Chronic diseases have a great impact on maternal health and pregnancy. Considering that a healthy pregnancy begins before conception, through nutrition and lifestyle habits, treating chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, and obesity (among others) is vital.
According to the United Nations, maternal mortality rates have fallen globally, but the risk for pre-existing medical conditions is still high.
Various studies affirm that, among women of reproductive age (15 to 44 years, according to the WHO), the most common chronic diseases are chronic depression, hypertension and diabetes. This is a challenge that we try to combat as professionals in assisted reproduction and as a fertility clinic.
While we cannot fully state the causes of chronic disease, we do know that genetics, nutrition, physical inactivity, and insufficient culture of preventive medicine have something to do with it.
For us, managing chronic diseases is essential to ensure a healthy pregnancy. For example, hormonal and metabolic changes are part of the development of the placenta and fetus, the latter’s growth is related to conditions ranging from diabetes to hypertension.
In order to identify abnormal conditions or risk factors, specialties have been created such as Maternal Fetal Medicine, which allows the patient to be kept healthy while the baby is developing.
This depends on the specific condition of each patient, the extent of the disease and how it is managed, before and during pregnancy. For example:
A woman with mild hypertension can carry a pregnancy without negative effects. On the other hand, a patient with uncontrolled or severe hypertension has a considerably higher risk of suffering complications such as pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), placental abruption, gestational diabetes, or premature delivery.
At the fertility clinic, we do regular tests to detect the symptoms of pre-eclampsia and monitor the development of the fetus carefully.
If a patient has diabetes, the ideal time to check her glucose level is before planning a natural pregnancy or assisted reproductive treatment.
If diabetes is well controlled, you will not face complications. To prevent any difficulties, in the Maternal Fetal Medicine offices we try to prevent risks such as birth defects, premature delivery or miscarriage.
Although many overweight people can have healthy pregnancies, obesity increases the risk of problems such as miscarriage or macrosomia (the baby is larger than normal).
In Mexico, 32.1% of adults suffer from obesity, so it is extremely important to treat the disease. Not only because it affects pregnancy, but because it increases the chances of developing heart disease or cerebrovascular disease.
Sometimes the symptoms of depression can be confused with the emotional and hormonal changes of pregnancy.
Common signs of depression include sadness and anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and getting little sleep. Its main risk is that it can lead to poor nutrition or behaviors that affect the mother’s mood.
Chronic diseases – developed before or during pregnancy – can influence women’s health beyond the gestational period.
In this aspect, Maternal Fetal Medicine allows diagnosing and treating possible complications in patients and babies. Its main objective is to make a positive change in the health and lifestyle of future mothers.
Some chronic diseases, such as diabetes, can discourage people from having a baby, but it is important to note that a healthy pregnancy can be achieved thanks to medical treatments. In some cases, only small changes such as improving nutrition, increasing exercise, or reducing stress are needed.
Do you want to know more about chronic diseases and how they affect pregnancy? At Citmer, you can request information at our fertility clinic -no-obligation consultation.