Physiology in Pregnancy Flashcards Preview

Yr3 Reproductive > Physiology in Pregnancy > Flashcards

Flashcards in Physiology in Pregnancy Deck (23):

List some general changes to the body during pregnancy? [8]

- Increased lumbar curvature to compensate for the belly
- Fatigue
- Reflux due to loosening of GI sphincters
- Oedema
- Breast
- Thyroid (iodine used up so thyroid enlarges to compensate)
- General Immunosuppression
- Weight Gain


How does the breast change during pregnancy? [4]

- Bigger and more vascular (warm, tense & tender)
- Areola/nipple get darker & 2nd* areola appears
- Montgomery tubercules appear on areola
- Colostrum like fluid from as early as 3rd fluid


How does blood volume change during pregnancy?

Up to 50-70% more blood volume while pregnant


How does heart activity change during pregnancy? [2]
Why does CO increase so much during pregnancy?

SV and HR rise leading to a much higher CO. Most women have Sinus Tachycardia during pregnancy

SVR also drops significantly

Why does CO increase so much during pregnancy?
Because O2 consumption goes way up


How can changing position affect a pregnant woman's CO?
Why is it important to understand how a pregnant woman's CO decreases in supine position? [2]

If they lie supine the foetus presses on the IVC reducing venous return and so reducing CO.

Trying to do CPR and resuscitation on a pregnant woman is impossible if lying supine, you must move the uterus or lie then tilted.

Also never examine a pregnant woman supine, let them sit up or lie on the side


How does increased CO affect risk of heart problems? [1]

Increased CO means the heart muscle requires more O2. Thus there's an increased risk of angina or MI


How does blood volume and pressure during labour? [2]

How does CO change during labour?

When does the CV system return to normal after pregnancy?
How long does BP take to return to normal?
How long before HR returns to normal?
How long before CO returns to normal?

Every contraction pushes blood from uterus into systemic circulation (Autotransfusion).

This increases blood volume and BP so is dangerous, especially in people with existing BP problems or stenotic lesions

How does CO change durine labour?
Increases by 10% during labour and up to 80% in the first hr post-delivery.

CV system are back to normal within 3 months
BP falls and increases again in the first 7 days but returns to pre-preg levels by 6wks
HR returns to normal in 2 weeks
CO increases by 80% in first hour post delivery then falls back to normal over 24 weeks


How do the lungs change during pregnancy? [2]
How do O2/CO2 levels change during pregnancy? Clinical implications? [2]

40-50% increase in ventilation with RR and tidal volume increasing. (to compensate for increases O2 demand)

But PEFR and FEV1 are unchanged

O2 rises and CO2 drops due to increased ventilation. So looks like compensated respiratory alkalosis on blood gases.


How does the renal system change structurally during pregnancy? [2]

It dramatically dilates (particularly on the right).
Both the ureters and kidneys dilate due to pressure from uterus and progesterone


How does function of the kidneys change in pregnancy? [3]
What happens to protein excretion - clinical significance?

Renal plasma flow goes up by 60-80% by end of trimester 2
--> Increased GFR and Creatinine clearance
--> Urea and Creatinine fall

Protein excretion goes up ergo 24hr urine protein rises and total protein/Albumin drop

Glycosuria is common


What happens to urate during pregnancy
What is uric acid level used for in pregnancy? [2]

Urate rises with gestation

A marker of pre-eclampsia
It also increases with gestation so the level can be predicted based on gestational age


How do RBC count change during pregnancy?

It actually doesn't but blood volume does so Hg, Hcrit and RCC all appear to drop


How does platelet count change?

Drops but only by dilution of increased plasma


How does WCC change?



How does coagubility change?

Increases (hypercoaguable state)


Describe some increased haematological demands of the body during pregnancy? What is the impact on management [2]

Iron demand double or triples --> Iron supplements

10-20x increase in folate needs --> Folic Acid supplements


Due to hypercoagubility pregnant women are at risk of DVTs and PEs, how can we help at risk women?

They can be given daily Dalteparin (LMWH) injections throughout pregnancy and for 6 wks after.


What happens to ESR during pregnancy? Clinical impact?

Rises, so we can't use it as a marker of inflammation


Why do pregnant women get so much oedema? [2]

Increased blood volume and pressure coupled with drop in albumin


How do liver enzymes change during pregnancy? [2]

AST/ALT/GGT can drop
ALKP rises


Why does Alkaline phosphatase rise during pregnancy?

It's produced by the placenta, actually it has nothing to do with the liver or gall stones etc


How does D-dimer change in pregnancy? Clinical impact?

Rises as pregnant women are hypercoagulable so unreliable as form of investigation


How do we get around the fact we can't use a D-dimer to screen for PE?

V/Q scan instead