Pregnancy Problems – part 4
Angioedema and anaphylaxis
The onset of angioedema, which is simply swelling, often accompanying anaphylaxis, is a major medical concern at all times during a pregnancy.
The patients affected by anaphylaxis may go into shock and can die if not treated. This condition is a form of systemic allergic reaction; attacks cause airways to swell and close – blocking the passage of air into the respiratory passages. The prevention of anaphylaxis from affecting the woman is a major and important goal during the term of pregnancy, especially if the woman is prone to develop such allergic reactions.
Immediate and thorough medical treatment must be taken at once if the condition affects the woman at any time. The danger and risks to the fetus and the mother increases if there are any delays or if there is a reduction in the quality of the standard treatments used to treat the disorder.
The consumption of certain foods is related to the exercise induced anaphylaxis in some cases. The avoidance of such foods is the simplest remedy in such cases. The best option is to avoid such foods and not to exercise till several hours have passed following a meal. If past attacks of anaphylaxis were triggered by bouts of exercising, then the same level of physical exercise should not be continued during the term of pregnancy.
An anaphylactic episode is apparently never triggered during the rigors of labor, however, all the symptoms and signs of exercise – induced anaphylaxis still remain a mystery and it is not known which events are most likely to trigger them.
Also rare and undocumented are the conditions known as idiopathic anaphylaxis, these are cases of anaphylaxis for which no possible cause has been found – though rare, they may affect some patients. The oral steroids have been used to treat pregnant patients affected by episodes of such anaphylaxis. The effectiveness of such treatments and their effects on the pregnant woman has not been studied in detail and this is an area that requires further investigations.
All women who tend to suffer from either one of these disorders must find a medical specialist or go to a specialized care center which has experience in treating these disorders – these steps must be taken before conceiving the child, such precautionary measures will ensure the proper treatment is available when or if the disorder strikes during the term of pregnancy.
Another dangerous and rare condition is the hereditary form of angioedema; this produces swelling in the throat and may result in the death of the woman. This form of the condition is much better studied than the two disorders given above. The symptoms of this condition tend to recede during the actual term of pregnancy in women affected by it. A study conducted on some pregnant women, indicated that twenty three of the twenty five women actually experienced much fewer symptoms or no sudden attacks of the condition during their term of pregnancy.
The usual way to treat cases of hereditary angioedema is through the use of hormones, which are chemically related to the male hormone testosterone-the use of these hormones is not recommended in the treatment of pregnant women as it can cause severe complications to the health of the fetus.
The development of the fetus can be severely disrupted by these hormones especially when they are used during the initial weeks of a term of pregnancy. Therefore, it is advised that good contraceptive medications must be undertaken by all women of childbearing age who might be taking them for treatment against the condition. A doctor will advise the patient on the best time to discontinue the use of medication, especially where the patient is on hormone therapy and plans to get pregnant soon.
Women who typically have a bout of hay fever every season, and in whom the symptoms are bad enough to warrant the use of medication, may perhaps benefit from planning the pregnancy so that the first trimester does not fall in the hay fever season – this simple timing of the pregnancy term will avoid all the disagreeable discomfort and other complications that can be induced by a bout of hay fever.
Only those medications and prescription drugs that are declared safe for use by a pregnant woman, must be used during these initial three months of the pregnancy – the best option is to use no medication whatsoever, or to use as few drugs as possible during a pregnancy.
The fetus is extremely vulnerable during this first trimester of a pregnancy, and all women must consult with a doctor before contemplating the use of any medication during the period in which they might conceive and during the term of pregnancy itself. Another important thing is to check whether the chemical used in the drug poses any risk to the developing fetus in the womb.
Women may consider participating in immunotherapy sessions, if that are affected by rhinitis or if they tend to have severe seasonal rhinitis – this is especially so where they anticipate becoming pregnant in a year or so, from the date of starting the sessions. This treatment may remove the need for the use of any medication during pregnancy and all good candidates for this form of treatment, may be benefited by this preventive remedy – the risk of complications is removed when women do not use drugs or medications during a term of pregnancy.
The safety of immunotherapy during a term of pregnancy has been demonstrated in a large study conducted on a group of pregnant women who underwent the immunotherapy treatment. The best time to begin sessions of immunotherapy is much before a term of pregnancy, this will not only ensure that the condition of the patient improves by the time of pregnancy – an early start also lessens the risk of an adverse reaction to a shot of the medication, once a maintenance dose is achieved on the woman, the risk of a reaction is reduced considerably.
During a term of pregnancy, a woman already affected by a case of allergic rhinitis might find her condition worsening and developing other complications. Even in woman who have no case history of such a condition – the disorder known as vasomotor rhinitis is of rather common occurrence during the term of pregnancy in the majority of cases.
A worsening of the disorder may be observed in at least one-third of all pregnant women who have a pre-existing rhinitis condition and many more symptoms and complications may result due to this factor. Improvement from the condition is seen in approximately one-fifth of women during a term of pregnancy. In addition, no observable change is apparent in at least half of such women.
Pregnant women are more likely to develop a complication in rhinitis or sinusitis – and such complications are at least six times more common in pregnant women compared to women who are not pregnant.
Another very important factor during a pregnancy is to avoid all types of allergens – and the primary treatment used in all allergy medications – a lot of complications may result for the woman if this is not done. Pregnant women must be kept in a safe environment that has been cleared of all potential and real allergens – the home must be allergen free and shut or screened so that allergens from the out-of-doors cannot easily find their way inside the house.