Seven Pregnancy Warning Signs

Some symptoms during pregnancy are normal for the course, but others are causes for alarm. How do you know the difference?

You may wonder what symptoms during pregnancy warrant immediate medical attention and what symptoms can wait until your next antenatal visit.

Always ask your doctor at your visits about your concerns. But keep in mind some symptoms that require swift attention.

1. Bleeding

Bleeding means different things throughout your pregnancy. If you are bleeding heavily and have severe abdominal pain and menstrual-like cramps or feel like you are going to faint during first trimester, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, can be life-threatening. However, heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage in first or early second trimester. By contrast, bleeding with abdominal pain in the third trimester may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining. It could also indicate a placenta previa which is abnormal siting of the placenta in the uterus.

“Bleeding is always serious,” Any bleeding during pregnancy needs immediate attention. Call your doctor or visit the hospital.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

It’s very common to have some nausea when you’re pregnant. If it gets to be severe, that may be more serious.

If you can’t eat or drink anything, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Being malnourished and dehydrated can harm your baby.

If you experience severe nausea, tell your health care provider. Your doctor may prescribe medication or advise changing your diet.

3. A Persistent Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling during Your Third Trimester

Any of the above symptoms could be a sign of preeclampsia. That’s a serious condition that develops during pregnancy and is potentially fatal. The disorder is marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine that typically occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Call your doctor right away and get your blood pressure tested. Good antenatal care can help catch preeclampsia early.


4. Baby’s Activity Level Significantly Declines

What does it mean if your previously active baby seems to have less energy? It may be normal. But how can you tell?

Some troubleshooting can help determine if there is a problem. You first drink something cold or eat something. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving. Counting kicks can also help, “There is no optimal or critical number of movements” but generally you should establish a baseline and have a subjective perception of whether your baby is moving more or less. As a general rule, you should have 10 or more kicks in two hours. Anything less should prompt a phone call to your doctor.

Call your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor has monitoring equipment that can be used to determine if the baby is moving and growing appropriately.

5. Contractions Early in the Third Trimester

Contractions could be a sign of preterm labour. “A lot of first-time moms may confuse true labour and false labour. False labour contractions are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They’re unpredictable, non-rhythmic, and do not increase in intensity. “They will subside in an hour or with hydration. Regular contractions are about 10 minutes apart or less and increase in intensity.

If you’re in your third trimester and think you’re having contractions, call your doctor right away. If it is too early for the baby to be born, your doctor may be able to stop labour.

6. Your Water Breaks

You walk into the kitchen for a drink and feel a flood of water rush down your legs. Your water could have broken but during pregnancy the enlarged uterus can cause pressure on your bladder too. So it could be urine leakage. Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of fluid, but other times it is more subtle.

If you are not sure if it is urine versus a true rupture of the membrane, go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid continues, then you have broken your water. Call your doctor or go to the hospital.

7. Fever

Fever in pregnancy could be a sign of an infection which could be potentially harmful to you and your baby. It could be with other symptoms such as a rash, abdominal pain, headaches, vaginal discharge, passage of watery stool, vomiting could all be pointers to infections in pregnancy.

These infections include malaria which is very common in our environment and could be severe in pregnancy causing anaemia, and possible death in pregnancy. Please, if you notice any of these symptoms do not buy drugs over the counter as not all drugs are safe in pregnancy or wait till your next antenatal visit to see your doctor. Schedule a meeting with your doctor as soon as you can


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