5 Alarming Signs During Pregnancy That Mean You Should Call Your Doctor

While pregnant, you take extra precautions to ensure your health is intact. Of course, now you are responsible for two (and sometimes even more) lives at once which is exciting, but certainly comes with its challenges. We all know that pregnancy causes some unbelievable transformations to our bodies - some of them beautiful, but more often than not, painful, unpleasant, and sometimes downright scary. Something always hurts, itches, and aches. These changes might seem pretty disturbing but usually they are absolutely normal for a typical pregnancy. How do you know what’s normal and what is serious enough to call your doctor? Here are some basic guidelines.

Abdominal Pain

Pregnancy and labor are generally associated with pain. Of course, all pregnancies are different, but most women will discover all kinds of new, unimaginable pains that are completely foreign to them. These inconveniences can start from the first day of pregnancy until labor and even afterward. This is normal. Your body is creating another human being.; there is bound to be crazy changes along the way. But there is one kind of pain that should be alarming - abdominal pain. Generally speaking, the only time abdominal pain is normal is when you are in labor after 37 weeks. Any kind of abdominal pain before this can be a sign of serious complications and even a miscarriage. If you experience pain in your legs, back, neck, or arms, this is usually normal and won’t cause direct harm to the baby. But your uterus is absolutely sacred during pregnancy and any abnormal or intense pain can be a symptom of an underlying issue. Address your doctor immediately. 

Bleeding

Another hard, fast rule of pregnancy – bleeding is something to be taken seriously. If you notice an insignificant amount of blood in the very beginning of your pregnancy, this is usually normal. It may be caused by implantation of the fetus to the uterine wall which usually happens even before you know that you’re pregnant.  Some women even confuse this with menstruation, therefore remaining unaware that they are even pregnant for awhile longer. 

But all other cases of bleeding should be a reason for immediate concern. There may be several reasons for bleeding during pregnancy, including the following:

  • Miscarriage. This is the scariest possibility for women, which is why bleeding should be taken seriously. If a miscarriage is really the reason for your bleeding, it likely will come with cramps and abdominal pain. The blood itself will be bright red.
  • Trauma. Of course, you try to protect yourself and your baby, but accidents happen. Seek medical attention if you suspect you or your baby may have experienced some kind of internal trauma like a serious fall.
  • Placenta. 2 common problems with placenta are known to cause bleeding. Placenta may detach from the uterine wall. This is called “placenta abruption” and is usually accompanied with abdominal pains. The second possible reason for bleeding is referred to as “placenta previa.” In this case, bleeding and discomfort appear when the placenta is implanted too close to or even fully covers the cervix. Usually, experts say that this condition is not harmful for the baby, but the golden rule still stands – bleeding is a reason to call your doctor immediately!
  • Sexual intercourse. There are still arguments about whether sex during pregnancy is safe. Doctors mostly agree that it is safe and may even be good for the baby.  But of course, every pregnancy is unique and you should not get carried away. Sex during pregnancy can lead to bleeding.  This generally occurs due to extra blood flow around the cervix. But if you experience excessive bleeding, you should be cautious and consult your doctor, anyway.
  • Infection. While pregnant, you still run the risk of catching uterine infections or STDs.  Some of them might also cause bleeding.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. This is one of the most serious and traumatic conditions that is usually associated with heavy bleeding and strong abdominal pains. This occurs when the embryo implants outside the uterus. For example, in fallopian tubes. Luckily, an ectopic pregnancy is usually during the very first ultrasound. 

Leaking

As previously mentioned, until week 37, your baby is supposed to be safely growing inside your womb, so any kind of bleeding or leakage before then should be alarming. During pregnancy, your baby is floating in amniotic fluid which protects the baby.  This liquid is extremely important for his safety and development. Amniotic fluid is the liquid that comes out when your water breaks and is the most common sign that labor is starting. Leakage before labor could be caused by several things - from more serious conditions like infections to an absolutely normal (albeit unpleasant) side-effect to pregnancy. As soon as you experience any leakage, you should tell your doctor immediately. He will do some simple tests to make sure that you and your baby are safe.

Baby Won`t Move

The moment you feel baby’s first kick might be the most significant milestone during your pregnancy.  After that moment, you start to wait for every tiny move and get excited when it happens. After week 24, doctors usually recommend doing a simple test to make sure that the baby is active and healthy. You lie down and count every tiny move, kick or flutter that your baby does for 2 hours. If you feel at least 10 movements during this period, the baby is active enough. However, a sudden decrease in movement may be reason for concern and you should alert your health provider.

Headaches and Blurry Vision

This might be the only disturbing symptom that is not directly connected with your womb. Usually, when you visit your doctor after week 20, he or she asks if you have experienced any headaches or abnormal vision. The reason for this is the threat of Preeclampsia. 

Preeclampsia is a serious complication that can be fatal. It is caused by high blood pressure and may be dangerous for you because high blood pressure can lead to a stroke or seizure. Conversely, it is also dangerous for your baby as he won`t get enough blood flow and oxygen due to uneven blood distribution. This is why the question about headaches and vision are highly important and symptoms you should monitor closely. 

The Bottom Line

While being pregnant is a very exciting time for a woman, it can also be scary, particularly because things you’ve never experienced are happening to your body on a daily basis. While these changes are rarely anything to be concerned about, don`t hesitate to address your doctor as soon as you notice any unusual signs that might cause you concern. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

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