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Pregnancy Complications: What Diseases and Conditions Can Cause Problems During Pregnancy?

Medically reviewed by Mary Rani Cadiz, MD · Obstetrics and Gynecology

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 20, 2022

    Pregnancy Complications: What Diseases and Conditions Can Cause Problems During Pregnancy?

    Health is extremely important during pregnancy. The healthier a mother is, the healthier her child, and the better the pregnancy will be. One way to ensure this is to be aware of any possible health problems during pregnancy.

    Health problems during pregnancy to watch out for

    One of the reasons why doctors recommend regular checkups during pregnancy is to keep tabs on a pregnant woman’s health. This is because certain health problems that might not be serious for non-pregnant women, can be a serious concern if she gets pregnant.

    Knowing the symptoms of what problems to watch out for can help avoid these health problems, and ensure better outcomes for pregnant women1.

    Here are some health problems to watch out for:

    UTI or urinary tract infections

    A UTI or urinary tract infection is usually caused by a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. This can cause symptoms such as pain when urinating, wanting to urinate often, cloudy or reddish urine, pain in the genitals, and back pain.

    For pregnant women, treating UTI is very important because it can sometimes lead to infection of the kidneys (pyelonephritis). This can sometimes lead to sepsis or severe infection which affects the whole body. Urinary tract infection, although may sound common, can be a problem during pregnancy because it may cause preterm labor, premature birth, and in some cases, infection of the baby.

    So if you notice any signs of UTI, be sure to visit your doctor so that something can be done about it as soon as possible.


    Anemia is one of the possible health problems during pregnancy2. This is a condition wherein a person has lower than the regular amount of healthy red blood cells. It causes symptoms such as tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and feeling weak.

    For pregnant women, anemia can cause premature birth, and just like with UTI, this can be harmful to the baby as the baby may also be anemic. So if you are anemic, or you notice the signs of anemia, it would be a good idea to take iron and folic acid supplements and talk to your doctor about it.

    STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases)

    STDs during pregnancy can be a big problem. This is because STDs can cause pregnancy complications such as premature birth, stillbirth, and birth defects3. In particular, untreated gonorrhea has been linked to miscarriage, and genital herpes can infect the unborn fetus and cause organ damage, among other problems.

    This is why pregnant women are recommended to take an STD test in order to check for any possible infections that they might not be aware of. This way, they can be treated before they cause serious problems to the unborn baby.


    Infections caused by viruses and bacteria are serious health problems during pregnancy4.

    Here are some infections to watch out for:

    • Chickenpox – Having chickenpox during pregnancy can cause complications for both the pregnant mother and her baby. While the risk of developing it during pregnancy is low, it’s still a good idea to stay safe and try to avoid people with chickenpox if you’re pregnant and not immune to the infection. Better yet, before planning to get pregnant, get vaccinated with Varicella vaccine.
    • Group B streptococcus – In most cases, group B streptococcus is not a serious problem during pregnancy. This is usually found around the woman’s rectum or vagina. However, there is a small chance that it can infect the baby when delivered vaginally which can lead to serious problems. If you’re concerned about this infection, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.
    • Toxoplasmosis – This is a type of infection caused by an organism that is found in cat poop. This is a very serious infection for unborn babies, so if you are pregnant and own a cat, it might be a good idea to keep your distance in the meantime.
    • HepatitisHepatitis is an infection that pregnant mothers can pass on to their baby if they are infected. Get tested for hepatitis before trying to get pregnant, in order to get the right treatment as soon as possible.
    • Rubella or German measles – Rubella during pregnancy can potentially cause birth defects and miscarriage. So it’s important to get vaccinated for rubella before trying to get pregnant.
    • Zika virus –  Lastly, the zika virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, can cause babies to develop microcephaly. This is a condition wherein the baby has an abnormally small head. This can be easily avoided by taking steps to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

    Mental health concerns

    Lastly, mental health concerns should be addressed during pregnancy. This is important because some women can develop postpartum depression, and the hormonal changes during pregnancy can also affect any preexisting mental health concerns a mother might have.

    Seeking help during pregnancy can help mothers better cope with their condition.

    Learn more about Pregnancy Problems here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 20, 2022

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