Avoiding Pregnancy Complications When You Have Chronic Health Conditions
Diabetes Women with poorly managed insulin-dependent diabetes are four to six times more likely to give birth to a baby with birth defects than nondiabetic women. This is why it's so important for diabetic women to make sure their blood sugar is properly controlled prior to and during pregnancy.
Epilepsy Women who are epileptic need to seriously consider the risks of pregnancy complications that come with taking anti-seizure medications during pregnancy. Some medications increase the chance of giving birth to a baby with birth defects. But on the flip side, seizures can be harmful to the developing fetus, too. Lupus Women with lupus—an autoimmune disorder which causes the body to attack its own tissues—are at increased risk of experiencing pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or preterm labor. As a rule of thumb, women with lupus, who have been symptom free for six months prior to conceiving, are likely to have a healthy pregnancy. Hypertension Women with chronic high blood pressure have an increased risk of pregnancy complications, like placental problems and fetal growth restriction. A change in medications may allow a pregnant woman with chronic high blood pressure to control her condition without harming her baby. Heart Disease Women with heart disease or kidney problems may require a change in medication, as well as very close monitoring to avoid pregnancy complications. PKU Women with phenylketonuria (PKU)—an inherited body-chemistry disorder in which the body is unable to process a particular type of amino acid (a building block of protein)—must follow a very special diet in order to prevent mental retardation and birth defects in their babies.