How do medical conditions affect pregnancy?

Before getting pregnant it is important to talk to your doctor about your medical conditions. Planning a pregnancy with a medical condition can be a daunting and intimidating task. While high-risk pregnancies do require extra effort on the part of the mother and obstetrician, it is possible to have a healthy and happy experience.

How does diabetes affect pregnancy?

Planning a pregnancy with type one or type two diabetes is challenging but manageable. Controlling your blood sugar is the most important aspect of your pregnancy planning. Keeping your blood sugar under control reduces the risk of complications for both you and your baby. To keep it under control you will need to check your blood sugar levels more frequently and it will be more important than ever to eat right and to get adequate physical activity. 

Preparing for pregnancy by keeping your blood sugar levels regulated for months prior to conception and losing any excess weight can help to prevent any diabetes-related complications during the growth and birth process. Babies of diabetic mothers are often of higher weight than those of mothers without diabetes and this may need to be taken into consideration when planning the birth of the baby.

How does hypertension affect pregnancy?

If you have hypertension your doctor will be watching your condition very carefully. If your blood pressure spikes, you will need to be hospitalized for even more careful monitoring.  In order to help prevent your blood pressure from getting out of control, it is more important than ever to pay attention to your salt intake. Refrain from adding additional salt to your food and limit prepackaged foods with excess amounts of sodium.  You may also need to modify your exercise routine. 

How does heart disease affect pregnancy?

Pregnancy requires your heart to work harder than it usually does because of the increased supply of blood that is required. If you have a heart disease or defect it may be necessary for you to limit your activity more than the average woman in order to reduce the strain on your heart. If the heart disease is genetic it will be necessary for your doctor to monitor your pregnancy more closely to watch for signs of the same defect in the baby.  This could involve extra tests or more frequent ultrasounds. It may be necessary for the baby to be delivered by cesarean section or with forceps in order to keep you from having to push and increase the strain on your heart.

Health problems are something that is just a part of life. When trying to conceive and when dealing with a pregnancy, the health of mom is just as important as the health of the baby. Some medications may be contraindicated during pregnancy, so make sure to speak to your prescribing physician about possible side effects of medications you are taking when you become pregnant. In some cases, medication and lifestyle changes will need to take place in order to keep baby healthy and prevent unwanted side effects to the fetus.

Just because you have an illness or health condition does not mean you cannot have a child of your own.

Read More:
Diagnosing Gestational Diabetes
High Blood Pressure and Pregnancy