Maternity Health Conditions
Your body undergoes rapid changes while you are pregnant, and along the way many health conditions can reveal themselves. Below you find a list of some of the most common conditions women can experience from early in their pregnancy to after birth:
- Common Breastfeeding Concerns
- Ectopic Pregnancy
- False Labor (Braxton Hicks)
- Gestational Diabetes
- Gestational Hypertension
- HELLP Syndrome
- Hydatidiform Mole
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- Intrauterine Growth Restriction
- Miscarriage - Threatened
- Morning Sickness
- Placenta Abruptio
- Placenta Previa
- Placental Insufficiency
- Pre-Term Labor
- Rh Incompatibility (Rh Isoimmunization, Rh Disease, RhD)
Common Breastfeeding Concerns
The decision whether or not to breastfeed is important and should be made with much consideration. Breast milk is natural and breastfeeding is typically not difficult for most mothers. For others, more training and time is needed to successfully breastfeed. Most experts advocate breastfeeding. Your physician, nurses, trained breastfeeding personnel and support groups can assist in helping you breastfeed.
Eclampsia is seizures to the mother during pregnancy. The seizures may happen although the mother has no history of neurological disorder. The causes are generally unknown and it usually preceded by preeclampsia. It can be caused by improper nutrition, high body fat levels or lack of blood flowing into the uterus. High blood pressure, high protein levels and swelling in the extremities are symptoms. The conditions typically happen in the second part of pregnancy, in the latter part of the second trimester and into the third trimester.
An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube or somewhere else instead of the uterus. The baby cannot survive and it is a life-threatening condition to the mother requiring immediate treatment. It is usually discovered within the first weeks of pregnancy.
False Labor (Braxton Hicks)
False or practice contractions can begin as early as six weeks into pregnancy, however they are not typically felt until the second or third trimester - and most commonly in the third trimester, close to the baby's due date. Having these contractions helps the body prepare for labor and delivery, though not all women experience them. False labor includes irregular and unpredictable contractions (no set pattern and no progression) and membranes not rupturing (water didn't break). Changing body position like walking, standing, resting, etc. can make the contractions stop. Sometimes, contractions are very weak and don't get much stronger with the passage of time. False labor is also referred to as false contractions or Braxton Hicks contractions.
Gestational diabetes is pregnant women with high blood sugar levels although they never had diabetes previously. A baby's hormones can block insulin buildup in the mother's body. Without insulin, glucose cannot leave the blood, causing high glucose levels. Gestational diabetes typically happens late in pregnancy.
Gestational hypertension is also referred to as pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and typically is defined as having blood pressure greater than 140/90 with no signs of protein in the urine. Gestational hypertension is diagnosed after the 20th week of pregnancy.
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening condition typically associated with preeclampsia. It is characterized by: H (hemolysis, the breakdown of red blood cells)
EL (elevated liver enzymes)
LP (low platelet count)
A hydatidiform mole, also known as a molar pregnancy, is a noncancerous tumor growing in the uterus. It happens when there are an additional set of chromosomes from the father in a fertilized egg. The placenta becomes an increasing collection of cysts. The embryo grows abnormally and dies.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is considered a harsher, severe case of morning sickness. It is a condition believed to be caused by elevated hormonal levels. Nausea is combined with severe vomiting. Nausea is constant and the vomiting causes extreme dehydration.
Intrauterine Growth Restriction
An intrauterine growth restriction is when a baby seems to be small according to an ultrasound done after the first trimester. A baby may be smaller due to lack of oxygen or nutrients. Chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, genetic defects, infections or medications are possible causes.
A miscarriage is losing a fetus prior to the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages happen when a fetus grows abnormally. Miscarriages can happen from chromosome imbalances in the fetus, a blighted ovum, problems with the mother's health or factors related to the mother's lifestyle.
Miscarriage – Threatened
A threatened miscarriage is a pregnancy where the woman has bleeding or spotting from the vagina with a closed cervix but the doctor has concluded that the pregnancy is normal. A threatened miscarriage is common during the beginning part of the pregnancy and is not a sign that a miscarriage is imminent.
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can happen any time of the day but some women experience the worst effects during the morning hours. About 75 percent of pregnant women have morning sickness during the first three months of pregnancy.
Oligohydramnios is the deficiency of amniotic fluid in a pregnant woman. Since this fluid surrounds the baby in the womb, it is a crucial element in the baby's life support system. When there is not enough amniotic fluid, the baby can have birth defects; a woman can miscarry or give birth too early; the baby can grow slowly; or there could be problems during delivery. Amniotic fluid is measured with an amniotic fluid index (AFI) or maximum vertical pocket (MPV). This condition can occur anytime during pregnancy but happens most frequently during the third trimester. Women going past 41 or 42 weeks of pregnancy may be at potential risk for oligohydramnios.
Placenta abruptio, also known as placental abruption, is the separation of the placenta from the interior wall of the uterus. It is unusual and is a serious condition for both mother and baby. The baby cannot receive oxygen and proper nutrition. The mother can experience heavy bleeding.
Placenta previa happens when a baby's placenta blocks the mother's cervix. Typically, the placenta adheres at the top or side of the uterus. In placenta previa, it adheres to the low part of the uterus. Placenta previa can produce excessive bleeding prior to or during delivery. Sometimes a caesarean section (C-section) is necessary to deliver the baby because of this condition.
The placenta provides nutrients and oxygen to the baby and removes waste from the baby's blood. When the placenta is unable to grow and perform correctly, the baby cannot develop. Problems are more serious if the placenta does not function properly early in pregnancy. If placental insufficiency happens for an extended period of time during pregnancy, it can cause intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).
Polyhydramnios is too much amniotic fluid, the fluid flowing around the baby in the uterus during pregnancy. It is an uncommon condition and in most instances the polyhydramnios is moderate. It usually will go away on its own. Stronger cases of polyhydramnios include breathing difficulty and preterm labor. Stronger cases may necessitate draining the extra fluid.
Preterm or premature labor occurs when you have contractions causing changes (effacement; dilation; etc.) in your cervix prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature labor does not always mean delivering a premature baby.
Preeclampsia can happen during pregnancy and postpartum. Headaches, high blood pressure, vision problems, swelling, unexpected weight gain and protein in the urine are symptoms. It occurs in middle to late pregnancy and up to six weeks in postpartum. It can be fatal for mother and infant. Prenatal care is imperative to diagnose and regulate preeclampsia.
Rh Incompatibility (Rh isoimmunization, Rh disease, RhD)
Rh incompatibility occurs in the fetus if the mother is Rh-negative and the fetus is Rh-positive. Rh factors are red blood cell materials involved in the production of antibodies. Fetal blood leaves the placenta and enters the mother's bloodstream. If the fetus and mother are both Rh-positive, this leakage is not a problem. In Rh incompatibility, the fetal blood is a foreign matter and the mother's body forms antibodies against the baby's Rh factor. These antibodies kill red blood cells in the baby which could lead to anemia, heart problems or stillbirth. Injections can prevent Rh incompatibility.
For more information or a physician referral, call (888) 828-9580 or find a doctor near you.