Pregnancy is a serious life event that can, in rare instances, result in health complications for the mother or child. It is crucial to keep an open dialogue with your doctor throughout pregnancy and report any symptoms that may alarm you. Here are some complications that may arise during pregnancy.
Anemia during pregnancy occurs when the mother has a lower than normal count of red blood cells resulting from a vitamin deficiency. This can lead to shortness of breath and overwhelming tiredness. If you are pregnant, be sure to get enough iron, vitamin B12 and folic acid from diet or supplements.
Changes in the body during pregnancy make women more susceptible to severe illness from the flu and can result in hospitalization. The flu can also lead to health problems for the child including premature birth. Flu shots are considered safe during pregnancy and are crucial for avoiding influenza.
Depression can occur during or after pregnancy (postpartum) and is often characterized by changes of appetite and feelings of helplessness, sadness and irritability. A mother’s depression can affect her child’s development and should be be brought to the attention of her doctor as soon as possible.
Obesity and weight gain
Weight gain is to be expected during pregnancy, however 70 percent of women gain more weight than is recommended. Additionally, almost 60 percent of women enter pregnancy above a normal weight. Obesity can increase the risk of pregnancy complications including gestational diabetes and infection.
Gestational diabetes (GD) occurs when the body cannot effectively process sugars leading to high blood glucose levels. While GD usually resolves after birth, prolonged high blood sugar can lead to preeclampsia and other complications. A change in diet as directed by your doctor can help control GD.
High blood pressure
Spikes in blood pressure are common during pregnancy, however chronic high blood pressure (HBP) can lead to complications. HBP can make it hard for blood, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the placenta putting the woman and her child at risk. Talk to your doctor about regular blood pressure checkups.
Hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) is characterized by severe and persistent nausea and vomiting. If unchecked, HG can lead to dehydration and nutrient deficiency which can harm the developing child. A change in diet is often the first course of action, however hospitalization may be required.
Preeclampsia is a disorder of high blood pressure that occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia may lead to seizure and coma, among other serious health complications and affected women will need to be monitored very closely by their doctors. The only known cure for preeclampsia is delivery.
Pregnant women are told to avoid cat litter because of the risk of catching toxoplasmosis. The infection is caused by a parasite found in cat feces, soil, and raw meat. Toxoplasmosis infection can cause severe complications in unborn children such as hearing loss, blindness and mental disability.
Pregnancy and arthritis
Arthritis symptoms, especially rheumatoid arthritis (RA), often improve over the course of pregnancy. However, some arthritis medication shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy and pregnant women with RA have a higher chance of developing anemia.
Pregnancy and multiple sclerosis (MS)
Like arthritis, those with multiple sclerosis (MS) often experience symptom improvement over the course of their pregnancy. However, fatigue, muscle weakness, and problems with coordination may increase the chance of falls. Lack of mobility may also increase the risk for urinary tract infections.
Pregnancy and Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) affects one in five pregnant women, however no RLS drugs are approved for use during pregnancy. While it is likely to subside after delivery, RLS can severely impact sleep quality in pregnant women leading to stress and depressed mood. RLS may also be a symptom of anemia.
Pregnancy and asthma
Asthma affects around 8 percent of women in their childbearing years and, while well-controlled asthma poses little risk to mother or child, uncontrolled asthma can lead to serious complications such as high blood pressure, premature delivery, low birth weight and, in some cases, still birth.
Nutrition for pregnancy
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best things a pregnant woman can do to ensure a safe and healthy development. Nutritional deficiencies can lead to a host of problems such as anemia and doctors typically recommend taking prenatal vitamins to help avoid developmental complications.
Source: Daily Rx