Pregnancy can be one of the most joyous times in a woman's life. It is also a time when all attention is focused on maintaining optimal health. For women with chronic asthma, maintaining adequate asthma control during pregnancy is of particular importance. Poorly controlled asthma may compromise the health of both mother and baby, and complicate labor and delivery.

Vaginal bleeding

Bleeding from the vagina during pregnancy can be a danger sign, so it is always advisable to contact your GP or midwife straight away. Some causes of bleeding are more serious than others, so it is a good idea to find out straight away.

In the early stages of pregnancy, bleeding may be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy; however that is not always the case. A lot of women, who experience bleeding, do go on to have successful pregnancies. Bleeding can be due to the placenta implanting in the lower part of the uterus (placenta praevia) or the placenta beginning to come away from the uterus (placental abruption).

Thyroid Problems

One of every twenty women develop thyroid inflammation within a few months after delivery of their baby, a condition called postpartum thyroiditis. This form of thyroid inflammation is painless and causes little or no gland enlargement. However, the condition interferes with the gland's production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone may leak out of the inflamed gland in large amounts, causing hyperthyroidism that lasts for several weeks. Later on, the injured gland may not be able to make enough thyroid hormone, resulting in temporary hypothyroidism.

Urinary incontinence

Lying across the bottom of your pelvis is an important muscle called the pelvic floor, and one of its jobs is to support your bladder. During pregnancy your pelvic floor is stretched and sometimes damaged. This can lead to stress incontinence where the bladder leaks a small amount of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, jump or run. You will be encouraged by your midwife to do pelvic floor exercises both during and after pregnancy to strengthen this muscle and reduce the risk of stress incontinence. Your midwife can give you more information on these exercises.

Changes to your hair

Hormone changes during pregnancy may make your hair thicker and grow faster. You may find that your hair also falls out faster - but don't worry - it's just because your hair is growing faster.

Sleeping Problems

In the last three months of pregnancy women may have difficulty sleeping. They might have problems falling asleep, getting comfortable or be troubled by unpleasant dreams and nightmares. Women who were able to sleep a lot in the early stages of pregnancy may find themselves sleeping very little during the final stage mainly because of the many physical changes taking place.

Thromboembolic Disease

In the United States, thromboembolic disease is the leading cause of death in pregnant women. In thromboembolic disease, blood clots form in blood vessels. They may travel through the bloodstream and block an artery. The risk of developing thromboembolic disease is increased for about 6 to 8 weeks after delivery. Most complications due to blood clots result from injuries that occur during delivery. The risk is much greater after a cesarean section than after vaginal delivery.

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