Heartburn Early Pregnancy
Q: Being an unmarried male, I only have a vague idea of how pregnancy and
childbirth work. Since the WIP concerns both pregnancy and childbirth
as major plot elements, I have a few (just two for now) questions
1. In a low-tech world (like the typical fantasy world), absent magic,
how does a woman tell that she is pregnant? I am aware of the various
old superstitious ways like the rabbit and such. Are there any more
certain ways than that? How long does it take before a woman can be
2. The second question is about "dying in childbirth". I'm not
entirely certain, in a scientific sense, what women who "die in
childbirth" actually die of, so I'm wondering if the following
scenario is plausible. A woman with no history of recurrent health
problems seems healthy up until about a month before she's going to
give birth, and then she suddenly collapses. She recovers, mostly,
but over the next month she becomes weaker and weaker until it becomes
clear that there's a high probability she's not going to survive. The
birth goes fine and the baby is healthy, but then five or six days
after the birth, the mother dies.
Can anyone in the group help me please?
A:This COULD be gestational diabetes, I suppose--not uncommon. There's also pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy-related form of high blood pressure. There are various sorts of vitamin deficiency, calcium deficiency, etc. There's "spontaneous aortic separation"--if someone's got that they were born with a weak spot, and the increased blood volume of pregnancy pops that artery right in half. But then we're talking death in minutes. There's basic anemia, but she'd be feeling faint and tired a lot--if her heart simply couldn't hold on because of it and she suffered minor heat attacks, one a little while before the birth, one during--her heart might well just die on her within a few days after the birth. Same sort of pattern with minor strokes based on venal abnormalities present since birth, but no tired feeling beforehand with that (headaches possible but not certain). Bleeding into the uterus from a badly-placed new blood vessel could do it. There's ectopic pregnancy, but you'd be losing her at 4 or 5 months and not getting a baby out of it. And there's the one where the placenta is actually across the cervix--the baby then punches right through it, rupturing all those blood vessels--this was the most common reason for bleeding to death in pregnancy--but again, no symptoms beforehand. There's also death of one twin--if it was retained it is possible it could poison the mother's bloodstream but not the other baby's; rare, but does happen. Various forms of septicemia happen, and if contracted late enough would not necessarily have time to poison the baby. .
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