Pregnancy is an exciting time for any women, but complications may develop sometimes even in healthy women. Most pregnancy complications can easily be detected and prevented during regular prenatal visits. The two most common complications that arise during pregnancy are high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH), also called preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication that usually starts after the 20th week of pregnancy. It is one of the main causes of concern in pregnant women as this severe form of hypertension may induce labour very early. Pregnancy induced hypertension might present as high blood pressure alone or accompanied with other conditions such as protein in the urine, swelling and even convulsions. The condition can be detected during antenatal visits and should be treated and monitored appropriately. If left untreated, this condition can cause serious problems for both the mother and the baby. In the mother PIH can cause placental abruption (premature detachment of the placenta from the uterus) and seizures. Pregnancy induced hypertension also causes less blood flow to the placenta. Complications in the baby include premature birth, low birth weight, stillbirth, or growth restriction. You should watch for signs such as rapid weight gain of 4-5 lbs. in a week, severe headache, blurred vision, severe pain in the stomach under the ribs and consult your doctor immediately. During a routine check-up your doctor will check your blood pressure, urine levels, and may order blood tests which can show if you have preeclampsia. There are treatment options which include medications, dietary modifications, mild exercise and activity along with sufficient rest. In severe cases, your doctor may want your baby to be delivered. It is important to remember that hypertension during pregnancy is a serious condition and should be taken care of in order to prevent further complications.
Gestational diabetes is a condition in which the level of sugar in your blood becomes higher than normal. This condition usually develops in the second trimester and most often returns to normal soon after delivery. High blood sugar levels can affect both the mother and development and growth of the baby. Normally there will not be any symptoms except for extreme thirst, hunger or tiredness that may be experienced occasionally. The screening test for diabetes is done in the 28th week of pregnancy. Your doctor checks your blood glucose level using a test called a fasting blood glucose test. Other tests such as screening glucose challenge test and oral glucose tolerance test may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. Pregnancy induced diabetes can usually be controlled by certain dietary changes, regular exercise, and frequent blood tests as suggested by your doctor. Some cases might also require use of insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. Poorly controlled or uncontrolled gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia, preterm delivery, large-sized baby, caesarean section, newborn with low blood sugar, breathing difficulties and jaundice. Even if gestational diabetes goes away after your baby is born, it increases your risk for diabetes later in your life. Therefore it is important to exercise, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight after pregnancy.