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Pregnancy Problems

During pregnancy, your health is number one priority. That’s why we went straight to top pregnancy health experts for all the details you want to know about the most common pregnancy problems. In our pregnancy problems guide, you can read about a slew of pregnancy conditions – everything from hemorrhoids to gestational diabetes. Find out what any pregnancy symptom could possibly mean (are you swollen just because you’re expecting, or is it a sign of some complication?) and find out whether or not it’s worth a call to your OB. If you already know you’ve got a pregnancy complication or health condition, our comprehensive articles will give you the scoop on its causes and how it can affect you and baby. Plus, get treatment tips straight from medical experts and pregnant women like you. Yup, we've got answers to all your questions about pregnancy health problems right here!

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High Cholesterol During Pregnancy

How having high cholesterol during pregnancy can affect you and baby -- and what you can do about it.

What is high cholesterol during pregnancy?

Also known as hypercholesterolemia, high blood cholesterol means you have too much cholesterol (you guessed it) in your blood. Cholesterol is a type of fat that your body needs to function, but too much can clog your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

What are the signs of high cholesterol during pregnancy?

There aren’t really any outward signs that your cholesterol levels are higher than normal -- you’ll pretty much feel the same as you would with “normal” levels. But if they stay high for a long time, the cholesterol can cause atherosclerosis (a buildup of cholesterol and fat) in your artery walls, which can lead to something more serious, like a heart attack or stroke.

Are there any tests for high cholesterol?

A simple blood test can determine your cholesterol levels.

How common is high cholesterol during pregnancy?

It’s very common for your cholesterol levels to be high when you’re expecting. “Normal” cholesterol levels are usually between 120 and 190 mg/dl, but in pregnancy they can be well over 200 mg/dl.

How did I get high cholesterol?

Your cholesterol levels naturally rise during pregnancy and while nursing, because your body is producing more cholesterol as part of its many hormonal changes.

How will my high cholesterol affect my baby?

It probably won’t. However, if your total cholesterol levels go too high (over 240) your doctor may want to do additional tests or recheck your levels after your baby is born, to make sure you’re not at risk for scary problems (see next page for treatments and prevention).

-- Christian Hoffman, MD, medical director and chair of the department of obstetrics/gynecology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton in Hamilton, New Jersey

 

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