Pregnancy is generally a time of great joy and anticipation for most women. However, it is important to be aware of the health conditions that pregnant women are susceptible to developing. As you go through this special season in life, be sure to remain vigilant about both you and your baby's health. When I was pregnant, I had no clue and was shocked by my diagnosis. So, I am helping other mamas be aware. Here are three of the most common health conditions that pregnant women need to know about:
Like other kinds of diabetes, gestational diabetes affects the body's ability to use glucose. The high sugar levels caused bythis type of diabetes affects both the mother and the baby. While the diabetes usually goes away a few weeks after delivery, being diagnosed with this condition during pregnancy puts women at risk for developing type II diabetes later in life. For most women, gestational diabetes does not present with noticeable symptoms. Your doctor will screen for the condition around the end of the second trimester.
Also called a bladder infection, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract. Pregnant women are more at risk of developing this uncomfortable condition because of the changes in the urinary tract during this time. Possible symptoms of a UTI include the need to urinate more frequently, burning or pain while urinating, cramps in the lower abdomen, or blood or mucus present in the urine. As a preventative measure, drinking lots of fluids help, andcranberry juice targets the bacteria responsible for the UTI. Untreated UTIs can lead to kidney infections, so be sure to seek medical treatment if you suspect you may have a UTI.
This complication usually begins after the halfway point of pregnancy. And it is what happened to me in my first pregnancy. I had preeclampsia at 31 weeks and delivered my girl a week later.
The hallmark symptom of preeclampsia is high blood pressure in women who have always had normal readings. One of the first presenting symptoms of preeclampsia is swelling of the hands and feet.
My hands and feet were not so swollen. But I had been taking my blood pressure at home, so when I went in for a routine check at my doctor's office, the blood pressure reading came out normal. I questioned my nurse, telling her that at home it had been higher. The doctor took my blood pressure and yes, it was higher than the nurse's reading. After a urine test, my doctor advised me to go straight to the hospital for further monitoring. I went and was told to stay until delivery because I had preeclampsia. My girl Mimi was born a week later. If you have a BP monitor at home, definitely use it while you're pregnant.
Other symptoms to look for include headaches, less frequent urination, and shortness of breath. If the condition is not treated, the baby may not receive enough blood flow to the placenta, resulting in serious damage. The mother is at risk of organ damage, especially to the kidneys.
While all of this may sound scary, it is important to remember that most women have completely healthy pregnancies. Keeping in touch with your doctor will ensure that you have the treatment that you need to deliver a healthy baby.
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