Discuss with your doctor about health problems you now have or have had in the recent past. The discussion should also include treatments you are receiving for these health problems. Your doctor knows what medicines are good or harmful if taken during your pregnancy. He/she may change the way your health problems are managed. It is very important to manage and control these health conditions before pregnancy begins. If your health problems are under control, you are likely to have a normal, healthy pregnancy and baby.
12 Health Conditions That Can Affect Your Pregnancy
1. Epilepsy and other seizure disorders: Seizures during pregnancy can affect the fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. It is very complicated to manage epilepsy and seizure disorders during pregnancy. Medicines used to control seizures may cause birth defects. But, in most cases, using medicines poses less risk to the health of the mother and the baby than stopping the medicine.
2. Migraine: Some commonly used medicines to treat headaches should not be used during pregnancy. Your doctor can find ways to relieve headaches without using some medicines that can affect your pregnancy. Migraine symptoms actually tend to improve during pregnancy and some women may not have migraine attacks at all.
3. Thyroid diseases: Both hyperthyroid (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroid (underactive thyroid) are harmful to the mother and the baby, if uncontrolled. Uncontrolled hyperthyroid can cause heart failure, poor weight gain, and other problems in the fetus. Uncontrolled hypothyroid is harmful to the mother’s health and can cause birth defects to the baby.
4. High blood pressure: Chronic (long-term) high blood pressure puts a pregnant woman and her baby at risk for complicated health problems. High blood pressure increases the risk of preeclampsia and placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus). It can also increase the likelihood of preterm birth and low birth weight.
5. Asthma: Uncontrolled or poorly controlled asthma can cause many health problems to the mother and baby. It may increase the risk of preeclampsia, poor weight gain in the fetus, preterm birth, cesarean birth, and other complications. Pregnant women should not stop using asthma medicine.
6. Diabetes: Diabetes should be managed and controlled at least three to six months before trying to get pregnant. A high blood glucose (sugar) level during pregnancy is harmful to the fetus. It also worsens a woman’s long-term diabetes complications.
7. Uterine fibroids: Uterine fibroids are fairly common and may not require treatment if they don’t cause symptoms. If a fibroid is big, it may block the birth canal. In such cases, cesarean delivery may be needed. Rarely, uterine fibroids can cause miscarriage, preterm, or breech birth.
8. Sexually transmitted infections: Some STIs also can be passed from mother to baby during pregnancy or delivery. Some STIs can cause early labor and infection in the uterus after birth. STIs can cause infections, stillbirth, low birth weight, brain damage, blindness, deafness, or liver problems to the baby.
9. HIV and AIDS: HIV can be passed from the mother to the baby during pregnancy or delivery. This risk can be reduced to less than 1% if the pregnant woman takes certain HIV medicines during pregnancy. If you get treatment and control HIV before becoming pregnant, your baby will be protected from HIV.
10. Overweight and Obesity: The latest research suggests that the heavier a woman before becoming pregnant, the greater her risk of several pregnancy complications. The pregnancy complications that can occur include preeclampsia and preterm delivery. If you are overweight and obese, it is important to lose weight before pregnancy to have a healthy pregnancy.
11. Eating disorders: If you have any eating disorder, it may worsen due to body changes during pregnancy. Eating disorders are associated with several pregnancy complications, including birth defects and premature birth. You are more likely to have postpartum depression if you have any eating disorder.
12. Depression: If you have depression before pregnancy, it should be treated and controlled. Uncontrolled depression is a big risk factor for postpartum depression. If your depression persists during pregnancy, it will be difficult for you to care for herself and your baby.