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When considering diseases of the lungs during pregnancy, one must remember that there are certain normal physical changes and signs in the chest due to pregnancy.
As the growth of the uterus continues there is slight congestion of the lungs with an increased lateral expansion, the excursion of the diaphragm is decreased and the breathing becomes more costal. These changes are, as a rule, more pronounced in the primipara than in the multipara, because there is less relaxation of the abdominal muscles in the former. It becomes immediately apparent, therefore, that such conditions bring about an ideal nidus for the harboring of infection and explains somewhat the reason why quiescent infections in the lungs may be activated.
This is particularly true of women with arrested pulmonary tuberculosis who become pregnant.
It is an astounding fact that approximately 50,000 women in the child-bearing period die each year from tuberculosis and that
Potter MG. PULMONARY COMPLICATIONS DURING PREGNANCY. JAMA. 1940;115(7):522–523. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.72810330003010a
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