Whether you’ve been planning to get pregnant or if you were surprised by the news, at some point, the initial emotions subside and you get into the planning stages. Prenatal care, notifying loved ones, picking out names, and decorating the baby’s room, is all time-consuming and exciting. If you have a chronic health condition, this time may also come with additional concerns about how it may affect your baby.
How does chronic illness affect pregnancy? Is there anything you can do to make things better for your child?
How Chronic Health Conditions Affect Pregnancy
The first thing to know is that there are plenty of women who have chronic health conditions who go on to have successful, healthy pregnancies. However, in order to do so, you need to work closely with your OB-GYN, primary care physician, and specialists to manage your illness throughout the entirety of your pregnancy.
Common Chronic Health Conditions That Affect Pregnancy
Some of the most common chronic ailments affecting pregnant women include:
- Autoimmune diseases
- High blood pressure
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ulcerative colitis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Psychiatric disorders
Working with your team of medical providers throughout your pregnancy is essential to avoid complications that could affect you and your baby’s wellbeing.
5 Things You Can Do to Increase the Likelihood of a Healthy Pregnancy
There are also several things you can do to increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Your weight before and during pregnancy are indicators of your future health and the health of your baby. Being overweight or obese, on its own, is enough to increase the risk of pregnancy complications, such as developing gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or premature birth.
- Determine whether medications need to be modified. This is a decision you can only make with your doctors. While certain medications are safe to use during pregnancy, others may cause serious or fatal consequences. Also, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly updates their information; therefore, even if a specific medication was regarded as safe to use during one of your previous pregnancies, there may be recent discoveries that have removed it from the safe list.
- Plan ahead for flare-ups. Some women with chronic conditions don’t experience any issues during pregnancy. However, developing a treatment plan in advance will make it significantly easier to manage Crohn’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis flareups. In addition, doing so can help you prevent complications such as premature or low birth weight.
- Mind your diet. Depending on your health ailment, your doctor may recommend specific foods to stabilize blood sugar levels, avoid inflammation, and to get particular nutrients that may help keep your chronic condition under control.
- Ask for emotional support when you need it. Pregnancy is an intense time; a roller coaster ride that’s exacerbated by hormonal changes. Add that to worries related to chronic illness, or anxiety or depression related to mental health issues, and you end up with additional challenges during gestation. Talking openly about any mental health concerns with your doctor means that you’ll gain easier access to counseling, psychological therapy, prescription medications, or lifestyle modification suggestions to help manage what you’re going through.
Keep in mind that some of these recommendations may also extend throughout the time you’re breastfeeding your child, should you opt to feed your baby that way.
Call OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch for More Information
At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we provide a variety of services for every woman. No matter your age, we’ll help you feel comfortable and answer all of your reproductive health-related questions.