When you’re expecting a baby, you have a million things on your mind. You may be excited to meet your child and wonder what he or she will be like. You may be decorating the nursery or preparing other children for baby’s arrival.
At the same time, you’re dealing with a number of physical changes throughout your body. Some discomforts are common and harmless, such as slight nausea or mild fatigue. Other symptoms, however, can signal a potential problem and need to be evaluated by your obstetrician.
Do you know the difference? Here are seven symptoms that warrant a call to your physician right away:
- Abdominal pain. This could be a sign of contractions and/or early labor. But, in some cases, it could be Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are harmless contractions of your uterus as it prepares for childbirth in the third trimester. Have your obstetrician examine you to be sure.
- Severe headache, blurred vision, and dizziness. These are possible warning signs of preeclampsia – a dangerous and potentially life-threatening condition that happens when a mother-to-be develops high blood pressure. Call your obstetrician immediately.
- Significant swelling. Most pregnant women notice a small amount of fluid retention. Your rings may feel tight on your fingers, or your shoes might not fit like they used to. But swelling that is very noticeable or uncomfortable should be checked out ASAP, as it can be a symptom of preeclampsia.
- In the second or third trimester, you notice a significant decline in baby’s activity and movements. Knowing how to count baby’s movements is helpful. Call your obstetrician if you do notice a difference.
- Bleeding. Bleeding or spotting does not always mean there’s a problem, especially in the first trimester, but you should get it checked out to make sure.
- Severe nausea or vomiting. A number of illnesses can cause these symptoms, such as gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”), or a more serious infection such as listeriosis. Some women also have severe morning sickness that requires IV fluids if dehydration is a concern. Talk with your obstetrician to get a diagnosis and proper treatment.
- Signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), such as pain while urinating, chills or fever, and pain in the back or sides. UTIs during pregnancy can cause preterm labor, so talk with your physician about your symptoms. Most UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Being informed about your body’s changes and what’s normal can help put your mind at ease during the months of pregnancy. Although it can be difficult to stay calm when a potential problem arises, remember that your obstetrician and medical staff are there to help you. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask your physician about a symptom or a concern. It’s always best to call when you aren’t sure – that’s what your obstetrician wants you to do, for the health of you and your baby.
CarePoint Health Family Birth Centers
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. Contact us today to learn more about our obstetrics and maternity services.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.