Health Conditions That Complicate Pregnancy

Toggle: English / Spanish

Health Conditions That Complicate Pregnancy

There are many conditions that can place a woman and her pregnancy at great risk. High blood pressure and diseases of the heart, blood vessels, and kidneys can be severely worsened by pregnancy. Women with eating disorders, from anorexia to obesity, may also be at great risk during pregnancy.

Diabetes is a common problem 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. Women with poorly controlled blood sugars are at higher risk of miscarriage, birth defects, and stillbirth.

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.

Some medications for common medical conditions can cause birth defects or other problems during pregnancy. If you take medication regularly for conditions like blood pressure, seizures, kidney disease, or blood clotting problems, talk to your health care provider before you get pregnant. You may be able to switch to another medication that is safer in pregnancy.

If you have any pre-existing health conditions, it's best to discuss them with your health care provider prior to becoming pregnant.

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 12/9/2012
  • Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2013 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

This page was last updated: April 14, 2014

         
Average rating (3)