6 Common Diseases during Pregnancy
Any pregnancy can have complications. There are diseases that can emerge during the process. To prevent these, regular doctor’s visits can save the lives of both mother and baby.
The changes that a woman’s body undergoes while nourishing the life of another human being also expose her to certain common diseases during pregnancy. These problems usually are resolved after the birth of the baby.
While many women suffer from these common problems during pregnancy, many also do not. Some diseases are more prevalent than others. Some are benign, while others are more complex and can affect the development of the pregnancy and the baby itself.
What are some common diseases during pregnancy?
Adequate prenatal care is the one thing that will guarantee that none of these diseases put the life of the baby or the mother at risk. It’s very important to be aware of the first symptoms, should they appear.
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AnemiaThe most common issue during pregnancy is caused by an iron deficiency in the bloodstream.
During pregnancy, a women’s circulation increases as oxygenated blood is carried to the baby. Iron binds to the red blood cells in order to transport oxygen. A low iron intake causes the mother to become tired, look pale, and have trouble breathing. In severe cases, low iron can affect the growth of the baby.
Doctors will typically prescribe iron supplements (either oral or intravenous) and take multiple measurements of iron levels throughout the pregnancy. In more severe cases, a blood transfusion may be required. Good nutrition is essential to prevent anemia.
Increased blood flow during the first trimester of pregnancy and levels of progesterone can cause gingivitis in pregnant women. This is worsened when nausea in the mornings makes it difficult to properly brush their teeth.
Hormones also alter the pH of saliva, further complicating this situation. Visits to the dentist during the first and third trimesters for cleanings are recommended.
Some natural treatments to prevent gingivitis are also good ideas, such as brushing with baking soda and applying honey and borax to the gums to protect oral health. If a woman can preserve her oral hygiene during pregnancy, the gingivitis should disappear after she gives birth.
Urinary tract infectionsHormonal changes and the shift in pelvic structure that pregnancy causes compromise a woman’s natural defenses against bacteria that colonize the urethra. This results in urinary tract infections, another common disease during pregnancy.
Some of most common symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Urine with a bad smell or cloudy appearance
- The feeling that the bladder isn’t completely empty
- Pain in the lower abdomen and back
- Presence of blood in the urine
In some cases, a woman won’t have any symptoms, which is dangerous because it could lead to a miscarriage or premature birth. A doctor will usually recommend two urine tests during pregnancy.
There are natural treatments for this condition, but you should always be cautious when trying herbal solutions.
If the infections are frequent and don’t respond to treatment, a doctor will order a urine culture to determine what the best antibiotic options are for both the mother and the baby.
The bodily and hormonal changes that often lead to urinary tract infections during pregnancy can also trigger vaginal infections.
The woman may have vaginal discharge that is abundant, foul-smelling, and itchy. Another symptom could be pain or burning during sex.
A doctor will usually determine the treatment for these symptoms.
In some cases, a culture will be needed to determine if the infection is due to bacteria, fungi, parasites, or a combination of the above. Vaginal suppositories are usually recommended for treatment to avoid exposing the baby to medications.
Gestational diabetesHormonal changes are also responsible for altering a woman’s blood sugar levels during pregnancy. If there is a genetic disposition for diabetes, it can appear during pregnancy and disappear after birth.
Aside from hunger, thirst, and frequent urination, a pregnant woman will experience considerable weight gain and growth in the size of the baby (fetal macrosomia). There can also be excess amniotic fluid present (polyhydramnios).
These complications can lead to the death of the baby due to respiratory problems post-delivery. The future child could also develop diabetes or suffer from obesity. For these reasons, gestational diabetes cannot be taken lightly.
A doctor will order a blood sugar test and a glucose tolerance curve. If positive results appear, the situation must be controlled by a balanced diet. If changes in diet aren’t enough, the doctor will prescribe daily injections of insulin.
Increased blood pressure during the second half of pregnancy can indicate pre-eclampsia. This is a common but higher risk disease during pregnancy, and is the second most common cause of death among pregnant women. Only adequate medical care can avoid the complications associated with it.
A woman with this condition may not have major symptoms. Only regular blood pressure checks will detect it.
As the condition progresses, she will have fluid retention, headaches, ringing in the ears, trouble with her vision, stomach pain, and seizures.
If blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, a urine test will be ordered to determine the presence of proteins. This confirms whether or not it is pre-eclampsia. If so, a doctor will typically induce labor to avoid risking the lives of both the baby and the mother by continuing the pregnancy any longer.