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What expectant moms should know about pregnancy complications

What expectant moms should know about pregnancy complications

When there’s going to be a new addition to your family, you want a healthy pregnancy, which includes keeping both mom and baby safe. While most pregnancies progress without problems, it’s important to learn about possible pregnancy complications and what you can do to safeguard your health. Our Touro team sheds some light on the topic below.

The facts about pregnancy complications

For a little peace of mind, it’s important to note that pregnancy complications remain uncommon. While the rate of complications has increased in the last decade, pregnancy complications still only impact around 15% of all pregnancies. (Black American women, however, are at a higher risk of complications than white women.)

Pregnancy complications are medical issues that occur during pregnancy, impacting the health of the mom, the baby or both. You may be familiar with some complications, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, which is a form of high blood pressure during pregnancy. Other common complications of pregnancy include:

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Birth defects
  • Blood clots
  • Hemorrhaging
  • Hyperemesis gravidarum (a severe and debilitating form of morning sickness)
  • Infections
  • Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
  • Preterm labor

Infections, including sexually transmitted infections and everyday concerns such as urinary tract infections, can be particularly dangerous during pregnancy. While your baby is protected in utero from viruses including the common cold or a stomach bug, other infections can be harmful.

It’s important that infections be treated promptly and thoroughly since they increase the risk of further complications such as pregnancy loss, low birth weight, birth defects or preterm delivery.

A healthy pregnancy for mom and baby

The first step for a healthy pregnancy is regular prenatal care. Once you know that you’re pregnant, check in with your OB/GYN or another women’s health provider who can help advise you throughout your pregnancy.

If you’re over 35 years old or have certain health conditions, your pregnancy may be in the high-risk category and may require care from a maternal-fetal medicine specialist.

Beyond these basic steps, you can do other things to keep yourself and your baby healthy during pregnancy and after delivery:

  • Don’t smoke, use drugs or drink alcohol. Taking or using any sort of non-food substance can be harmful to your baby and increase the risk of complications, so it’s important to stop these habits as soon as you know you’re pregnant if not before.
  • Keep yourself active. You may not always feel up to your usual workout routine, but it’s important to keep moving throughout pregnancy unless advised otherwise by a provider. Exercising can help you stay healthy during each trimester, and it can also make delivery and recovery easier.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are nutritional powerhouses, packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that do your body (and your baby’s) good. Talk with your provider about foods you should avoid and foods you should eat more of, such as those that contain folate.
  • Undergo recommended testing. As an expectant mom, you should be tested for hepatitis B, STIs such as syphilis and HIV, and group B strep, among others, since these infections can be dangerous for your baby, particularly during delivery.
  • Get plenty of sleep, in a safe way. Getting enough quality sleep can help give you the energy you need for the long days of pregnancy. During pregnancy, it’s best to sleep on your side, so ask your provider for suggestions if you’re usually a back or belly sleeper.

If you’re planning to start a family, see your healthcare provider for a comprehensive checkup to get a good look at your health. You may also want to begin taking prenatal vitamins or making changes to your lifestyle to set yourself up for staying healthy.

Expecting a new addition to the family? Learn more about how the Family Birthing Center at Touro offers a positive, personalized birthing experience.