Pregnancy: What Could go Wrong?

Some Pregnancy-Related Health Issues

Every woman hopes for a healthy, problem-free pregnancy but some medical conditions can be brought on by pregnancy. Most women have heard about morning sickness before they become pregnant but some are unaware of other conditions. It is important to learn about the various pregnancy-related health issues in order to be prepared for anything that may come.

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Although most women do experience some nausea during the first and third trimesters, it is important to discuss these problems with your obstetrician. Your doctor will document your weight carefully to make sure your unborn baby is not being denied nutrition. It is very rare for women to experience such severe nausea and vomiting that she actually loses weight at any point during the pregnancy. If you notice that certain foods, scents or activities increase your nausea, do your best to eliminate them. Morning sickness can occur at any time of day or even all day long. Some women find relief from morning sickness by eating saltine crackers before getting out of bed in the morning.

The chemicals in many drugs and alcohol are transferred to your baby through the placenta. Anything that gets into your blood supply will get into the blood supply of an unborn baby because the placenta is extremely vascular. Your baby depends on you for nutrients and oxygen so stay away from drugs and alcohol while pregnant. Their use could lead to a premature birth, low birth weight, addiction at birth and other serious complications. At your first appointment, inform your obstetrician about any prescription medications your are taking. Some may have a harmful or unknown effect on your baby. Your doctor can probably prescribe a safer medication for you to take during the pregnancy.

Hypertension is the most common medical complication associated with pregnancy so your doctor or nurse will check your blood pressure at every visit. Gestational hypertension can lead to a more serious complication known as preeclampsia. Although most women who develop preeclampsia eventually delivery healthy babies, the condition can be dangerous if left untreated. The major problems associated with preeclampsia are preterm birth, respiratory immaturity and maternal death. Your doctor will also order a fasting blood glucose test to monitor your blood sugar levels. Gestational diabetes is the development of high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. This condition can be relieved by decreasing sugar intake. Complications of gestational diabetes can include large infant size leading to problems with delivery, increased risk of stillbirth and the development of diabetes later in life.

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During the beginning of your pregnancy, you may experience some vaginal spotting. This is most likely the placenta attaching to the uterus. Any heavy bleeding or bleeding during the second or third trimester should be reported to your obstetrician as soon as possible. Heavy bleeding during the first trimester may indicate miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or simple vaginal trauma from sexual intercourse. The main reasons for bleeding during the later stages of pregnancy include miscarriage, a low-lying placenta or preterm labor and require immediate medical attention. Heavy and late pregnancy bleeding is considered a medical emergency.

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Pregnancy is rarely problem-free but being aware of the possible complications can help you deal with some while eliminating the risk of others. It is important to take your prenatal vitamins, attend all your doctor appointments and report any complications immediately. Eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet and continue to exercise if your doctor approves.