Delirium is defined an extreme fluctuation changes in the brain, usually accompanied by high fevers. Difficulties usually experienced during pregnancy delirium are as followed:
Difficulties with the ability to:
- Focus or think clearly and rationally
- The inability to communicate clearly
- Shifts in attention span
- Changes in normal perceptions and or sensations
Pregnancy, which commonly used to be considered a time of psychological stability, has recently been pinpointed to be a significant moment of stress, sometimes leading to psych problems in new mothers.
Vulnerable women can start to experience mood disorders, or Psychotic mental disorders. Delirium in pregnancy trimesters is prevalent in older women: ages 30-39 years of age, women who take medications for underlying health conditions, have previous mental health problems, or who suffer from depression.
Underlying Medical reasons or heath conditions that can cause delirium:
- Hypertension: high or low blood pressure
- Women who suffer from: kidney problems, cardiovascular issues, cancer pain, lung brain or heart conditions
- Previous diagnosed mental conditions, or depressive disorders such as: obsessive compulsive, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or any generalized anxiety mood disorder
- Serious infections, such as: meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections
- Injuries such as severe head injury, broken bones, and intense pain
- Toxins in the blood from bacterial infections
- Withdrawal form drugs and alcohol abuse
- High blood sugar levels
- Heart Attacks, stroke, seizures, brain tumors, cancer
Symptoms usually come on quickly, and can last for many days perhaps weeks, or in extreme cases much longer. The symptoms range in severity depending one the cause of the delirium. Symptoms have shown to become more severe in the nighttime hours.
- Confusion or delusions
- Inability to pay attention
- Memory problems
- Noticeable speech irregularities or language disturbances (dysphasia)
Women who are pregnant and suffer from the previous stated medical conditions should be aware and take notice to the following risk factors during their trimesters, and following childbirth.
Risk Factors that can increase your risk of developing delirium during pregnancy:
- Sleep deprivation
- Immune disorders or serious illness, such as AIDS
- Increased age especially over the age of 35
- Memory impairment
- Vitamin Deficiencies
- Central nervous system problems
- Visual or hearing impairment
- Terminal illnesses
- Hospitalization where bacterial infections can be easily contracted
- Severe Constipation
- Immobility due to sustained injuries
How is delirium diagnosed when seeking medical attention?
When you visit your medical health professional, or Obstetrician/ Prenatal Psychiatrist they will conduct a series of medical tests, and a physical examination; wherein these possible questions may arise to determine delirium pregnancy.
Questions you might be asked concerning your medical history:
- Have you ever experienced: depression, mood disorders, or have a metal history illness in your family?
- Do you use illegal drugs or suffer from alcoholism?
- Can you pinpoint the time your mental state started to change?
- How quick were the onset of symptoms and were they accompanied by any high fevers?
- Do you have any immune disorders or serious underlying health conditions that you are currently on medication for?
Physical Exams may include:
- Lumbar puncture
- Blood Tests
- Kidney and liver function tests
- Thyroid tests
- Urine test
- Chest X-rays
- CT scan
- MRI scan
Delirium can only be treated once the underlying cause is identified whether it is mental, or physical. If you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy you should consult your doctor immediately to avoid harm to you or your baby.