Every so often pregnancy problems occur and reoccur even in healthy women. Here is a run-down of the commonest problems you may likely encounter during pregnancy.
1) Anaemia: This is a condition where you have a lower than a normal number of healthy red blood cells. Except in severe cases, anaemia is an expected physiological change in pregnancy. It is expected because, in pregnancy, your blood is “shared” between you and your baby. Its symptoms include frequent fatigue, paleness and activity intolerance. Treating the underlying cause of the anaemia will help restore the number of healthy red blood cells. Women with pregnancy-related anaemia are helped by taking iron and folic acid supplements. Routine PCV check is done during your antenatal care visits. Ensure you carry out this investigation as it helps your caregiver to better decipher your haemoglobin levels.
2) Hyperemesis gravidarum: This is a severe, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy more extreme than "morning sickness". It is characterized by nausea that does not go away, vomiting several times every day, weight loss, reduced appetite, dehydration and feeling faint or fainting. Dry, bland foods and fluids together are the first line of treatment. Sometimes, medicines are prescribed to help nausea. Most times, hospitalization is required. Usually, women with Hyperemesis gravidarum begin to feel better by the 20th week of pregnancy. But some women vomit and feel nauseated throughout all three trimesters.
3) Preeclampsia: This is a condition which starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy that causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. It is also characterized by the swelling of hands and face, high protein in the urine, stomach pain, blurred vision, dizziness and headaches. The only cure is delivery, which may not be best for the baby. Labour may be induced if the condition is mild and you are near term (37 to 40 weeks of pregnancy). If it is too early to deliver, the caregiver will observe your health and that of your baby very closely. You may also need medicines and bed rest to lower the blood pressure and prevent seizures.
4) Gestational diabetes: You have this condition when your blood sugar levels during pregnancy are higher than normal. It can only be revealed by screening tests using a glucometer or through laboratory analysis of a sample of your blood. Most women with pregnancy-related diabetes can control their blood sugar levels by following a healthy meal plan. Some women may need some shots of insulin. Poorly controlled gestational diabetes increases the risk of preeclampsia, preterm labour, macrosomic (very big baby) neonatal jaundice and birth asphyxia.
Pregnancy is not an illness but a delicate condition. Do not keep mute when you notice unusual changes in your body such as bleeding through your vagina, swelling in your face or extremities, cramps in your abdomen, blurred vision, reduced fetal movements, long-lasting headaches, dizziness, fever or chills, nausea or vomiting.