In various stages throughout the pregnancy, an expectant mother might wonder what symptoms during pregnancy require immediate medical attention and what symptoms can wait until your next doctor’s visit. Even insignificant doubts should be discussed with your doctor as they can involve the mother’s health or the baby’s health, or both. However, these are some of the symptoms which require immediate attention:

1. Bleeding

It means different things throughout pregnancy. If the bleeding is heavy accompanied with severe abdominal pain and menstrual-like cramps or if you feel like passing out during first trimester, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. In ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus and this can be life-threatening. Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage in first or early second trimester. Whereas, bleeding with abdominal pain in the third trimester may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining. 

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

It is common to have some nausea during pregnancy. If it becomes severe, it might indicate a serious problem. If you are unable to eat or drink anything, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Being malnourished and dehydrated can harm the baby. In case of severe nausea, call your doctor immediately. Your doctor may prescribe medication or advise changing your diet.

3. Premature labor

Contractions could be a sign of preterm labor. However, a lot of first-time moms may confuse true labor and false labor. False labor contractions are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They’re unpredictable, non-rhythmic, and do not increase in intensity and tend to subside in an hour or with hydration. But regular contractions are about 10 minutes apart or less and continue to increase in intensity.

4. Preeclampsia

A persistent severe headache, abdominal pain, visual disturbances, and swelling during your third trimester 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. Get your blood pressure checked right away.

5. Low amniotic fluid

The amniotic sac fills with fluid that protects and supports your developing baby. When there’s too little fluid, it’s called oligohydramnios. Pregnant women may have low levels of amniotic fluid usually in their third trimester. In this case, your doctor will follow your pregnancy closely to ensure your baby’s normal growth. If you’re near the end of your pregnancy, labor will be induced.

6. Placenta Previa

If case of placenta previa, the placenta is lying unusually low in the uterus, next to or covering the cervix. Placenta previa isn’t usually a problem early in pregnancy. But if the placenta remains dangerously low as pregnancy progresses, it can cause bleeding, which can lead to other complications and may require early delivery.

7. Anemia

Treating the underlying cause of the anemia will help in restoring the number of healthy red blood cells. Women with pregnancy related anemia might feel tired and weak. This can also be helped by taking iron and folic acid supplements. Your doctor provider will check iron levels throughout the pregnancy.

8. Hypertension

Chronic poorly-controlled high blood pressure before and during pregnancy puts a pregnant woman and her baby at risk for problems. It is associated with an increased risk for maternal complications such as preeclampsia, placental abruption, and gestational diabetes. These women also face a higher risk for poor birth outcomes such as preterm delivery, having an infant small for his/her gestational age, and infant death.

9. Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

GDM is diagnosed during pregnancy and can lead to pregnancy complications. GDM is when the body cannot effectively process sugars and starches (carbohydrates), leading to high sugar levels in the blood stream. Most women with GDM can control their blood sugar levels by a following a healthy meal plan from their health care provider and getting regular physical activity. Some women also need insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control.

10. Infections

During pregnancy, your baby is protected from many illnesses, like the common cold or a passing stomach bug. But some infections can be harmful to you, your baby, or both. Easy steps, such as hand washing, and avoiding certain foods, can help protect you from some infections. If you think you might have an infection or are at risk, see your doctor immediately. 

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