Abnormal Conditions & Pregnancy

Abnormal Conditions

& Pregnancy

What is it?

  • Abnormal pregnancy is used to describe pregnancy complications. Abnormal conditions that develop during pregnancy are usually related to the pregnancy or when the mother has diseases not caused by her pregnancy. There are several conditions that can affect pregnancy. Some are listed below:

1. Heart Disorders and Pregnancy

Heart disorder is a range of conditions that affect your heart like blood vessel disease, heart rhythm problems, heart defects, heart infection, and more. 

How does heart disease affect pregnancy?

When you’re pregnant, your heart is working harder than usual to pump blood to you and your baby. If you have heart disease it can cause an unsafe increase in blood pressure in your developing fetus that can lead to pregnancy loss. It also increases your risk of developing pre-eclampsia (extremely high blood pressure during pregnancy). 

In addition, you can develop risks depending on the severity of your heart condition. You may have heart rhythm & valve issues, congestive heart failure, and a congenital heart defect. As the heart works harder throughout the pregnancy it increased the risk of problems. This increases further during labor and delivery. Depending on the type of heart condition, a woman is in danger for up to six months after childbirth. The fetus can be affected in several ways like premature birth, birth defects (similar to the mother), and death if the mother’s heart condition worsens.

  • Some symptoms are similar to normal pregnancy symptoms. Some symptoms that can indicate heart problems while pregnant include: 
    • Bloody cough
    • Fatigue
    • Fainting
    • Chest pain
    • Shortness of breath
    • Palpitations (rapid or irregular heart rate)

It is important that a pregnant woman gets plenty of rest, manages stress, and monitors her BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. Some heart conditions require heart surgery while others only require medications. To ensure a healthy pregnancy, regular prenatal appointments are essential. In addition, a doctor may recommend avoiding certain medications and excess weight. 

2. Thyroid Disease and pregnancy

Thyroid disease is a condition that prevents your thyroid from making the right amount of hormones. Your thyroid makes hormones to help your body function normally. There are two types called hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. 

  • Hyperthyroidism: when the thyroid makes too many hormones. 
  • Hypothyroidism: when the thyroid makes too little hormone
How does Thyroid disease affect pregnancy?

Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can cause premature birth, low birth weight, and miscarriage. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism can cause anemia, low birth weight, miscarriage, stillbirth, and problems with the baby’s growth and brain development.



  • High blood pressure
  • Kidneys problems
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Heart failure
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Skin and hair tinning


  • Feel tired
  • Gain weight
  • Unable to tolerate cold temperatures
  • Face swelling
  • Constipation
  • Skin and hair change
  • Slow heart rate
  • Muscle cramps
  • Irregular menstrual period

If your hyperthyroidism is severe, your doctor may prescribe antithyroid medicine to prevent your thyroid from making more hormones. For hypothyroidism, you’ll be given a thyroid hormone to replace the hormone your own thyroid is unable to make.

3.  Infections and pregnancy

Pregnant women are more prone to getting an infection and so should be very careful not to contract infections, especially those that can cause problems for the baby. Here are some infections common among pregnant women

    a. Syphilis

    It is a bacterial STI that is transmitted by direct contact with a sore called a chancre on an infected person. It can affect the spine and brain and cause partial paralysis, loss of coordination, psychosis (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real), and more. 

     How does Syphilis affect pregnancy?

     Syphilis can have very serious, long-term health consequences for the mother and baby. During pregnancy, Syphilis can increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth weight, passing the infection to the fetus, and organ problems. It is also possible for a mother to transmit the infection to her baby if not treated early on.


    There are four stages of Syphilis and each has different symptoms. 

      • Primary syphilis: developing one or more sores located on the genitals usually. This heals within 6 weeks.
      • Secondary syphilis: developing a rash all over the body;, sores in the mouth, vagina, and anus; gray-white wart-like growths; fever, headaches, fatigue, and other similar symptoms.
      • Latent syphilis: secondary state symptoms disappear
      • Late-stage or tertiary syphilis: developing neurological & cardiovascular issues and organ problems.


    Women usually get screened for syphilis at their first prenatal visit. It is important to get prenatal care as soon as you are aware that you’re infected. Penicillin is the only antibiotic that’s safe to take during pregnancy to successfully treat both mother and baby. The appropriate treatment can decrease your chances of passing syphilis to your baby.

    b. UTI

    Urinary Tract Infection, also called bladder infection, is a bacterial inflammation in the urinary tract consisting of the kidney, bladder, ureters (carries urine from the kidney to the bladder), and urethra (carries urine from the bladder to outside the body). This can cause sepsis (a life-threatening infection in the bloodstream that causes a drop in blood pressure, increase heart rate, and fever), kidney, bladder, and yeast infections.

    How does UTI affect pregnancy?

    UTIs can lead to pregnancy complications such as a kidney infection that can cause early labor, low birth weight, and premature babies. 


        • Pain or burning while urinating
        • Frequent urination
        • Blood in the urine
        • Pain in the lower abdomen & during intercourse
        • Urine that is cloudy and foul-smelling
        • For kidney infections: fever, chills, nausea, and vomiting


    UTIs are treated with antibiotics safe for the baby, such as amoxicillin or penicillin, for 3-7 days. Symptoms usually disappear in 3 days, but you must continue your medication as scheduled.

    c. HIV

    It is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system. It can be transmitted through intercourse, sharing needles, syringes, or other sharp objects used by an infected person. If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) which is the late stage of HIV infection caused by the weakening of the immune system. 

    How does HIV affect pregnancy?

    A fetus can get HIV from its mother by her infected blood or other fluids (even after birth through breastfeeding). This can cause low birth weight, preterm labor, low birth weight, perinatal mortality, high blood pressure, diabetes, and growth restriction in the baby.


    Symptoms will appear in 3-6 weeks and last for less than 10 days. Symptoms can include: 

    • Fever
    • Night sweats
    • Fatigue 
    • Rash
    • Headache
    • Swelling in your neck, armpits, & groin
    • Sore throat
    • Body ache, joint pains
    • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

    After symptoms have disappeared, the virus continues to multiply and attack until the immune system breaks down. This may take 10 years. 


    There is no cure for HIV. Once you get HIV, you have it for life. However, it can be controlled for you to live a long and healthy life. A mother can prevent passing HIV to her baby with antiretroviral treatment. This reduces the risk of passing your baby HIV to less than 1%. 

    Most HIV medicines are safe during pregnancy and will not increase the risk of birth defects. You have to take extra precautions to avoid getting others infections since HIV reduces your immunity. Practicing good hygiene, healthy eating, and exercise are critical to a healthy pregnancy.