Pregnancy is an extremely wonderful time in your life and you want to make it perfect and have a beautiful baby. But sometimes things don’t pan out the way we expect, so you need to be prepared even for the unexpected during pregnancy.
Which different types of diseases are seen during pregnancy?
A detailed description of various diseases during pregnancy is explained below to help you understand what to expect in each case and how your healthcare professional might handle the situation so you need not worry.
Morning sickness troubles around 80% of pregnant women. Most cases of morning sickness are mild in many women but some may experience intense trouble resulting in hyperemesis gravidarum. The cause is unknown but many theories suggest that gastrointestinal dysfunction or hormonal changes in pregnancy may cause nausea and vomiting. Various treatment options are suggested as follows:
-Use of multivitamin supplements
-Ginger tea and candy
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs):
PMAD is a collection of emotional problems which occur in some pregnant women and if lasting for two weeks, it is advisable to seek professional help.
-Sadness along with regret of having a baby and hopelessness.
-Having anxiety and feeling panic with certain physical trouble like dizziness or constant headaches, racing heart, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, etc.
-Having anger and irritability for no reason.
-Trouble sleeping and when awake likes being alone.
The management of these disorders includes the following:
-An elaborate psychiatric assessment along with a complete medical exam to rule out common problems like hypothyroidism, anemia, etc.
-Self-help methods and taking part in group support therapies may bring a positive effect.
-Your healthcare expert will refer you to a counselor and may recommend medication or hospitalization as per your need.
Anemia is characterized by less than normal red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood to carry oxygen to your body’s tissues. Since iron deficiency anemia is most common, having iron-rich food like red meat, poultry, fish, iron-fortified cereals, prune juice, and dried beans may help. Also, to increase the absorption of iron, vitamin C-rich food like oranges, tomato juice, or strawberries may benefit you.
Pulmonary embolism (PE):
A PE is a formation of a blood clot blocking the artery in the lungs and it may form during or shortly after the labor and delivery and is extremely dangerous for the mother if not treated. The risk factors include previous history of blood clots, varicose veins or deep vein thrombosis, family history of pulmonary embolism, maternal obesity, irritable bowel syndrome, twin pregnancies, and C- section, etc.
Pre-eclampsia is high blood pressure (BP) around more than 140/90 mm Hg recorded two different times with an increased chance of harm to other organs like the liver, kidneys, etc. Preeclampsia develops around 20 weeks of pregnancy and some of the risk factors for the onset of pre-eclampsia are previous personal or family history of preeclampsia, chronic hypertension, first pregnancy, older women, obesity, multiple pregnancies, pre-existing diseases like kidney diseases, migraines, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, etc. To manage pre-eclampsia, the efficient approach is to deliver the baby but if the baby is underdeveloped, then your healthcare provider has a tough situation to handle.
What problems can occur because of Pre-eclampsia?
-Fetal growth retardation: Preeclampsia may cause a low blood supply to the baby resulting it to have reduced growth, low birth weight baby, etc.
-Preterm birth: Because of pre-eclampsia, your healthcare provider may help with the early delivery of the baby to prevent any danger to you or your baby. The premature baby may have trouble breathing and other problems.
-Placenta Abruption: It is extensive bleeding at the site of attachment of the placenta and the inner lining of the womb. Large amounts of bleeding may result if the abruption is vast, resulting in problems for you and the baby.
-HELLP syndrome: It stands for Hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells), Elevated Liver enzymes, and Low Platelet count. HELLP syndrome is a serious form of Pre-eclampsia with no symptoms often or some like nausea, vomiting, headache, and upper belly pain. It is harmful to you and your baby.
-Eclampsia: When preeclampsia is not well managed, it is associated with seizures that are said to be Eclampsia. There are no alarming signs of Eclampsia but it is dangerous to the baby as well as you.
-Many organs may be affected like kidneys, liver, lungs, heart, and eyes. There may be a chance of brain injury or stroke.
When to seek your healthcare provider?
Follow proper prenatal visits and they will keep regular checks on your BP records and seek help from your healthcare professional whenever in doubt.
-Ask for help from your healthcare expert, if you experience nausea, vomiting, headaches, slurring vision, etc.
-If there is a previous history of Preeclampsia, stay as healthy as you can be for your next pregnancy.
-Before planning pregnancy, manage diabetes or any other pre-existing condition so there are no problems later.
-Do not take any medication without the advice of your healthcare professional.
