Watch Out For These: 6 Pregnancy Health Risks
Most pregnancies are unremarkable and we’re not saying they’re not special, we’re saying that most of the time nothing out of the ordinary happens. Pregnancy however, because of all the changes happening in your body, does put you at risk for some conditions.
Here are some of the most common risk factors and problems you should look out for during your pregnancy:
- Rh Negative Disease
Rh negative disease is one of the most common causes of hemolytic disease of the newborn (HDN). It usually happens on second and consecutive pregnancies of an Rh negative woman whose partner is Rh negative resulting to Rh negative children. First pregnancies will typically not present any problems because the mother has yet to be exposed to the Rh negative blood of the child and has yet to develop anti-bodies against it.
Subsequent pregnancies however are more likely to be more dangerous because the mother has been exposed Rh negative blood and will have been able to develop anti-bodies against it. This results to anemia and reticulocytosis in mild cases or stillbirth in severe cases.
Preeclampsia happens in 5% of pregnant women, especially during the last few weeks before labor. The condition causes blood vessels to constrict which results in high blood pressure and reduced blood flow.
A prolonged lack of blood supply to any of the mother’s organs, especially to the uterus, could prove fatal to both mother and child.
Preeclampsia poses more risks if the mother develops it early on in the pregnancy, but the development of the condition later on in the pregnancy becomes more manageable as her due date nears. The condition can cause premature birth, hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count.
This has to be one of the most devastating things that can happen to an expectant mother. The trauma is immeasurable for a woman who is a mother-to-be and then suddenly tragedy strikes.
Unfortunately about 10% to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage with 80% of those cases happening before week 12. During the first trimester miscarriages are most often caused by chromosomal abnormalities that prevent the embryo from developing. Vaginal spotting and bleeding are one of the most common symptoms of miscarriage, although it’s completely normal to suffer from spotting even in a normal pregnancy. If you suspect anything is wrong, contact your healthcare provider right away.
- Low Amniotic Fluid
Amniotic fluid is important for several reasons. It provides warmth for the baby and actually provides enough lubrication to prevent the baby’s body parts from growing together (which can apparently happen because of how fast the baby is developing). The amniotic fluid also functions as a shock absorber by distributing force that may push on the mother’s uterus. It also provides lubrication to allow the baby to move around and use his muscles. Four percent of women suffer from low amniotic fluid, also known as oligohydramnios, usually on their last trimester.
Because of the consequences of oligohydramnios a mother who suffers from it should be monitored closely.
- Gestational Diabetes
Pregnancy hormones do weird things to your body including making your cells resistant to insulin until your body can no longer keep up and your blood glucose levels rise – this temporary condition is called gestational diabetes.
Gestational diabetes is a serious condition that happens to anywhere between 2% to 10% of expectant mothers in the U.S. This is why expectant mothers should be routinely screened for glucose levels, especially between the 24th and 28th week of pregnancy. The increased levels of glucose in your blood could enter your baby’s blood, making your baby bigger than he/she should be. This could lead to a c-section or complications during delivery.
- Premature Labor and Birth
At 37 weeks or more, a pregnancy is considered full-term. Most women will give birth anywhere between the 38th and 42nd week of pregnancy. When your cervix begins to open up and thin out before the 37th week, and contractions start becoming regular you could be experiencing pre-term labor. If your baby is delivered before the 37th week, he/she is considered premature and will be more at risk for mortality and health problems.