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3 Important Things to Know During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a time of bliss, but there are also a myriad of symptoms and side effects that can pop up throughout each trimester. Something obstetricians say they wish more women knew: seemingly small problems might not be small during pregnancy.

“Too often patients think, ‘Oh, I’m having this symptom or that, but it’s Sunday night, and I have an appointment in the morning. I’ll just wait,’” said Chief of Services for Hoag’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Program, David Lagrew, M.D. “They will think that they don’t want to bother their doctors. What I tell all my patients is, ‘I will only be mad if you don’t call me.’”

Small elevations in blood pressure can signal the beginning of preeclampsia and hypertension, which could lead to stroke. Headaches could signal aneurysms.

“It’s critical to take a pregnant woman’s health complaints seriously to ensure the health of the mother and unborn baby,” said Dr. Lagrew.

Dr. Lagrew shares a few important things women can keep on their radar when it comes to their health during their pregnancy:

Know Your Family History. Only 1% of the general population has cerebral aneurysms, but the risk can be as high as 30% in some families. If you’re at increased risk, Dr. Lagrew recommends seeing a neurologist before becoming pregnant. “Brain aneurysms during pregnancy are rare, accounting for 3% of all maternal deaths, but there are treatments that can reduce a woman’s risk of rupture if caught early,” he said.



Monitor Your Blood Pressure. You probably know that high blood pressure is a risk factor for cerebral aneurysm, stroke and heart attacks. What you might not know is that, in pregnancy, what constitutes high blood pressure is different than for non-pregnant people. “In non-pregnant patients a blood pressure of 120/80 is normal, but in pregnancy that is considered elevated. And 160/100, which some physicians see as fine in the non-pregnant population, is not OK for pregnant women. We have worked hard to get the word out at Hoag, and have a policy in place to treat maternal blood pressure issues right away,” Dr. Lagrew said.



Don’t Wait. The needs of pregnant women and their babies are vastly different from the rest of the population. Hoag developed the county’s first obstetrics emergency department to address expectant mothers’ unique urgent and emergency medical issues. “If you are pregnant and are having an issue, come to the OB/ED, because we are quicker to respond to pregnancy related problems,” Dr. Lagrew said. “We have OB hospitalists and maternal fetal medicine specialists who can respond right away. You don’t want to wait.”



For more information or to find a Hoag OBGYN, please click here.