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8 common health problems during pregnancy you should know about

Find out what the most common pregnancy complications are, the diseases that are related to them and what you can do to avoid them.

Dra. Reina Lamardo
Friday, 22 November, 2013

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Get to know some of the most common problems of pregnancy that can compromise the health of both mother and baby.

Common problems in pregnancy

1. Miscarriage

Between 10% and 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage (pregnancy loss during the first 20 weeks). It usually occurs before the 12th week and it is associated with chromosomal abnormalities in the fertilized egg that keep the embryo from developing. In this case, if vaginal spotting or bleeding occurs during the first three months of pregnancy, consult your doctor immediately.

2. Potential preterm labor

This happens when there is a risk of having a baby prematurely, i.e., before the 37th week of pregnancy. If you feel strong contractions, menstrual cramps or back pain, you should go and see your doctor. She/he may recommend that you rest and prescribe medications to help sustain the pregnancy or to help the baby’s lungs mature.

3. Anemia

Pregnant women often feel tired and fatigued, symptoms that may be related to anemia (red blood cells count below normal). If this is your case, your doctor will perform tests to determine the cause and its treatment. Anemia is often a consequence of iron deficiency and people often respond well to medical treatment with iron and folic acid supplements, along with a proper diet.

4. Urinary tract infections (UTI)

Urinary tract infections are usually bacterial and can be asymptomatic or occur with symptoms such as pain and/or burning sensation when you urinate, increased urinary frequency, fever, pressure in the lower abdomen, and dark urine with a strong odor. If you have any of these symptoms you should consult your doctor who will order a urine test to determine the diagnosis and the treatment.

5. Hypertension

If you suffer from hypertension before or during pregnancy, you could suffer complications such as preeclampsia, placental abruption, preterm delivery, intrauterine growth problems (which would imply a baby with low birth weight). It is important that you control your blood pressure and talk to your doctor about it, so you can keep your blood pressure within normal levels before, during and after pregnancy.

6. Gestational diabetes (GD)

Gestational diabetes is diabetes that occurs during pregnancy; it can cause complications if it’s not controlled, for example, preeclampsia, preterm delivery, large children for their gestational age (making a cesarean delivery necessary), newborns with hypoglycemia during the first 48 hours of being born, as well as having breathing problems and jaundice. It is important to maintain adequate levels of blood glucose monitored by the physician. She/he will determine the diet plan and proper treatment.

7. Obesity

If you are obese before pregnancy, the risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth and cesarean delivery will be higher. In addition, it has been confirmed that overweight and obese women who lose weight before pregnancy can have healthier pregnancies.

8. Depression

Depression may occur before, during and after pregnancy. Symptoms of depression include intense sadness, irritability, changes in appetite, a desire to harm yourself or the baby (which can affect the growth and development of the baby). It is vital to treat depression.

Sources: CDC, American Pregnancy, Baby Center.
Continue reading: Want to prevent varicose veins during pregnancy? We tell you how to achieve it!

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