Pregnancy is a difficult time in women’s lives. Without proper prenatal care, women can develop a variety of complications during and after pregnancy and childbirth. Some of these complications may occur due to pregnancy, while others may already exist prior.
Regular trips to the doctor help detect and treat these conditions early on. They also ensure a smooth-sailing pregnancy and childbirth. Some of the pregnancy health issues to watch out for include the ones below.
Obesity and Weight Gain
Obesity, a common condition among women in the United States, comes with multiple pregnancy risks.
Preeclampsia is described as a sudden increase in blood pressure and signs of organ damage during pregnancy. During this stage, which often happens after the 20th week, doctors often note the presence of protein in the urine to indicate the condition.
When left untreated, preeclampsia can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications for both the mother and baby.
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus
This occurs when blood sugar levels rise higher than usual during pregnancy. Having diabetes at this stage can increase the baby’s risk of acquiring macrosomia, a condition where the baby’s head is too large for the mother’s pelvis.
Pregnant women with these conditions are often advised to control their blood sugar and blood pressure levels through a healthy diet and regular exercise. They are advised to contact their doctor immediately if they experience severe headaches, severe abdominal pain, blurred vision, and shortness of breath.
Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
Pregnant women can acquire this infection through sexual contact with another person with a particular bacteria or virus.
STIs can cause significant complications throughout pregnancy, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and congenital infections among infants.
This boosts the importance of getting proper perinatal treatment during such a fragile stage. During prenatal visits, doctors often advise women to get tested for STIs to get early treatment.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) and Yeast Infections
Both infections often cause similar symptoms, but different issues cause them. Therefore, they each need different treatments. BV develops from an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina, while a yeast infection is due to Candida fungus.
While these infections don’t directly threaten the baby’s life, they can be uncomfortable to manage during pregnancy and have been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight.
Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to treat BV. For yeast infection, they usually prescribe vaginal creams and suppositories like boric acid vegan suppositories. Women should consult their doctors to know the right treatment for them.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
UTI occurs when there are bacteria in the urinary tract. Women with UTI often experience pain or a burning sensation when urinating, fever or tiredness, and cloudy or reddish urine. While anyone can get UTI, they are most common among pregnant women.
UTI is also an alarming condition during pregnancy, as it may lead to preterm labor and low birth weight.
Iron Deficiency Anemia
Pregnant women need more iron than usual to support their baby’s development inside the womb. Often, those who are diagnosed with anemia have low red blood cell or hemoglobin count. Symptoms may include looking pale, feeling faint, feeling weak, or having difficulty breathing.
This means there is not enough iron that allows blood to transport oxygen throughout the body and to the unborn baby. This puts the baby at risk of low birth weight or premature birth.
To prevent this, pregnant women are often prescribed prenatal vitamins containing iron. During pregnancy, a woman is expected to consume around 27 milligrams of iron per day. Of course, women should take this on top of a healthy iron-rich diet.
Depression and Anxiety
Depression during pregnancy is more than simply having the “baby blues.” They can affect the pregnant mother’s ability to take care of herself and her unborn baby. When ignored, depression and anxiety can be a danger to one’s life.
Pregnant women experiencing these mental health conditions are advised to seek professional help. Proper treatment, talking to other moms in the same spot, and making time for self-care activities can reduce their symptoms.
According to the World Health Organization, skilled care before, during, and after pregnancy and childbirth can help save the lives of women and their newborn children. Pregnant women should have easy access to professional prenatal care and treatment and ample moral support from family and peers.