Navigate Up

Pregnancy Center - A-Z Index

J
K
Q
X
Z

Print This Page

Health Conditions That Complicate Pregnancy

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.

Updated: 12/9/2012

Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com