Gestational Diabetes is the development of diabetes during pregnancy and it starts usually in the middle or near the end of pregnancy. Your healthcare provider will test you regularly, since there may not be symptoms, just previous medical or family history and some risk factors which may help your healthcare provider diagnose you with gestational diabetes. The impact of gestational diabetes may occasionally make you develop high blood pressure during pregnancy.
How will Gestational diabetes affect the health of your baby?
-Your baby may be much bigger than the average baby and will cause complications during delivery.
-On account of impending complications, your healthcare expert may advise you to have the baby delivered early and so your baby may have breathing problems and other troubles.
-Sometimes you may have bouts of low blood glucose levels.
-The incidence of type 2 diabetes later in life is possible.
Genetic disorders may occur when there is a defect in the baby’s genes or chromosomes resulting in physical abnormalities or other health issues. A few possible factors that cause the high occurrence of babies having genetic disorders are as follows:
-When you have a family history of any genetic disorder.
-Your previous child has some kind of genetic disorder.
-When any one of the parents has a chromosomal defect.
-Older age of mother (35 or older) or older father (40 or older).
-When there is a prior history of miscarriage or stillbirth.
-Birth defects sometimes occur due to alcohol, drugs, or environmental factors.
Which kind of genetic disorders may be caused during pregnancy?
The different genetic disorders are as described below:
-Single gene disorder: Where a gene undergoes change causing a disease. Some examples are sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, etc.
-Chromosomal abnormalities: These problems are seen when there are missing or additional chromosomes or parts of chromosomes. Down’s syndrome is a widely seen disorder that is caused due to the presence of an additional chromosome 21.
-Complex disorders: When there is a genetic history present in the family along with unfavorable environmental causes, these disorders happen. Some examples include spina bifida, heart diseases, cleft palate or lip, etc.
-Teratogenic disorders: Teratogens are agents that result in abnormalities in the body, if babies are exposed to the presence of teratogens, they may have teratogenic disorders. Few teratogens are alcohol, drugs, lead, high levels of radiation, infections, medications, and other harmful substances.
What are genetic screening and diagnostic tests related to genetic disorders?
Genetic screening is done to ascertain if there are any abnormalities in the baby.
–Carrier screening: This is a minor blood test done during pregnancy to estimate if any of the parents carry a genetic change for inherited diseases that may be passed on to the baby.
–Prenatal genetic screens: These are certain tests done in first and second-trimester screens that require blood sampling of the mother along with the ultrasounds to estimate the baby’s chance of having any of the various genetic disorders. A few examples include Down’s syndrome and a few birth defects such as spina bifida and certain defects of the heart, abdomen, and facial features. Some of the tests included commonly are first-trimester screening, second-trimester screening, combined first- and second-trimester screening, and cell-free DNA testing.
–Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) or cell-free DNA screening: A blood test that tests the DNA sample from a placenta that is in the mother’s blood. This test ascertains if there are any chromosomal abnormalities like Down’s syndrome and trisomy 18 and is used in high-risk pregnancies. These are usually done in the 10-13 weeks of pregnancy. A positive test result of a cell-free DNA test is subjected to be confirmed with help of a diagnostic test like amniocentesis or Chorionic villus sampling test. Besides, an ultrasound scan called nuchal translucency (NT) screening is also done by measuring the thickness of space at the back of the baby’s neck. If the measurement is not normal then there is a high incidence of fetuses having Down’s syndrome (trisomy 21), trisomy 18, etc.
–Second-trimester screening: It comprises the quadruple blood test which measures the levels of four different substances in your blood. This test may be done between 15- 22 weeks of gestation and screens for Down’s syndrome, Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18), and neural tube defects like spina bifida, cleft palate, etc. Besides the blood testing, the ultrasound test done between 18-22 weeks of gestation may help understand any significant structural problems in the brain, spine, facial features, abdomen, heart, and limbs.
–Combined first and second-trimester screening: The test results are combined so a more accurate outcome can be expected than a single test result. Although the results of combined tests may not be available to you until the second trimester.
The diagnostic tests are done to confirm the presence of a defect. Some of the diagnostic tests are as follows:
–Chorionic villus sampling tests: It involves taking a sample of tissue for testing from the placenta in the first trimester.
–Amniocentesis: In this procedure, testing of a sample of the amniotic fluid taken from the uterus is done in the second trimester.
What is the course of management for genetic disorders?
The course of treatment for Genetic disorders varies and your healthcare expert will best decide the therapeutic way for you. You may be offered a genetic counselor to talk to and they may ascertain your chances of having a baby with defects. The management may differ from medical therapy during pregnancy to surgical prospects after birth.