What is the Pathophysiology of Pregnancy?

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Right from the moment of conception, a woman’s body undergoes numerous changes, affecting all the internal organ systems. As a result of these changes, a pregnant woman’s physiology varies from that of non-pregnant women. Apart from physiological changes, any anomalies during the pregnancy period can result in even more complications within the expecting woman and the growing fetus. It is crucial for healthcare professionals to understand the changes a woman’s body typically undergoes during pregnancy and also be able to tell the symptoms that are abnormal.

Pathophysiology of pregnancy

Pathophysiology of pregnancy refers to the abnormalities that occur as a result of physiological changes in woman’s body. Placenta plays a major supporting role throughout pregnancy and any anomalies in the formation of placenta can lead to complications for both the mother and her baby.

Pathophysiology of Pregnancy

Preeclampsia  

Preeclampsia is categorised into two types. Preeclampsia with severe features  and preeclampsia without severe features. These are diagnosed by monitoring blood pressure of pregnant women. In case of preeclampsia without severe features, it maybe possible for the doctors to deliver the baby at 37 weeks. If this condition shows up before the completion of 37 weeks, they will be closely monitored.

Symptoms of preeclampsia with severe features include high blood pressure, combined with at least one of these features such as renal issues, visual disturbances, pulmonary edema and decreased liver functioning. In this case, doctors may deliver the baby at 34 weeks and further treatment needs to be given to the mother postpartum. Some pregnant women diagnosed with severe features condition of preeclampsia may also develop HELLP syndrome.

Eclampsia

Pregnant women with preeclampsia may develop eclampsia when seizures occur. This condition may occur in both types of preeclampsia. Treatment needs to be given to control blood pressure and seizures. Doctors may deliver the baby, once the condition of the mother is stable.

Placenta previa

This condition occurs as a result of abnormal placental implantation. The placenta may be in a low lying position, if it is in lower uterine region. When a pregnant woman enters third trimester, her lower uterine area begins to thin and this causes disruption of the attachment and internal bleeding. The bleeding in uterus can simulate contractions and this may lead to separation of the placenta and bleeding. During labor, as the cervix begins to stretch, more bleeding may take place. As a result, the pregnant woman may suffer haemorrhage. Such critical condition in pregnancy needs to be monitored closely and the baby may need to be delivered early through cesarean.

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