Illnesses during pregnancy

December 5, 2008 0 Comments

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Becoming ill is not pleasant, and depending on the type of illness, it could cause discomfort and uncertainty in the patient, she does not exactly know what the consequences may be. But if the illness happens during pregnancy, the concern about its effects on the baby’s development can create a lot of anxiety in the moms-to-be.

Becoming ill is not pleasant, and depending on the type of illness, it could cause discomfort and uncertainty in the patient, she does not exactly know what the consequences may be.  But if the illness happens during pregnancy, the concern about its effects on the baby’s development can create a lot of anxiety in the moms-to-be. 

 

Illnesses during pregnancy

There are some illnesses that are known for being “silent”, since they don’t cause symptoms and they could be present even before the pregnancy. If these illnesses are not properly treated, they could affect the baby’s development or the evolution of the pregnancy.  

The ideal scenario would be to have a check-up before conception, in order to better prepare for the pregnancy. However, this is not always possible. But in the analyses and the tests that are carried out during prenatal visits, some of these illnesses could be detected and treatment be initiated. That is why it is important to request a prenatal appointment as soon as you know that you are pregnant.  

Two of the most common illnesses in Latinas, which are not detected before pregnancy, are diabetes and hypertension. Fortunately, you could have a normal pregnancy with the proper treatment.  

 

Infectious diseases during pregnancy

Infectious diseases are caused by viruses and bacteria that enter our bodies and are usually of utmost concern for the moms-to-be, because of the possible effects on the baby. Not all infectious illnesses are dangerous for the pregnancy. A cold with no other complications is of no further importance. However, the flu or influenza with high fevers, is something the doctor must monitor. Following is a list of the infectious illnesses you must keep an eye on during your pregnancy.  

  • Rubella. This infection is caused by a virus. It is not a serious disease, but it may cause birth defects. It shows as a pinkish rash with low-grade fever. The danger for the baby’s development is greater if the infection takes place during the first trimester. If it happens during the third trimester, it is very rare that the baby would have any side-effects.   
  • Varicella. It is one of the most common illnesses in children and very easily contagious. In general, most pregnant women have had varicella or chicken pox in their childhood, because it is so common. If the mom-to-be becomes infected during pregnancy, it is rare for the baby to catch it. Varicella shows as a rash with little liquid-filled bumps.
  • Fifth disease. There is a risk of miscarriage if you contract this illness during pregnancy. It is not severe but it is quite common amongst children. If you work with children, avoid contact with those who have been infected.  
  • Tuberculosis. Although it is a common illness, tuberculosis does not cause malformations in the fetus and contagion is rare. This illness is passed on through the respiratory system, but to become infected, you have to be living in close quarters with the ill person, for a very long time.  
  • Cytomegalovirus. It is rare for pregnant women to become infected with this. It is very common in young day-care aged children, but it is usually inconsequential.  
  • Hepatitis. There are several types of hepatitis, generally due to a virus that attacks the liver. Although it may be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy and after birth, it may be successfully treated.  
  • STDs. Some of them, such as HIV, Chlamydia, or gonorrhea may be passed on to the baby during the delivery. That is why tests are done before the delivery, to rule them out and to treat them if present. Vaginal herpes is an illness that can also cause severe problems in your baby if it is passed on when it goes through the birth canal. For that reason, if the herpes is active during delivery, a C-section is usually performed.  

 

Pregnancy-related illnesses

Some illnesses arise as a consequence of the pregnancy itself. For example, gestational diabetes appears as a consequence of the action of pregnancy hormones on insulin. Preeclampsia is another illness that only appears during pregnancy and immediate intervention is required.  

Prenatal visits are essential in order to prevent and successfully treat these conditions that may arise during pregnancy.

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