Disorders That Develop During Pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman may acquire certain disorders which may not be directly associated to her pregnancy. Certain types of disorder like anemia, urinary tract infection, and thromboemblic occur due to the changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy. Some other disorders such as fever and infections happen normally in the due course of the pregnancy. Some such diseases and infections are discussed below –

  • Thromboembolic Disease – In this disease, the blood clots are formed in the blood vessels. The legs veins form blood clots called thrombophlebitis or thrombosis.

These clots cause swelling, tenderness and pain in the calves and also have the tendency to move up to the lungs and block an artery or two. This blockage, called pulmonary embolism, and at times block an artery supplying blood to the brain and can also cause a stroke. The thromboembolic disease is generally acquired or caught within 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy. The complexities due to blood clots happen due to some injuries that happen during delivery. This disease is more likely to happen after a cesarean section surgery. An ultrasonography test may also be done to check the clots. Heparin is a medicine, which is used to cure clots. This medicine is quite harmless for the fetus as it does not cross the placenta and treatment is done up to 6 to 8 weeks after delivery.

  • Urinary Tract Infections – In pregnancy the size of uterus increases so much that it puts an immense pressure on the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. This slows down the flow of the urine and causes urinary infections. Because the passing of the urine is slow, the bacteria do not flush out of the tract. If these infections are not treated timely, they can cause premature labor or premature breakage of the membranes, which contain the fetus. At times the infection of the bladder moves up the urinary tract and reaches the kidneys causing a kidney infection. Large intake of water and antibiotic drug therapy are some treatments for such infections.
  • Fevers – Any disorder where the temperature goes beyond 103° F (39.5° C) during the first three months of pregnancy boosts the chances of miscarriages and birth defects of brain and spinal cord in the baby. A fever in the later trimester multiplies the chances of having preterm labor.
  • Anemia – Iron and Folic acid scarcity in the body of a pregnant woman causes anemia. Red blood cells are made by the iron and therefore needed in double strength during pregnancy to support growing fetus. In severe anemia the capacity of blood to carry oxygen decreases and in such condition even iron and folic acid supplements do not help. This affects the normal growth of fetus and especially the growth of brain is affected. Anemia also causes tiredness and shortness of breath in carrying mothers. This may bring about preterm labor, abnormal bleeding, and a major blood loss during delivery.  A newborn baby suffering from birth defects of spine or brain is another major setback of having deficiency of folic acid in the body during pregnancy.
  • Infections – Quite a few infections that happen during pregnancy can have devastating birth defects on the fetus. An infection called Cytomegalovirus is one such infection that crosses the placenta and damages the liver and brain of the fetus. Some other infections, which harm the fetus, include German measles, Herpes simplex and Chickenpox.  Some vaginal bacterial infection during pregnancy may cause preterm labor or premature rupture of the fetal membrane. A protozoan virus called toxoplasmosis causes serious birth defects in fetus or may cause a death to fetus due to miscarriage.  Antibiotic drug treatments reduce the intensity of these problems.
  • Disorders That Require Surgery – At times a pregnant woman may need to go through an abdominal surgery. Due to abdominal operation, the chances of a miscarriage and preterm labor are escalated. Thus to be on the safer side, it is advisable to delay any kind of surgery till the delivery, unless until it is really urgent and the women’s long term health is at stake.

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