5 Health Conditions that affect Pregnancy

Pregnant women used to be almost always young and healthy and rarely suffer of any comorbidities but with the social changes and medical advancement women are now starting the journey of pregnancy at an older age and some with chronic diseases. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and cancer…etc can complicate pregnancy. Therefore, in this article we will discuss the most common conditions and how to manage them in pregnancy.

1. Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes is a medical condition which is characterized with elevated blood sugar causing many complications. It is important to get diabetes under control before becoming pregnant. Pregnancy in women with diabetes is considered high-risk. Gestational diabetes is diabetes that first arises during pregnancy. If diabetes is not properly controlled during pregnancy, there is an increased chance of miscarriage, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and birth defects. However, with scrupulous medical guidance and self-care during pregnancy, these complications can be greatly reduced.

2. Hypertension

Hypertension is a medical condition characterized with elevated blood pressure which causes harmful effects on many organs. Women with hypertension who are planning to get pregnant need to be seen by their physician before pregnancy, because some antihypertensive medicines are harmful to the baby. Hypertensive women in pregnancy are at risk of developing pre-eclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction and premature separation of placenta. Monitoring with frequent ultrasounds for growth and blood supply to the fetus is important to reduce the risk of hypertension complications. Taking aspirin daily is also used to reduce the risk of complications.

3. Asthma

Asthma is a chronic medical condition that is marked by spasm in the bronchi causing difficulty breathing. Some pregnant women find their asthma symptoms improve while pregnant but unfortunately women with severe asthma find that their symptoms get worse. When a pregnant mother has trouble breathing, her unborn baby has problems receiving all the oxygen he needs. Severe asthma can increase the risk of certain complications with the baby. The risks of these complications can be reduced if asthma is well controlled. The aim of treatment in general and specifically in pregnancy is to avoid attacks as much as possible. Most asthma medications are safe during pregnancy. Make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you find out you are pregnant and stay on the prescribed medications throughout pregnancy.

4. Cancer

Cancer is a disease where a cell type grows out of control, forming a tumor that can spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in pregnancy. Cancer by itself or the surgery related to cancer are not known to affect the baby. Chemotherapy can cause birth defects, and therefore its use may be delayed until after the baby is old enough to be delivered.

5. Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a group of neurological conditions characterized by recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Women with epilepsy who are planning to get pregnant need to be seen by their physician before pregnancy because some anti seizure medicines are harmful to the baby. Seizures in pregnancy are harmful to both mother and baby and need to be avoided. The dosage of medication might need to be changed during pregnancy due to the physiological changes that happen in the pregnant women body. Women with epilepsy need to know that being seizure free on medication is safer than having seizures.   Other chronic illnesses that can affect pregnancy include phenylketonuria, sickle cell anemia, systemic lupus erythematosus, thalassemia, and thyroid problems. Again, it is important to get these conditions under control before becoming pregnant

 

Source: 360 Moms

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