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Health problems every expectant mother has to watch out for during pregnancy

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan 6 Mins Read

Ashwin Dewan Ashwin Dewan


A woman's body undergoes a physical transformation during pregnancy. As a result, certain health issues may arise during this period that requires attention. Here are the ones to watch out for

Health problems every expectant mother has to watch out for during pregnancy

Pregnancy is a wonderful phase in every woman's life. Expectant mothers eagerly look forward to the day when they give birth and hold a baby in their hands. At the same time, every pregnancy comes with a risk of health problems. Pregnant women may face complications due to a pre-existing health issue or develop a new condition during pregnancy.

Let's face it. It is nothing short of scary to be diagnosed with a health problem during pregnancy. This may cause the expectant mother to worry not only about her baby's health but also hers. Some may even panic. But these feelings are completely normal!

And the complications are treatable!

Most common pregnancy-related health issues such as nausea, back pain, feeling faint, constipation, cramps, and fatigue do not have serious implications. However, it is advisable to watch out for other problems. Being aware of common health problems and their symptoms can go a long way in helping a pregnant woman get treatment at the earliest and in preventing any unnecessary complications.

Here are the key health problems during pregnancy to should watch out for:

Gestational Diabetes: Occurs when blood sugar rises to high levels during pregnancy. This is harmful to both the mother and the baby. One of the most significant risks associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is the baby may grow much larger than normal. This condition is called fetal macrosomia. According to Mayo Clinic, a baby suffering from this condition weighs more than 3.6 kilos.

During delivery, the baby's shoulders can get stuck due to the baby's large size leading to complications.

Symptoms: There are no outward signs or symptoms. Sometimes, the patient may experience extreme thirst, hunger, or fatigue.
Treatment: Following a healthy, nutritious diet and regular exercise can help. A certain percentage of women with GDM may need to take pills to control their blood sugar levels. Often, doctors screen for it between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. For mothers at high risk, doctors screen for GDM within the first trimester/before 24 weeks. For women suffering from GDM, there is a risk of both the mother and the baby developing type 2 diabetes later.

Preeclampsia: This is a pregnancy condition characterized by a sudden rise in blood pressure and swelling in pregnant women's legs, feet, and hands. It can prove life-threatening if not treated in time. In most cases, preeclampsia occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can also happen in women who have no history of high blood pressure.

Symptoms: Some symptoms of preeclampsia include swelling, protein in the urine, severe headaches, severe vomiting and nausea, blurry vision, and pain under the ribs.
Treatment: Preeclampsia is a health problem that goes away only after the birth of the child. In some cases, regular medical monitoring may help.  

Placenta Previa: During pregnancy, the placenta (an organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy) plays the vital role of providing the baby with oxygen and nutrients essential for proper growth and development. Placenta Previa occurs when the placenta starts to grow in the lowest part of the uterus and, in the process, covers the opening to the cervix (the opening to the birth canal), which may later lead to complications in delivery.

Symptoms: The main symptom is vaginal bleeding not accompanied by pain or cramps.
Treatment: Placenta Previa may result in bleeding in expectant mothers during pregnancy. If there is heavy bleeding, the mother may need to extend her stay in the hospital under medical supervision. Often, women suffering from this health problem will require a C-section to ensure safe delivery.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Morning sickness characterized by nausea and vomiting is normal during pregnancy. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is when morning sickness is extreme – severe and persistent nausea and vomiting. In most cases, women suffering from this health problem suffer from rapid and significant weight loss and need to be hospitalized.

Symptoms: Weight loss, severe nausea, vomiting, dehydration and fainting.
Treatment: Eating dry, bland floods and fruits daily is the first line of treatment for this health problem. Other women may need to take medication to help with the symptoms, especially nausea. Severe cases may require hospitalization to receive nutrients and fluids via an intravenous (IV) line.

Ectopic pregnancy:  This health problem is caused when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. A fallopian tube is one of two long tubes whose primary function is to carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.

Symptoms: This medical health problem is associated with recurring pain in the abdomen, shoulder pain, vaginal bleeding and feeling dizzy or faint.
Treatment: Since the eggs cannot develop outside the uterus, surgery is recommended in most cases.

Fetal problems: Sometimes, health problems during pregnancy may arise not in the mother but the baby. The unborn baby may have health issues such as poor growth or heart conditions.

Symptoms: When it comes to health problems with the baby, symptoms are mostly – the baby moves less than normal, and the baby is smaller than normal for gestational age.
Treatment: In most cases, the treatment offered depends on the tests done to monitor the baby's health.

Preterm Labor: This occurs when the mother goes into labor before the full term of pregnancy, which may cause complications for the infant.

It has been seen that babies and infants grow normally if they are born after the full term (39 or 40 weeks) of pregnancy. This is because the baby's major organs, such as the lungs, liver, and brain, undergo a critical period of growth between 37 and 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Symptoms: Increase vaginal discharge, pelvic pressure and cramping, back pain radiating to the abdomen, and contractions.
Treatment: In most cases, medicines that can help stop labor from progressing are given with intensive bed rest

Apart from the above-mentioned health conditions, there are some common problems that deserve a look

Anemia: Is a condition when there is a low number of healthy red blood cells

Symptoms: Weakness in the body, feeling faint and shortness of breath

Treatment: Iron and folic acid supplements are recommended for pregnancy-related anemia

Constipation: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can result in constipation

Symptoms: Stools are dry, hard, and lumpy and difficult to pass, stomach cramps,  nausea

Treatment: A diet high in fiber, regular exercise, plenty of water

Back pain: Common during pregnancy, especially in the early stages

Symptoms: Regular bouts of back pain accompanied by a feeling of weakness

Treatment: Proper rest, avoid lifting heavy objects, warm bath and massage, wearing flat shoes to distribute weight evenly

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