Aches and pains, weird skin conditions, fatigue and mood swings are all part of a normal pregnancy. But sometimes you may experience something that could be a potentially serious warning sign. Most women don’t want to bother their doctor over every tiny thing, so how do you know what warrants immediate attention and what can wait until your next doctor’s visit?
WebMD consulted the experts, who say you’re always better safe than sorry. If you are concerned that something is not normal, call your doctor. And every pregnant woman should be aware that there are some symptoms during pregnancy that need immediate attention.
WebMD presents the seven top signs of a potentially serious pregnancy complication:
1. Bleeding During Any Trimester
Bleeding during pregnancy is serious and always needs to be evaluated immediately. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room. Some serious causes for bleeding include:
First trimester: Heavy bleeding, severe abdominal pain, menstrual-like cramps, and feeling like you might faint could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, and it can be life-threatening.
First and second trimester: Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage.
Third trimester: Bleeding and abdominal pain may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.
2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting
If it gets to the point where you can’t keep anything down, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated and malnourished, which can cause serious complications ranging from birth defects to premature labor. Proper nutrition is very important for you and your baby. Your doctors can prescribe safe medications for controlling nausea, and may also advise some dietary changes to help you find food you can keep down.
3. Baby’s Activity Level Decreases Significantly
What does it mean if your previously active baby is not moving as much as it used to? It is possible that he is not getting enough oxygen and nutrients from the placenta. To find out if there really is a problem, eat something or take a cold drink. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.
You can also count kicks, although “There is no optimal or critical number of movements.” As a general guideline, you should count at least 10 kicks in two hours. Anything less, call your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Early Contractions
Contractions could indicate preterm labor. First-time mothers may be confused by real labor and Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are false labor pains. Braxton-Hicks are unpredictable and do not increase in intensity. They generally subside in an hour, with activity, or after drinking. On the other hand, regular contractions start off about 10 minutes apart, and over time increase in intensity while becoming closer together.
If you are feeling contractions and don’t know what they are, don’t take a chance! If it is too early for the baby to be born, your doctor has ways to stop labor.
5. Your Water Breaks
Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of liquid, but other times it’s just a subtle trickle. Then again, it could be urine leakage due to increased pressure on your bladder. One way to tell is to go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid keeps coming , then your water has broken… time to call your doctor or go to the hospital!
6. Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling
These are all symptoms of preeclampsia, a serious and potentially fatal condition. Other signs of preeclampsia are high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine. It usually occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy. You need to call your doctor and get your blood pressure tested. With good prenatal care, you can catch and treat preeclampsia early.
7. Flu Symptoms
Pregnancy puts added stress on the immune system, so pregnant women are more likely to catch the flu when it’s going around. They are also at a higher risk for more serious flu complications.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. If you think you’ve got the flu, call your doctor first instead of rushing into his office where you could spread it to other pregnant women.
Something else to be aware of is that a fever greater than 101.4 degrees could indicate an infection. So even if you don’t have the flu, you should call your doctor so he can evaluate your condition.
For more information on health and pregnancy, visit WebMD
feature image from US Moms Today