Because pregnancy is associated with increased blood volume and increased cardiac output as well as other changes in the circulatory system, many types of heart disease can worsen or be associated with poor outcomes during pregnancy. While many mild chronic heart conditions can be well tolerated during pregnancy, other conditions pose a significant risk to the mother and fetus. Women with pre-existing heart disease should always consult with Gynaecologist Singapore when planning a pregnancy to check their own risk level, their potential baby outcome, and treatment options.
Hereditary (genetic) disease and pregnancy planning
Certain diseases, such as Tay-Sachs, sickle cell anaemia, haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, and certain genetic diseases are genetically inherited. A healthy partner with a family history of this condition can itself be a carrier of genetic traits. Diagnostic tests can be performed to screen out certain genetic traits before becoming pregnant. Genetic counselling is given to couples who may carry genetic diseases as part of pregnancy planning.
Older women have an increased risk of having babies with chromosomal abnormalities, leading to cognitive defects and other birth defects. Chromosomal abnormalities (such as Down syndrome) can cause birth defects and cognitive defects. Pregnant women older than 35 years or have other risk factors may consider amniocentesis to detect this chromosomal abnormality. During amniocentesis, a sample of amniotic fluid is sucked from the uterus. Chromosome analysis can be performed on fetal cells in the amniotic fluid.
Phenylketonuria is an inherited disease that affects the utilisation of certain protein components in foods known as phenylalanine. This disorder can be detected by blood tests. Mothers with phenylketonuria may give birth to children with developmental disabilities unless the child’s diet is strictly controlled by excluding the phenylalanine content in the diet.
In addition, there are also questions that arise related to having sex during pregnancy. Sexual intercourse during pregnancy is safe for most women. Special situations in which women may be advised to avoid sexual intercourse include a history of more than one miscarriage, previous premature birthing history, infection, bleeding, amniotic fluid leakage, and a condition called placenta previa or low-lying placenta. Placenta previa is a condition when the placenta is embedded near the birth canal of the uterus so that at the time of birth the placenta scouts the baby. Placenta previa can create painless bleeding in the last trimester of pregnancy and may be the reason for giving birth with section caesarian.