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FAQ034, September 2014

What is high blood pressure? Blood pressure is the pressure of the blood against the blood vessel walls each time the heart contracts (squeezes) to pump the blood through your body (see FAQ123 Managing High Blood Pressure). High blood pressure also is called hypertension. Hypertension can lead to health problems. During pregnancy, severe or uncontrolled hypertension can cause complications for you and your baby.


132.
June 2014

FAQ065, June 2014

What are the dangers of smoking? Smoking is a leading cause of death in women. Lung cancer causes more deaths in women than any other type of cancer, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Another smoking-related disease, heart disease, is currently the number one killer of women in the United States. Death occurs earlier in women who smoke. On average, female smokers die 12 years earlier than female nonsmokers.


FAQ169, June 2014

What are some of the common skin changes that occur during pregnancy? Many women notice changes to their skin, nails, and hair during pregnancy. Some of the most common changes include the following: Dark spots on the breasts, nipples, or inner thighs Melasma—brown patches on the face around the cheeks, nose, and forehead Linea nigra—a dark line that runs from the navel to the pubic hair Stretch marks Acne Spider veins Varicose veins Changes in nail and hair growth


FAQ165, April 2014

What is a birth defect? A birth defect is a problem that is present at birth, although it may not be noticed until the child is older. Birth defects may affect any part of the body, including major organs such as the heart, lungs, or brain. The defect may affect the baby’s appearance, a body function, or both.


FAQ120, January 2014

What are some common digestive problems? Common digestive problems include the following: • Constipation • Diarrhea • Acid reflux • Hemorrhoids Most common digestive problems are short term and easy to control with lifestyle changes and sometimes medication. In some cases, these problems can be a sign of more serious medical problems.


136.
December 2013

FAQ091, December 2013

What are the postpartum blues? About 2–3 days after childbirth, some women begin to feel depressed, anxious, and upset. They may feel angry with the new baby, their partners, or their other children.


FAQ183, December 2013

What is pelvic organ prolapse? Pelvic organ prolapse is a disorder in which one or more of the pelvic organs drop from their normal position (see FAQ012 Pelvic Support Problems). What organs can be affected by pelvic organ prolapse? The organs that can be affected include the following: • Uterus • Top of the vagina in women who have had a hysterectomy (the vaginal vault) • Front (anterior) wall of the vagina (usually with the bladder, which is called a cystocele) • Back (posterior) wall of the vagina (usually with the rectum, which is called a rectocele) • The pouch between the rectum...


138.
November 2013

FAQ130, November 2013

Why is it important to eat a healthy diet? Your body needs a balanced supply of nutrients to grow, replace worn-out tissue, and provide energy. Not getting enough of these important nutrients can affect your health. However, eating too much food and excess calories can lead to health problems.


FAQ093, November 2013

What are hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections? Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are serious infections that affect the liver. Both diseases are contagious and caused by viruses. Both can lead to serious, long-term illness.


FAQ098, November 2013

Why may special tests be needed during pregnancy? Special testing during pregnancy most often is done when the fetus is at increased risk of problems that could result in pregnancy complications or lead to stillbirth. This can occur in the following situations: High-risk pregnancy (a woman has had complications in a previous pregnancy or has a preexisting health condition such as diabetes or heart disease) Problems during pregnancy, such as fetal growth problems, Rh sensitization, or high blood pressure Decreased movement of the fetus Pregnancy that goes past 42 weeks (postterm pregnancy...


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