Pregnancy is a wondrous time filled with hopes, dreams, and love. It can also be a time of anxiety if complications interrupt all the positive vibes. Every woman needs to be aware of what problems can occur throughout those nine months. Just as important is to know how to deal with pregnancy complications including causes, symptoms, and care.
Start Pregnancy As Healthy As Possible
The best way to avoid complications during a pregnancy is to be as healthy as possible before conception. Maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy, avoid tobacco and overuse of alcohol. Preconception healthcare is the best way to be as healthy as you can before pregnancy. Then start prenatal care once you are pregnant. Seeing a board-certified OBGYN before, during, and after pregnancy will reduce your risk of complications.
Most complications are caused by pre-existing medical conditions or new ones caused by being pregnant.
Some common complications during pregnancy follow.
Hypertension: High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is defined as blood pressure equal to or greater than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic. It is caused by a narrowing of the arteries carrying blood to the heart. If a woman has high blood pressure before pregnancy, it will need to be monitored throughout the term.
When you’re pregnant, it can become more difficult for blood to reach the placenta. This reduced flow can affect the growth of the fetus, but at the same time the mother is at a greater risk for preterm labor.
Preeclampsia is persistent high blood pressure that develops during pregnancy. Symptoms include headaches, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and high levels of protein in the urine. These complications can be treated by monitoring at-home blood pressure and following your doctor’s orders. It usually goes away after birth but can put the mother at risk for hypertension in the future.
Diabetes: Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. If a woman has either type 1 or type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure at conception, she risks her child having birth defects, a stillborn baby, or a preterm baby. Any type of diabetes during pregnancy increases the risk of preeclampsia and cesarean delivery due to the baby being very large. Hormone levels make it difficult for your metabolism to keep blood sugar levels stable.
You can manage diabetes by monitoring your blood sugar level and following a doctor recommended nutritional plan and medications. Being physically active will also help.
If you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells, you feel weak and tired. This happens during pregnancy because you need more iron than normal. Your OBGYN will treat the underlying cause of the anemia and recommend you take folic acid and iron supplements.
The body of a pregnant woman is highly susceptible to infections.
Yeast infections are common and caused by increased estrogen in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Symptoms include an unpleasant odor plus itching and burning sensations.
Hepatitis virus A, B, or C are dangerous infections during pregnancy. They damage the liver and pose serious issues for both the mother and baby. They occur due to contact with the blood of someone infected, bodily fluids, needles used by someone infected, or eating food that had contact with an infected person.
Urinary tract infections can be in the bladder, urethra, kidneys, and ureters. These bacterial infections cause pain during urination, cramps, burning sensation, cloudy and smelly urine with fever, vomiting, back pain and nausea.
Get all vaccines prior to pregnancy and be vigilant about cleanliness to prevent infections.
Allow Brigham-Faulkner OB/GYN to Guide You Through Your Pregnancy
These are just some complications that can occur during pregnancy. Be sure to tell Brigham-Faulkner OB/GYN about every unusual symptom you may have. It might seem simple, but it could be something more serious.
Knowing you are under the care of a specialist will ease your mind and give you the confidence and reassurance you need.