Becoming pregnant is indeed the most special experience for any woman and should be enjoyed. However, at this point you’re not looking only after yourself but also an unborn baby. Hence complications that occur during pregnancy affect both the health of the mother and the baby if not addressed and treated in time.
Here are a few health conditions that are commonly experienced by pregnant women.
Nothing can be more gratifying than welcoming your bundle of joy into this world. Care needs to be taken during pregnancy to ensure that the developing foetus is healthy. Many pregnant women suffer from Thyroid problems. Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is an important hormone produced by the Pituitary gland. TSH regulates the production and action of the Thyroid Hormones (T3 and T4). Estrogen and Human Chorionic Gonadotropin also affects the production of the thyroid hormones. Abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body can result in Hyperthyroidism (increased production of thyroid hormones) or Hypothyroidism (decreased production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland). These conditions, if left untreated, can prove to be fatal for the mother and the baby.
Hyperthyroidism is greatly affected by an autoimmune disease, the Graves disease. The Thyroid Stimulating Immunoglobulin (TSI), produced during Graves disease, interferes with the production of the thyroid hormones. The TSI mimics the TSH to a great extent. This triggers the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormones in excess. A woman with hyperthyroidism may complain of increased heart rate, fatigue and increased blood pressure. There may be heat intolerance, tremor, sudden weight loss and Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Untreated Hyperthyroidism can result in heart ailments, premature child birth, foetal Tachycardia, Preeclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterised by an abnormal rise in blood pressure) and miscarriage. In case of foetal and neonatal Hyperthyroidism, there is low birth weight, heart ailments, irritability and poor brain development.
Blood tests, whereby the levels of T3, T4, TSH and TSI are examined, can help in the diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism. Women with Graves disease should be extra careful. Antithyroid drugs can provide great relief. Most antithyroid drugs successfully cross the placenta and effectively regulate the production of the foetal thyroid hormone. Propylthiouracil (PTU) and Methimazole are effective anti-thyroid drugs.
Most doctors recommend Methimazole during the first trimester and PTU during the last two trimesters.
In case of Hypothyroidism, Hashimoto disease is the main wrecker in chief. This autoimmune disease results in considerable decrease in the production of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroidism can also be aggravated by Thyroidectomy (surgical removal of thyroid gland). Like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism during pregnancy can result in serious health complications. There may be stillbirths, congestive heart failure, miscarriage, anaemia, poor brain development of the newborn and Preeclampsia. Symptoms like cold intolerance, muscle cramps, concentration problems, fatigue or constipation should not be taken lightly.
Blood tests (T4 and TSH) go a long way to detect Hypothyroidism. A synthetic Thyroid hormone, Thyroxine, is effectively used to treat hypothyroidism. Including iodine supplements in your diet prove to be helpful in hyperthyroidism treatment.
Thyroid problems, though serious, can be successfully treated. A little alertness during pregnancy can shield both the mother and the newborn from the harmful consequences.
Gestational diabetes, as the name suggests, occurs during gestation or pregnancy when the blood sugar levels exceed the normal level. Gestational diabetes, like other forms of diabetes, affects how your body cells use glucose or sugar during pregnancy, and usually disappears after you’ve given birth.
Causes and symptoms to look out for!
During gestation, the placenta produces hormones that lead to the accumulation of blood glucose. Under normal condition, the pancreas forms enough insulin to counter the buildup of blood glucose. The level of blood sugar rises when the pancreas fails to produce adequate insulin to manage your blood sugar.
Usually, women with gestational diabetes do not show symptoms. So, the presence of the condition can go unnoticed if they are not diagnosed during routine checkups and screening tests. Nevertheless, if the condition goes out of control, you may feel tired, feel thirsty or hungry, or feel the urge to urinate more often.
What are the risk factors?
About 2-10% of pregnant women are affected by gestational diabetes every year. The following factors are likely to put you at risk of developing gestational diabetes-
What is the treatment for gestational diabetes?
Urine tests are performed to check for ketones. In a non-diabetic person, glucagon, insulin and other hormones avert ketone levels in your blood from soaring up too high. Once you’re diagnosed with gestational diabetes, it’s important that you consult your doctor for treatment. Uncontrolled blood sugar level can affect you and your baby’s health after birth. This condition can be treated in the following ways-
Post-treatment the blood sugar levels usually come down to normal within 4-6 weeks of giving birth.