Everything You Should Know About Kidney Health And Pregnancy

The kidneys are essential organs that filter waste materials, control blood pressure, and preserve the body’s electrolyte balance. The kidneys have to work considerably harder during pregnancy to remove waste products from the growing baby as well as the mother. The kidneys may be further taxed by this increased workload, particularly in women who already have renal disease.

Changes in Physiology During Pregnancy

Significant physiological changes brought on by pregnancy have an impact on renal function. Among them are:

  • Increased blood volume: To support the developing foetus, the body’s blood volume can rise by up to 30% to 50% during pregnancy. The kidneys have to work harder to filter the excess volume as a result.
  • Hormonal alterations: The pregnancy hormones, particularly progesterone, cause elevated progesterone levels that reduce ureteral peristalsis. The ureter dilates over the pelvic brim as a result of this decrease in peristalsis. As we shall see in more detail, this normal physiological process called hydronephrosis can cause urine to get stagnant, which may raise the risk of kidney stones and make diagnosis more difficult.

Hazards of Kidney Disease During Pregnancy

While most women who have healthy kidneys go through their pregnancies normally, individuals who already have renal disease need to be closely monitored and receive specialised care. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is one pre-existing condition that might raise the risk of problems for both mother and child, including:

  • Preeclampsia: An illness that arises during pregnancy that is marked by elevated blood pressure and indications of harm to other organ systems, like the kidneys.
  • Preterm birth: The baby is delivered before the full 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Low birth weight: Infants weighing less 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs).
  • Elevated maternal mortality: The possibility of a woman passing away as a result of difficulties during pregnancy.

The Value of Early Identification and Treatment

Improving the prognosis of pre-existing renal disease requires early detection and treatment. Before becoming pregnant, women with a history of kidney disease should speak with their healthcare provider about the possible dangers and essential safety measures. Managing renal health during pregnancy requires routine prenatal care, which includes blood pressure monitoring and renal function testing.

Improving Kidney Function While Expecting

There are steps that can be taken to improve kidney health during pregnancy, even in women who do not have any kidney disease beforehand:

  • Retaining a healthy weight: Being obese during pregnancy can raise the risk of kidney problems.
  • Maintaining a well-balanced diet: Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in processed foods and added sugars will improve kidney function and general health.
  • Maintaining hydration: Consuming copious amounts of water throughout the day facilitates the kidneys’ efficient elimination of waste materials.
  • Controlling blood pressure: Elevated blood pressure can put additional burden on the kidneys. It’s essential to collaborate with a healthcare professional to effectively manage blood pressure.
  • Steer clear of smoking and heavy alcohol consumption: These behaviours might deteriorate renal function and raise the possibility of pregnancy-related problems.

One can promote optimal health for mothers and babies during pregnancy and beyond by increasing knowledge, encouraging early diagnosis and management of pre-existing diseases, and engaging in healthy habits.