Pregnancy complications Part II article includes Flu During Pregnancy, Fifth Disease, Genital Warts, Hypertension, Headaches, HELLP Syndrome, and Heartburn and Acidity During Pregnancy. Learn about symptoms, causes, effects, treatment, and prevention tips associated with each individual pregnancy complication.
From conception to childbirth, a woman’s body witness complex changes inside. Pregnancy complications are a natural fall out of these complex internal changes and manifest with mild to serious symptoms. Maternal health becomes subject to minor or major issues depending on the ability of the mother’s body to cope with these biological changes.
Flu During Pregnancy
It is not among pregnancy complications, but aggravated due to lower immunity. The immune system of a pregnant woman undergoes change with her body. This makes her vulnerable to flu-like infections. Flu has no direct bearing on the baby. However, it may put stress on the maternal health and sometimes cause emergency situations, such as pneumonia, respiratory difficulty, chest pain, dizziness, and reduced child movement. Mothers with frequent flu symptoms may have premature babies. Miscarriage is another possibility.
Symptoms: Runny nose, cold, sore throat, cough, bouts of chills and fever, body pain, head ache
Cause: Low immune system during pregnancy
Treatment/Prevention: Avoiding infection, steer clear of others with flu, healthy eating, intake of lots of Vitamin B and C, regular washing of hands, flu vaccination, adequate sleep and rest
Fifth Disease Pregnancy Complications
The contagious infection caused by human parvovirus B19 leads to fifth disease or mild rash illness in pregnant women. In most cases, pregnant women are immune to the virus and there are no pregnancy complications or effect on the child.
However, those with chronic anemia are at the risk of complications. Also known as the slapped cheeks disease, it can cause problems for those suffering from long-term immune deficiency.
The virus spread through body fluids, coughing, sneezing, hand-mouth touch, and even by sharing of glasses or utensils. It attacks the placenta and has the potential to cause anemia and heart inflammation in the child, stillbirth, or even the death of the unborn child.
Symptoms: Sore joints, sore throat, fever, red rash on the body, headache, slapped cheeks
Causes: Infection by human parvovirus B19
Treatment/Prevention: If infected, consult your doctor. To prevent, maintain utmost hygiene level, avoid sharing utensils during pregnancy, keep your mouth and hands covered at public places, and avoid those with flu symptoms.
Genital Warts During Pregnancy
The strains of human papilloma virus cause genital warts during pregnancy. Studies show that the virus remains in the genital tissues of most women, but never manifest with symptoms. But it may become active and cause symptoms, though it is not considered among pregnancy complications.
Genital warts during pregnancy usually do not harm the baby in the womb. However, the risk of infection persists and more care should be taken if there is similar infection in the past. The infection may pass to the baby during vaginal delivery causing warts in the mouth or throat.
Symptoms: bumps in genital area, abnormal genital tissue changes or growths, warts around vagina, anus, or rectum, may be itching and burning sporadically
Causes: Infection due to presence of human papilloma virus
Treatment/ Prevention: Consult your doctor if the symptoms are serious. Keep the vaginal area clean and dry, use comfortable and clean underwear, and avoid perfumed bath products.
Hypertension During Pregnancy
Known as gestational hypertension in medical annals, the pregnancy-induced hypertension is a common occurrence in one in every 10 expecting mothers. First-time moms and those carrying multiple babies face greater risk and it is more common after 20th week into pregnancy. The disorder is characterized by high blood pressure in a pregnant woman. Unless controlled, hypertension has the potential to increase pregnancy complications, cause abnormal placental separation due to reduced blood flow, preeclampsia, stress and diabetes, preterm delivery, and even child death.
Symptoms: High blood pressure, headache, fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath, uneasiness, need to rest constantly
Causes: Tension, stress, unable to cope with pregnancy responsibilities, high amount of sodium in blood, high amount of protein in food, drinking alcohol, sugar in blood, lack of rest and exercise
Treatment/Prevention: Do regular blood pressure checkup. Have adequate rest, reduce salt intake, and balance the need for protein in food, increase daily intake of water and fluid, keep an eye on contributing factors, avoid fried and junk foods, go for lifestyle changes, including daily exercise, avoid caffeine.
Headaches During Pregnancy
Multiple factors contribute to headaches during pregnancy. The most common cause is the surge of hormones and blood volume in the body. Stress, hypertension, dehydration, low blood pressure, pre-pregnancy migraine, vision change, and poor dietary practices only aggravate it and add to pregnancy complications. Pregnancy headaches are common in the first three months. However, they improve or disappear after the second trimester. The problem has no effect on the baby.
Symptoms: Headache, pain in the head and neck, radiating pain, migraine-type symptoms, associated nausea, fatigue
Causes: Hormonal change during pregnancy, hypertension, altering blood pressure, stress, lack of sleep, poor body posture, low sugar levels, dehydration, preexisting migraine, preeclampsia
Treatment/Prevention: Practice good body posture, ensure there is no paucity of rest and sleep, remain relaxed, eat a balanced diet, do regular exercise, warm or cold compress around the head and eye and neck, get a head massage and practice deep breathing, and avoid potential food triggers, such as chocolate, yogurt, cheese, nuts, and preservatives. Medication is only the last resort.
HELLP Syndrome Pregnancy Complications
A life-threatening pregnancy complication, HELP syndrome refers to hemolysis or destruction of red blood cells, elevated liver enzyme levels, and reduced platelet count. Early diagnosis is key to survival of the child in the womb. Mother face the threat of liver damage.
About 0.5 percent pregnant women are diagnosed with HELP syndrome and over 70 percent are in the last half of pregnancy. The fetal mortality rate linked to this pregnancy complication is as high as 25 percent. Pregnant women with preeclampsia are at greater risk.
Symptoms: Initial stage: Headache, worsening nausea, fatigue, serious flu-like feeling, pain or tenderness in upper-right abdomen. Later stage: Earlier symptoms along with vision problem, swelling, bleeding, severe headache, high blood pressure. Symptoms peak at night and cause liver enlargement.
Cause: Placental disorder, preeclampsia, changes in gene expression
Treatment/Prevention: Surgical delivery of the child is an option when the pregnancy complication appears after the 34thweek into pregnancy. If the fetus is less than that, corticosteroids are prescribed to speed up the lung maturation and the surgical delivery thereafter. Transfusion of blood, plasma, and platelets are also essential. To prevent control the blood pressure, reduce salt intake, increase water intake, do regular exercise and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay clear of preeclampsia.
Heartburn, Acidity During Pregnancy
More than 50 percent of pregnant women experience heartburn. The pregnancy complication linked to acidity and indigestion is more apparent during second and third trimesters. Heartburn is traced to the reflux of stomach contents in to the esophagus. An irritation of its lining leads to heartburn.
A rise in hormones associated with pregnancy loosens up the valve responsible for checking the backflow from the stomach. This allows more reflux into the esophagus and an increase in the heartburn. The growth of the uterus also put pressure on the abdomen pushing back stomach acidic content to the esophagus causing heartburn.
Symptoms: Heartburn, irritation or burning sensation in the chest after eating
Causes: Acid reflux, pregnancy-related hormone changes, esophagus irritation, acidic content in food, indigestion, constipation
Treatment/Prevention: Avoid acidic food, eat slowly, divide your meals into smaller parts, shun spicy, oily, and fried foods, avoid fats, don’t drink water while eating, walk a few steps after eating, avoid sleeping soon after your meals, eat yogurt, avoid tight-fitting clothes,and ensure your head is higher than the foot while sleeping. No medication without prescription.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com