Pregnancy is exciting and scary and your body is going to go through a lot of changes. Sometimes, it’s hard to know what to expect. What changes are just part of the process and which ones may be signs of pregnancy problems? When do you need to call your doctor?
1. Major Abdominal Pain
Pregnancy may be uncomfortable, but abdominal pain can be a warning sign of serious problems. If you’re still in the first trimester and feeling sharp pains on one side, you’ll need to see your doctor immediately to rule out the possibility that you may have an ectopic pregnancy. After the first trimester, intense abdominal pain could mean anything from early labor to an infection to appendicitis. It may also be Braxton Hicks contractions, but those are typically not as painful. In any event, better safe than sorry. Call your doctor right away.
Vaginal bleeding isn’t always serious – many women experience spotting during the first trimester. However, it can signal very serious pregnancy problems, like a torn placenta. You should always call your doctor if you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding to discuss the specifics of your symptoms and determine whether you need to go in for further testing.
3. Swelling Or Headache
Pregnancy frequently makes you retain water, which means your ankles may swell. Normal headaches can also happen during pregnancy, as can migraine headaches. However, severe swelling, a severe headache, or blurred vision during the second or third trimester may indicate that you’re suffering from preeclampsia, or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure. It can be life-threatening for both you and the baby, so you should seek medical attention immediately.
4. Contractions Or Watery Discharge
You may experience Braxton Hicks contractions as you approach the end of your pregnancy, which are your uterus’s way of practicing for the main event. You may also experience fluid discharge, typically because the baby kicked you in the bladder or moves into a position that compresses your bladder. However, contractions or water discharge, especially before 37 weeks, can indicate that your water has broken and you’re going into preterm labor. You should always call your doctor to check in if you’re experiencing contractions or fluid discharge – again, better safe than sorry.
Unfortunately, morning sickness is a part of pregnancy for many women and may cause vomiting. Serious vomiting, however, can cause you to become malnourished and dehydrated, which is risky for both you and the baby. It may also mean that you’re suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum, which can cause severe vomiting throughout your pregnancy. If you can’t keep food or liquids down for more than a day or so, it’s time to call your doctor. You may need IV fluids to keep you hydrated or medicine to help minimize vomiting.
In the fight against infections, fevers are one of the tools in our bodies’ arsenals. But maternal infections can be extremely dangerous to the baby, whose immune system may not be developed enough to cope. If you’re suffering from a fever, call your doctor right away to determine the cause of the fever and what treatment might be appropriate.
On a related note, you should call your doctor if you notice unusual vaginal discharge. That can also signal that you have an infection and vaginal infections can be passed to your little one during delivery.
7. The Baby Stops Moving
Your baby won’t be moving all the time, but stillness for more than an hour may indicate a pregnancy problem. You don’t need to panic – drink a glass of juice or eat something sugary to give your little one an energy boost. If you don’t feel the baby start to move within the next half hour or so, it’s time to call your doctor.
8. Any Time You’re Worried
Pregnancy is scary. Your body’s changing constantly and you’re worried about the safety of your little one. When in doubt, you should always call your doctor. When it comes to the safety of your baby, there’s no such thing as a stupid question. And you know your body better than anyone else – if you really feel like something is wrong, insist that your doctor takes it seriously and looks into it. If you feel like your doctor isn’t taking your concerns seriously, seek out a second opinion.
Pay Attention To Pregnancy Problems
Most women are going to have some kind of false alarm during pregnancy. Maybe they experience spotting or cramping or the baby stays still for a couple of hours and it turns out that nothing is wrong. At the same time, all of those things can signal serious pregnancy problems and the sooner you address them and get treatment, the better for both you and the baby. So take these warning signs seriously and never be afraid to call your doctor.
We can’t say it enough: better safe than sorry.