Morning sickness that lasts all day, tired but sleepless, feet swollen to a size you didn’t think possible, wondering where is the pregnancy glow that everyone talks about - don’t worry, you are not alone. There are, however, a few pregnancy risk factors that go above these common symptoms to cause concern. So what are these factors that can put a pregnancy at risk?
Preeclampsia is marked by high blood pressure in women who have not experienced high blood pressure before pregnancy. Symptoms also include high levels of protein in the urine, and often swelling in the limbs. The condition usually surfaces later in the pregnancy, typically after 20 weeks, however, it has been known to occur earlier as well. The risk factors for preeclampsia are obesity, older age, prior hypertension, and diabetes.
If left unchecked, preeclampsia can lead to kidney dysfunction, low blood platelet count, fluid in the lungs, impaired liver function, or even disturbances in vision. Beyond taking a toll on the mother’s health, the condition can also increase the risk of poor outcomes for the fetus. In rare, extreme cases, preeclampsia can cause seizures, at which point it is called eclampsia.
Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a condition where pregnant women with no case history of diabetes develop high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. Pregnancy triggers hormonal changes that, in turn, cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
The condition typically surfaces after the 24th week of pregnancy, and physicians recommend a screening test around this period. In cases where the risk of developing gestational diabetes in a patient is higher, a glucose tolerance test can be done earlier. There are no noticeable symptoms that show up, except perhaps increased thirst or urination.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) is an increasingly common disorder that can make conception difficult and can further cause complications during pregnancy. At the very worst, it can cause miscarriage, or lead to other conditions like preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, and premature delivery.
The thyroid gland releases hormones that regulate the heart and nervous system, metabolism, body temperature, weight, and many other core functions of the body. Thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid that produces excess hormones) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid that does not produce enough hormones) pose risks for both mother and fetus during pregnancy, making it important to diagnose and treat immediately.
If you have pre-existing hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, you can consult a physician on MediBuddy who will closely monitor your condition and ensure additional medical attention if required, particularly in the first trimester. Untreated thyroid conditions in pregnancy can lead to premature birth, preeclampsia, miscarriage, birth defects or low birth weight.
Low Amniotic Fluid
The amniotic sac in the uterus fills with fluid that protects the fetus and aids in fetal development. When there's not enough fluid, the condition is called oligohydramnios, which deters fetal growth and development. Low amniotic fluid is particularly evident in the third trimester in most cases. Your physician will guide you with adequate measures to prevent or treat the condition, should it occur.
There are other conditions too that raise pregnancy risk such as lifestyle choices, mother’s age, obesity, and multiple gestation. It’s important to have all the information you need to go through a safe and healthy pregnancy. Whether you are looking for a second opinion or dietary advice, you’ll find it all on MediBuddy.