pregnant woman and daughter

Stay on Top of These Pregnancy Health Issues 

Staying on top of your health is especially important when you are expecting. Preexisting health problems and additional health issues that develop during your pregnancy can impact you, your baby, or both. That is why receiving excellent health care is extremely important for all women during their pregnancy.

The following are some of the potential health issues you should be aware of during your pregnancy:

  • Anemia. It is all too easy to overlook symptoms of anemia, or low blood iron levels, during your pregnancy. Many women already feel tired and weak during pregnancy and brush off the remarkably similar symptoms of anemia as a part of being pregnant. Your health care provider can do testing to check for anemia and recommend supplements such as folic acid or iron. 
  • Hypertension. High blood pressure before or during your pregnancy can put you and your baby at higher risk for complications such as preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and placental abruption. You may also be at higher risk for preterm delivery. Symptoms of preeclampsia include swollen hands and feet, decreased urine output, frequent headaches, and shortness of breath. 
  • Diabetes. High blood sugar during your pregnancy can lead to gestational diabetes. Being overweight prior to your pregnancy or gaining more than recommended weight while pregnant can increase your risk for this condition. Having gestational diabetes may put you at higher risk to type 2 diabetes post-pregnancy. 
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum. Morning sickness, caused by the placenta releasing the hormone HCG, is common during the first three months of your pregnancy. When severe nausea and vomiting persist throughout your pregnancy, it can lead to dehydration and weight loss, requiring more aggressive treatment to keep you healthy. If you notice these signs of hyperemesis gravidarum, your doctor can prescribe a medication to reduce nausea. 
  • Viral or bacterial infections. While you are pregnant, your baby is safe from mild illnesses such as stomach viruses or colds. However, a few infections can be harmful to you and your baby, including infections related to STDs, HIV, and others. It is important to have the proper screenings and vaccinations necessary to avoid serious complications during pregnancy. It is also important to maintain good hygiene practices and avoid certain foods to avoid exposure to pathogens. 
  • Depression. Many pregnant women experience some form of depression during their pregnancy. This can be related to lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, or preexisting issues with depression. Having depression prior to becoming pregnant can exacerbate the condition during pregnancy and puts you at higher risk for developing postpartum depression. If you experience symptoms of depression, it is critical to discuss the issue with your healthcare provider.