Most common complications during pregnancy include gestational Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus, Malaria, disorders of the urinary tract, intestinal parasitic infestations, heart disease, high blood volume, varicose veins.
The most common complications during pregnancy explained !
Gestational diabetes during pregnancy
One in 20 pregnant women may develop what is termed “gestational diabetes” during confinement.
It can be controlled by consuming high protein, low carbohydrate diet.
In other words, the recommended foodstuffs are soyabean or fish, egg and lean meat with restriction of fruit juices, bread and legumes. Some may need insulin as well.
Left untreated, even gestational diabetes may cause serious problems to the growing foetus in the form of a heavy baby weighing over four kg with large deposits of the body fat.
Such a baby is difficult to deliver by the normal process. There is also a risk of premature delivery and stillbirth, especially if the gestational diabetes is severe enough to need insulin for its control.
Majority of the pregnant mothers with gestational diabetes become all right by six weeks after delivery. Only a small proportion may develop adult-onset diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus in pregnant women
In half or even more of the pregnant women with diabetes the disease is known to be present before pregnancy occurs. The woman must apprise her doctor with this information.
Even if she is not aware of it, she should report to him such manifestations as increased thirst, greater frequency of micturition (urination), increased appetite or itching in the region of the vulva.
Remember, diabetics are more prone to develop toxaemias of pregnancy.
Management of pregnancy complicated with diabetes is best done by an obstetrician in collaboration with a physician.
Foetus of such a woman runs the risk of dying anytime during pregnancy. This risk is greater during the last month. The baby is likely to be larger and heavier than an average born at full term.
Malaria during pregnancy
High-swinging fever as a result of malaria can complicate pregnancy. Abortion, premature labour and foetal death may occur.
The mother’s health also deteriorates. In malaria, especially when it has caused severe anaemia also, complications in childbirth occur. Anaemia and poor material resistance predisposes to superadded infections.
If your pregnancy has somehow been complicated by malaria, do cooperate with your doctor in curing malaria.
Disorders of urinary tract in mothers-to-be
Cystitis is a bacterial infection of the urinary bladder. Painful micturition (dysuria), episodes of retention of urine and fever should arouse suspicion about the infection.
Your doctor will get the diagnosis confirmed by the presence of red blood cells, pus cells and bacteria (the last-named are grown in culture discs).
He will prescribe chemotherapeutic drug(s) to get rid of the infection. Don’t forget to take plenty of fluids during treatment.
Acute phelonephritis, in 90 per cent of the instances, shows an infection caused by, a bacteria known to occur in about 2 per cent of the pregnant women.
The usual route of infection is from the bladder and uterus to the kidneys.
High fever with chills and rigors, nausea, vomiting, low backache (usually at the junction of the spine with the lowermost rib) should arouse suspicion of this disease, particularly if the onset has been abrupt.
Difficult micturition and passing of little blood through urine may occur. Urine contains pus cells. Urine culture shows growth of the causative bacteria and helps in deciding about the chemotherapeutic agent.
Your doctor will prescribe drugs as soon as he is convinced of the diagnosis on urine examination.
Later, chemotherapeutic agent may have to be changed if suggested by the culture-sensitivity report on urine. Take adequate bed rest during the acute phase.
As a general rule, pyelonephritis during pregnancy must not be regarded as cured unless and until repeated urine examinations reveal that urine is normal.
Inadequate treatment may cause chronic pyelonephritis and renal failure in due course.
In a mild case of chronic pyelonephritis, the patient needs to be hospitalized. Incidence of intra-uterine death is 50 per cent. Those born alive are smaller in size.
Many authorities advocate termination of pregnancy whereas others favour caesarean section at the 38th week.
Intestinal parasitic infestations in pregnant women
Intestinal parasitic infestation is a leading cause of ill-health. When one or more of such parasites complicate a pregnancy, it becomes worse.
Common parasites infesting Indian women are Entamoeba histolytica, Girardia lambia, H. nana (Dwarf tapeworm), hookworm, roundworm and threadworm.
The worst enemy of a pregnant woman is, however, hookworm. A large number of hookworms attach themselves firmly to the upper intestinal mucose, sucking blood.
Appetite of an infested woman gets markedly decreased. The patient becomes lethargic and apathetic. Vague abdominal pain and palpitation are common. Ankle swelling (oedema) an breathlessness may occur.
Your doctor would go for one or more stool examinations to confirm the presence of hookworm. Blood and sometimes bone-marrow may also be tested.
Hookworm disease makes prognosis for the child as well as mother unfavourable. Remember, the management of hookworm disease does not end with the administration of an anti-hookworm drug.
You must follow the doctor’s instructions regarding treatment of accompanying anaemia. If anaemia is mild to moderate, oral iron tablets will do.
If it is severe, he may like to give you intravenous or intramuscular iron injections. At times it may become necessary to give a blood transfusion or two to raise haemoglobin speedily.
Heart disease during pregnancy
About one in a hundred pregnant women suffer from one or another heart disease.
Most of such diseases have rheumatic origin, monopoly being that of mitral stenosis. The next group is congenital heart disease.
Every woman with a known heart disease must consult her doctor before rushing into pregnancy.
Later, she should remain under strict antenatal care. What causes worst difficulties in such cases is the risk of heart failure.
If heart problem becomes acute, immediate hospitalization, irrespective of the stage of pregnancy is recommended. It is a practice on the part of obstetricians to treat such cases in consultation with a physician or a cardiologist.
It is a common experience that complete bed rest, a few weeks before the expected date of delivery, goes a long way in ensuring relatively safe delivery at the time of labour.
In most cases, normal vaginal delivery is considered the best.
High blood volume during pregnancy
An important development during pregnancy is the increase in blood volume to provide for the needs of the growing foetus, leading to some undesirable effects.
Bleeding from gums on brushing is another outcome of increased blood volume during pregnancy.
If you are otherwise healthy, it need not bother you. Moreover, it shouldn’t become a bottleneck in your maintaining orodental hygiene.
Varicose veins in pregnant women
A common observation during the later months of pregnancy is the development of prominent, enlarged and tortuous veins which protrude out of the skin.
The varicose veins are usually seen over the legs. Vulva, rectum, anus and vagina are the other sites.
Heredity is said to play a significant role in the development of varicosity. What seems a striking observation is that most of the women who develop it are the ones who stand or sit, for long period of time
Among various causes of varicosity are rise in total amount of blood and greater intra-abdominal pressure during pregnancy.
To safeguard against varicosity, you should avoid standing for long hours during pregnancy. Try to sit with feet propped up every now and then. Lying down with feet raised also helps.
Take good deal of leafy vegetables and fruits. Taking warm baths and avoiding straining when using the toilet also helps.