Common Disorders during Pregnancy – Anaemia, severe vomiting, high blood pressure and Toxaemias of pregnancy. Pregnancy is a unique experience for the mother. Like any normal individual with responsibilities, pregnancy put extra load on her systems and she may suffer from certain medical problems.
Various common disorders during pregnancy explained !
Anaemia in pregnant women
Believe it or not, on an average, total blood volume during pregnancy shoots up by about 45 per cent.
As a result of high dilution of the body blood, ordinary technique of blood examination will show anaemia (apparent) with haemoglobin level between 10 and 11 g/dl.
True, during pregnancy a woman saves about 25 mg of iron since she is no more losing blood in menstrual periods.
But then the foetus needs about 400 mg of iron, the placenta 150 mg and lactation 300 mg for the pregnancy and the first three months of lactation.
Thus, a pregnant women suffers from iron-deficiency if an extra amount of iron is not administered to her.
Such other problems as can accompany pregnancy (poor dietary intake, worm infestations, chronic infections like tuberculosis) usually further aggravate existing anaemia.
These factors may cause vitamin B and folic acid deficiency in addition, thereby introducing an element of megaloblastic anaemia.
Anaemia during pregnancy causes vague but widespread manifestations. The woman develops pallor of skin, nails and conjunctiva underlying the lids.
There is loss of appetite, giddiness and insomnia (sleeplessness). She gets tired easily and has a feeling of being unwell.
She may become increasingly conscious of heartbeat (palpitations) which becomes quite fast (tachycardia). Nails may become brittle and flattened (platynechia) or spoon-shaped with a definite concavity (koilonychias).
In advanced cases, she may begin to become breathless on little exertion. Swelling of feet and ankles occur in some anaemic women.
Red and swollen tongue, indigestion and difficulty in swallowing are seen in many a case.
Remember, anaemia can have an adverse effect not only on the mother but on the baby as well. If you neglect it, your baby runs the risk of being a low birthweight infant. And that is not a small risk.
If you are pregnant and anaemic as well, chances are you have not been taking your doctor’s advice seriously. Or, maybe you have not as yet had regular antenatal check-ups.
Report this to your doctor immediately. He will get your blood and stool (maybe some other things also) tested.
You must cooperate with your doctor in treating you anaemia. He would expect you to take a diet that is rich in iron.
But, you also need medicinal iron which he may like to give you as tablets or injection(s).
If your anaemia is quite significant and pregnancy is fairly advanced, the doctor may want to raise your haemoglobin through blood transfusion.
Though iron-deficiency plays a pivotal role in causation of nutritional anaemia during pregnancy, folic acid and vitamin B deficiencies may also contribute to it.
Folic acid needs during pregnancy is twice that of the non-pregnant women. The worst danger of folic acid deficiency is in the form of “neural tube defects” (NTDs) which means the defects of spinal cord in the growing foetus.
The neural tube defects occur in the very first four weeks following conception.
It is, therefore, advisable that women of child-bearing age drink plenty of orange juice, and eat enough of dried beans, soyabeans, raw spinach and whole-wheat bread. Refer home remedies for anaemia for more information.
Medicinal folic acid (available as tablets) may also be taken on doctor’s prescription.
Severe and obstinate vomiting during pregnancy
In some nervous and hypersensitive pregnant women, what begins as morning sickness becomes severe and persisting, occurring several times a day.
The vomit may contain blood. Too soon the woman stops accepting food and a little later even rejects water.
She becomes anorexic and constipated, has excessive thirst, dryness of the mouth and there is a fall in the amount of urine results. The blood pressure falls and the pulse becomes fast and weak.
Treatment of this problem, hyperemesis gravidarum, should be left to the doctor and his team. Hospitalisation is essential.
What the pregnant women must do to safeguard against the above-mentioned serious condition is to take adequate care of the morning sickness which may be a predecessor to hypermesis gravidarum.
A cup of light tea or a fruit drink together with sweet biscuits should be taken in a recumbent position.
She should sit up only after this drink and eat on walking up in the morning. During the day, she should take small amounts of carbohydrate-rich foods at frequent intervals, and avoid fats, fish, meat and soups.
High blood pressure (Hypertension)
Pregnancy-induced hypertension is a common problem. In known hypertensive women, including borderline cases, pregnancy may even flare up hypertension.
In some 6-8% women with hypertension (both pre-existing and pregnancy-induced), it may lead to preeclampsia (discussed latter) which can prove a hazard.
That is why obstetricians make it a point to monitor blood pressure all through pregnancy.
Refer home remedies for high blood pressure for further guidance.
Toxaemias of pregnancy
Pre-eclampsia is by far the commonest manifestation of toxaemias of pregnancy.
Its earliest signs are high blood pressure and puffiness of the eyes, gain in weight and swelling over ankles and feet.
Generally, swelling of the ankles is found spreading up the leg. Swelling, called oedema, may spread to other parts of the body.
In severe cases, even external genitals may become swollen. Examination of urine will show presence of albumin, a protein.
Such a woman may complain of malaise, lassitude, headache, visual disturbances, vomiting and abdominal pain.
Pregnant women who are regularly attending an antenatal clinic should find little difficulty in having pre-eclampsia diagnosed at an early stage. It usually occurs in the second half of pregnancy period.
As a part of its management, your doctor will advise you to have complete bed rest and to reduce your salt intake.
He will also prescribe a sedative, a diuretic and a hypotensive drug to get rid of the “water logging” and to bring down the blood pressure.
If you are overweight at the outset of pregnancy, you must reduce it. Also, do not let anaemia develop and see that your blood pressure is within normal range.
All this will help you to keep pre-eclampsia away.
Eclampsia includes all the manifestations of pre-eclampsia but in addition there are convulsions and she may go into coma also. It may occur during pregnancy, labour or after childbirth.
The disease is very, very serious and may prove fatal.
Immediate hospitalization is a must. Most good hospitals have special eclampsia rooms which have maximum quietness.
Chances of foetal death in eclamptic mothers are 25 per cent higher than in normal women. Also foetal growth retardation is a common observation.
The single most important contributory factor to the well-being of the newborn in this condition is a good antenatal care.
In its absence the progress of the disease remains unchecked, leading to a fatal outcome.