up to age 5. Upon diagnosis of neonatal jaundice that requires phototherapy treatment, a lump sum of RM500 or RM1,000 (depending on the plan taken up) will be paid out.

Here’s an illustration to show how Infant Care Plus works under PRUmy child plus:

** Some of the other riders available include Critical Illness Riders, Medical Riders, Payor Riders, Accidental Riders and Saving/Investment Riders. 


Get 50% Additional Coverage for 3 Years for FREE

More good news! Prudential is currently having a promotion whereby you can get an additional 50% Critical Illness coverage for 3 years for FREE. Yup, you read that right. 

It means that within the 5-year benefit term, the insurance charges will only be deducted twice (upon inception) and the coverage for the first three years of the policy will be provided free of charge. On top of that, you’ll also get the option (in the 3rd policy year) to convert the additional 50% Critical Illness coverage to a permanent coverage with no questions asked, and it can be done seamlessly via your smartphones. 

SIDE NOTE: This promo is applicable to those who buy PRUwith you with the Essential Child Plus Critical Illness rider. Refer below to see how it works.

Plus point to those who have already purchased a PRUmy child plus policy before, you’ll have the benefit of ‘Easy and Simple Enrolment’ (EASE) for your next pregnancy coverage. Simply put, you know longer need to go through the full underwriting process. For more info about the product, head over to Prudential’s page here or contact your Prudential agent.

To wrap up this article, we’d like to remind you that while there are plenty of things to worry about, don’t forget to stop and smell the roses once in a while okay. All the best!

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