Even if you were healthy prior to your pregnancy, you may experience a complication that could affect your health, your baby or both. Fortunately, many common complications are treatable. You just need to know the signs and inform your provider of any changes in the way you feel.
Maternal-Fetal Medicine provider Dr. Kazumasa Hashimoto shares four common pregnancy complications and treatment options.
Depression during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you may feel very sad, down, helpless and low energy. If this is the case, you may be experiencing depression, a common pregnancy disorder. Of note, depression may occur more commonly after birth (postpartum depression).
If your symptoms persist, talk to your health care provider about your mood changes. Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes, medications, therapy or support groups that can help you find joy in your pregnancy again.
“Please do not hesitate to take medications because you are pregnant or breastfeeding,” Dr. Hashimoto said. “If you are worried about depression medications, please talk to your provider.”
If your body has less red blood cells than normal, you may have anemia during pregnancy. The typical cause is a low level of iron in your blood.
Dr. Hashimoto explained some symptoms of pregnancy anemia include weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and pounding or racing heart.
“However, you may not have symptoms at the beginning,” he said. “If your anemia is not treated, pregnancy complications such as small baby, preterm (premature) birth, may develop. Recovery from the birth may be delayed.”
Anemia during pregnancy may be treated with iron and/or folic acid supplements. If your OB-GYN provider finds that you are anemic, they will need to monitor your hemoglobin levels throughout your pregnancy.
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, can put you at risk for serious pregnancy complications, such as preeclampsia, preterm birth and low birth weight. Severe gestational hypertension may cause stroke, stillbirth and maternal death.
If you have high blood pressure before or during pregnancy, your OB/GYN provider will watch your pregnancy closely to control blood pressure and check your baby’s growth/health.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. If you experience pain or burning when you use the bathroom, have the urge to use the bathroom frequently, notice urine with a foul odor, or suffer from pressure in your lower abdomen, back pain, or nausea, you may have a UTI.
Pregnancy-safe antibiotics can provide you with relief. Be sure to contact your provider right away if you have abdominal or back pain during pregnancy as it could be a condition that needs immediate treatment.
“Your provider may treat your UTI with antibiotics even if you do not have symptoms in order to prevent kidney infection,” Dr. Hashimoto said. “It is important not to stop medications until the treatment is completed.”
Talk to your women’s health provider
If you are a mom-to-be and believe you are experiencing complications during pregnancy, contact your women’s health provider or your local maternal-fetal medicine provider to discuss treatment options.