Expecting a baby can be a wonderful time in your life,during which you will experience several changes in your body as your baby grows. While prenatal tests can help prevent health problems or spot them in the early stages, you should always discuss all of your health concerns with your doctor.
The following are some of the most common health concerns expectant mothers may experience, as well as some tips for reducing health risks.
1. Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that only occurs when a women is pregnant. When an individual has diabetes, her blood sugar levels are too high because the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use the insulin produced appropriately. The symptoms of gestational diabetes can include extreme thirst, fatigue and hunger, which resemble pregnancy symptoms.
As a result, the best way to diagnose gestational diabetes is with a blood test at a physician’s office. If you have gestational diabetes, your doctor may instruct you to exercise regularly, follow a meal plan, take prescription medications and monitor your blood sugar levels regularly. This form of diabetes can affect your circulation, particularly in your legs, and your doctor may also suggest you wear maternity compression stockings to help prevent or alleviate swelling and pressure.
2. High Blood Pressure
If you had high blood pressure before becoming pregnant or developed high blood pressure during pregnancy – a condition known as gestational hypertension – your doctor will take extra precautions to monitor the health of you and your baby. High blood pressure during a pregnancy can cause dangerous conditions such as preeclampsia, premature delivery or low birth weight.
If your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure during your pregnancy, keep all of your prenatal medical appointments, follow through with any lifestyle and diet changes recommended by your doctor, take prescribed medications as instructed, abstain from alcohol and tobacco use and always consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications.
3. Poor Leg Circulation
Pregnancy can cause poor leg circulation, which can lead to spider veins and varicose veins as well as pain and swelling in the legs and feet. The extra weight you carry during your pregnancy and the extra pressure placed on the lower part of your body affects your legs, causing your veins to swell and blood to pool in them.
Along with following your doctor’s instructions for remedying leg swelling, such as elevating your feet when you sit, compression stockings can also bring you relief and help prevent spider and varicose veins. Maternity compression stockings have a special design that increases the blood flow from your legs to your heart in order to address circulatory problems that can occur in your ankles and lower legs.
4. Thyroid Disease
Increased levels of estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone can cause a change in thyroid function during pregnancy. It is normal for hormonal changes to occur during pregnancy, but altered thyroid hormones can affect a baby’s development and nervous system. Pregnant women generally need more iodine because the fetus generally receives its supply of iodine through the mother’s diet. However, women can also develop an over-active thyroid gland during pregnancy.
Uncontrolled thyroid functions can cause a variety of symptoms in pregnant women, such as high blood pressure, fatigue, feelings of depression, rapid heart rate, intolerance to heat and anemia. A doctor may prescribe a thyroid supplement to pregnant women having problems.
5. Leg Cramps
Leg cramps often occur during the last months of pregnancy while resting in bed because of the pressure caused by an enlarged uterus. Using heat or massaging and stretching your legs can help relieve the pain caused by leg cramps. You may also find that maternity compression stockings greatly reduce the amount of leg cramping you experience because they help relieve venous pressure and increase circulation. However, you should contact your doctor if the cramps persist.