04 Dec Diseases Occurring During Pregnancy
A woman can suffer from a number of medical conditions. These can be broadly grouped as:
- Preexisting disorders – occurred before the pregnancy
- Concomitant disorders – developed during the pregnancy but not directly related to it.
- Pregnancy-related disorders – more likely to occur during pregnancy
The most common types of preexisting disorders include Diabetes mellitus and Hypertension. Women who become pregnant should get a thorough assessment of their health, and preexisting conditions such as should be addressed and adequately managed. During pregnancy, they may need special care given that condition. Even their labor and delivery may have special considerations due to them.
Cardiopulmonary disorders are another important category. Women with limited cardiac reserve, as may be the case with cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, valvular disease, etc. are unable to bear the load of pregnancy and therefore, pregnancy is likely unsustainable in these conditions. Similarly, poor pulmonary function may also make it impossible for a woman to sustain pregnancy.
Then there are conditions that are not directly related to pregnancy but develop during pregnancy. Some of these may pose a risk to the pregnant women or the fetus and must be addressed carefully. They include:
- Systemic infections – A pregnant woman can suffer from any infection a nonpregnant woman might. However, the management may be different. There are many antibiotics that are contraindicated in pregnancy. Some infections may pose a risk to the fetus as well, as may be the case with septicemia. So the stakes are higher but the options are fewer. Close monitoring is essential during treatment in order to ensure the health of both, other and the fetus.
- Abdominal surgery – These can be obviously challenging. There are many conditions that may warrant abdominal surgery, such as blunt trauma, intestinal intussusception, strangulated hernia, etc. If conservative or minimally invasive surgery is out of the question, then open surgery will have to be performed while maintaining utmost care to keep the pregnancy viable.
- Blood clots – Pregnancy is a hypercoagulable state, which means that a pregnant woman is more likely to develop clots. This is due to hormonal/chemical changes in blood, but also due to limited movement. Thromboembolic events can be life-threatening as the clots may lodge in lung’s pulmonary circulation and cause pulmonary embolism.
- Anemia – Pregnant women are especially prone to it. As the oxygen demand is greater, utmost care needs to be taken to ensure that the patient’s hematocrit and hemoglobin concentration are optimal.
- Genitourinary Infections – These are especially challenging during pregnancy. Urinary tract infections are common and require antibiotics use. There is a chance they may escalate and spread out. Genital infections, including sexually transmitted disease, are not only troublesome for the mother but also pose a risk to the fetus. Syphilis, Herpes, Chlamydia can all cause severe neonatal infections. TORCH screening is mandatory to look for these problems in every case.