Health Conditions That Complicate Pregnancy
There are many conditions that can place a woman and her pregnancy at great risk. Heart, vascular, kidney, and hypertensive diseases are relatively common occurrences that can be severely worsened by pregnancy. Women with eating disorders, from anorexia to obesity, may also be at great risk during pregnancy. Obviously, drug abuse, alcohol and tobacco use, and exposure to certain environmental hazards can have devastating effects on you and your pregnancy.
Diabetes is a common high-risk situation for pregnant women, and can lead to an assortment of problems for the mother and her baby during and after pregnancy. To prevent these problems, women with diabetes should have their glucose under strict control before conception. For example, the use of an insulin pump is shown in (fig. 1, fig. 2, fig. 3). In addition, since children born to women with poorly controlled diabetes may be at risk for open spine defects (such as spina bifida), it's important to take a daily vitamin and mineral supplement containing at least 0.4 milligrams (400 micrograms) folic acid prior to pregnancy. This daily supplement, combined with strict glucose control, will considerably decrease the risk for fetal problems.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it's best to discuss them with your health-care provider prior to becoming pregnant.
Review Date: June 29, 2001
Reviewed By: Peter Chen, M.D., Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of
Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare
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