Pregnancy Disorder -Disorders associated with pregnancy
Definition of disorder: Disorder as defined by Oxford English Dictionary as a set of problems that result in causing significant distress, impairment and/or suffering in a person’s daily life.
It is the period that spans from the conception of a child till the delivery of a child. It is usually 40 weeks or two hundred and eighty days (9 months).
Disorders associated with pregnancy are major and minor disorders. Let look at the minor disorders:
- Morning Sickness: Morning sickness is not common to all women but to those with a sensitive nervous system. As the name implies, it happens in the morning. The woman usually vomits in the morning. It is experienced between the fourth week to the fourteenth week of the pregnancy.
This vomiting occurs immediately after leaving the bed and may prevent appetite. This vomiting is caused by the low amount of glucose in the body. Then the body uses fat in place of glucose for metabolic processes. This process produces ketone bodies which trigger vomiting. Treatment: Foods that have a lot of fat content should be avoided as night meals. Light meals should be taken before going to bed. Enough water should also be taken as well. Tea and bread is most preferable. Whatever is consumed should have enough glucose in it.
- Heart Burn: This is a burning sensation felt around the chest region. This happens when the gastric acid flows into the oesophagus. The best remedy is to avoid oily, spicy and indigestible foods. Taking milk or hot water could be of help. When lying down, it is advisable to use a soft pillow. This will help raise the head thereby preventing the flow of gastric acid into the oesophagus.
- Varicose Veins of the Leg: Some women usually have varicose veins on their legs. It occurs only during pregnancy. They can generate a lot of pain. When the blood that flows in the uterus increases, it causes a ………… in the venous which will then return to the leg thereby causing the veins to be prominent. The woman will experience itching and pains in the affected vein. In this case, the pregnant woman is advised to avoid wearing tight cloth, sit more and stand less, raise her feet up when sitting.
- Fainting: Fainting during pregnancy may be caused by the following: (a) staying in a crowd and stuffy place for a long time, (b) standing for a long time in the hot scorching sun, (c) pressure of the uterus on the inferior vena cava, (d) the arterial tone that controls the medulla oblongata in the centre of the vasomotor becomes frequently unstable. The instability causes a drop in the flow of blood and (e) fatigue also causes fainting in pregnancy. It is advisable to eat less and avoid overfeeding. The tight cloth should not be worn to a crowded place. But if fainting occurs often, the pregnant woman should see a doctor.
- Haemorrhoids: This is known as swollen veins in the anus and rectum. It is usually experienced in the third trimester. It happens when the uterus (increased in size) put pressure on the veins in the anus. It can be very painful. She may experience itching and bleeding before and after bowel movements. If it is not a serious one, soothing cream should be applied. Magnesium sulphate crystals should be added to bathing water.
- Itching on the skin: It is common in pregnancy. It is caused by the effect of hormones on the skin. Lotion should be applied.
Others include constipation, pruritus vulva.
Major Disorders in Pregnancy
Major disorders in pregnancy require the urgent attention of medical personnel.
1. Gravidarum: This is when the woman vomits throughout the day and her health becomes worst. Due to prolong vomiting, the woman becomes weak, the eye becomes dull and sunken, breathing is abnormal, the tongue is brown and coated, the urine becomes dark in colour (if examined contains ketones and chlorides), double vision and dimness of vision.
In this case, the pregnant woman should be taken to the hospital for immediate attention as the life of the mother and the baby or babies are at stake.
Hypertension: In pregnancy, especially before the 20th week, the blood pressure is about 140/90. There are two types during pregnancy i.e severe hypertension 150/95 mmHg and mild hypertension 140/90 – 150/95 mmHg.
In case of mild hypertension, the pregnant woman is usually advised to have enough sleep every day if possible sedative drugs should be taken at the doctor’s prescription, salt should be restricted in meals.
In case of severe hypertension, drugs, as prescribed by the doctor, should be taken. In fact, it requires adequate medical attention. Other major disorders are pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.
Pregnancy is a stage in a woman’s life that should be treated with carefulness. Any disorder should be treated immediately most especially the major ones.