Find information on medical topics, symptoms, drugs, procedures, news and more, written in everyday language.

* This is the Consumer Version. *

Overview of Disease During Pregnancy

by Lara A. Friel, MD, PhD

Certain disorders, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can increase the risk of problems during pregnancy. If women who have such a disorder wish to become pregnant, they should first talk with a doctor and try to get in the best physical condition possible before they become pregnant. After such women become pregnant, they may need special care, often from an interdisciplinary team. The team may include an obstetrician (who may also be a specialist in care of the disorder during pregnancy), a specialist in the disorder, and other health care practitioners (such as nutritionists).

Sometimes disorders that are not directly related to pregnancy develop during pregnancy. Some of them increase the risk of problems for pregnant women or the fetus. They include disorders that cause a high fever, infections, and disorders that require abdominal surgery.

Some disorders are more likely to occur during pregnancy because of the many changes pregnancy causes in a woman’s body. Examples are blood clots in the legs or lungs (thromboembolic disorders), anemia, and urinary tract infections.