Chronic Conditions and Pregnancy

When women with chronic medical disorders become pregnant, special care must be taken to address both the affects the pregnancy can have on their medical condition, and the complications their medical condition may cause during pregnancy.

Some examples include:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Hepatitis
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Thyroid conditions

Before You Get Pregnant

Before trying to conceive, meet with your regular doctor and with an OB/GYN who specializes in medical conditions and pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare professionals about:

  • The risks to you and the baby
  • How to manage your disease during pregnancy
  • Increased symptoms during pregnancy
  • Possible complications
  • Changes required in your treatment
  • Tests that might need to be performed

In some cases, the risks to the woman's health may be so high the doctor may advise against pregnancy.

Can I take my medications during pregnancy?

Medications taken during pregnancy can affect the baby. Your healthcare providers will determine what medications and dosages can be taken, risks involved, and how any changes in medication might affect your condition. Be sure to take your medications exactly as prescribed.

What can I do to prevent complications?

A successful pregnancy starts by taking the best possible care of yourself, optimizing your health before you get pregnant. Throughout your pregnancy, visit your doctor regularly for close monitoring of your health and the health of your baby - don't skip any appointments. Take your medications exactly as prescribed and contact your doctor if you experience any unusual signs or symptoms.

How will my condition affect labor and delivery?

Depending on your medical condition, your doctor may recommend you deliver your baby in a facility that specializes in high-risk pregnancies.

Your OB/GYN specialist will advise you on the safest time and delivery method for you and your baby. While your focus after delivery will be on your newborn, don't neglect your own healthcare needs. The best thing you can do for your new baby is to continue taking the best possible care of yourself.

Will I be able to breastfeed my baby?

While breastfeeding is normally encouraged, in some cases medications the mother is taking can have adverse affects on the infant. Talk to your OB/GYN specialist about any concerns regarding breastfeeding.