Monday, April 1, 2013

16 pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore

No matter how much you read about pregnancy or talk to other mums, it can be hard to know whether what you're feeling during your nine months is normal. Here's a rundown of symptoms that should set off your warning bells. If you have any of these problems, call your doctor straight away.

I have a pain in my middle

Severe or sharp pain in your middle or upper tummy, with or without nausea or vomiting, could mean any of several things. You could have:
If you’re in the second half of your pregnancy, this pain could indicate pre-eclampsia, a serious condition that requires immediate attention. 

I have a pain in my lower belly

Severe lower pain on either or both sides or your belly could mean a number of things. You could have pulled a ligament, or it may be a sign of:
  • an ectopic pregnancy;
  • miscarriage;
  • premature labour;
  • fibroid degenerating and bleeding into itself;
  • placental abruption, where a part of the placenta becomes detached prematurely from the wall of the womb (the placenta is an organ which develops in the uterus during pregnancy, providing nutrients for the fetus and eliminating its waste products).

I have a fever

If have a fever and your temperature is above 37.5 degrees C, but with no flu or cold symptoms, call your doctor on the same day.

If your temperature is more than 39 degrees C, call the doctor right away. You probably have an infection. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics and rest. If your temperature rises higher than 39 degrees C for a long time, it could be harmful to your baby.

My vision is blurred and I see flashing spots

Call your doctor if, in the second half of your pregnancy you have:
  • double vision
  • blurring
  • dimming
  • flashing spots
  • lights that last for more than two hours

These symptoms can be a sign of pre-eclampsia.

My hands and feet are swollen

Swelling or puffiness (oedema) of the hands, face and eyes is common, and in most cases it is not a cause for concern. But, if these symptoms are severe or sudden, and accompanied by a headache or problems with your vision, they may be symptoms of pre-eclampsia.

I have a severe headache that won’t go away

If you have a bad headache that lasts for more than two or three hours, along with vision disturbances and have sudden swelling in your hands, eyes and face, you may have pre-eclampsia.

I have vaginal bleeding

Spotting without pain may be a normal sign of implantation, when the embryo attaches itself to the uterus early in the pregnancy or breakthrough bleeding. But you should still call your doctor if you bleed during pregnancy because it could indicate a serious complication
  • Bleeding that is different from your normal period (heavier or lighter and often darker) with severe, persistent, one-sided pain in the abdomen can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Heavy bleeding, especially when it's combined with persistent back or abdominal pain, can be associated with a potential or actual miscarriage.
  • In the later stages of pregnancy, bleeding may indicate placenta praevia, placental abruption, or premature labour (labour that begins before 37 weeks).

I’m leaking fluid from my vagina

Leaking of fluid from your vagina before 37 weeks means that your membranes have ruptured prematurely. Your doctor will want you to be admitted to hospital, so that you can have treatment to prevent an infection and to prepare your baby for possible premature birth

After 37 weeks, you are probably about to go into labour. Call your doctor to discuss your options if your labour does not start within 24 hours.

I’m suddenly really thirsty

If you're suddenly thirsty and are weeing less, this could be a sign of dehydration orgestational diabetes. Both of these increase the risk of complications for you and your baby.

I feel a burning sensation when I wee

A painful or burning sensation when you do a wee, along with a fever, shivering andbackache, may mean you have a urinary tract infection. See your doctor, as she can give you antibiotics to treat it.

I can’t stop vomiting

Vomiting more than a couple of times a day could dehydrate and weaken you, although it won't hurt your baby. You need to speak to your doctor about severe and persistent vomiting(hyperemesis gravidarum) as you may need to be admitted to hospital.

Vomiting which starts later in pregnancy, accompanied by pain just below the ribs, may be a sign of pre-eclampsia. Vomiting accompanied by pain and a fever could indicate an infection. Either way, contact your doctor.

I feel faint and dizzy

Fainting or feeling light-headed may be a sign that you haven't eaten enough that day, but it could also mean that you have low blood pressure. Many women feel dizzy during pregnancy. If you do faint, see your doctor afterwards to make sure all is well. 

My baby's movements have slowed down

If your baby's movements stop or slow down for more than 24 hours after 21 weeks, it may mean your baby is in distress. If you have noticed that your baby is moving about less than usual, contact your doctor. Read more about your baby's movements, including when to seek help.

I itch all over

Severe itching may indicate a liver-based condition, such as obstetric cholestasis (OC). If you have OC you may also have jaundice, and pass dark urine and pale stools. 

Some itching is normal as your skin stretches to accommodate your growing baby. However, it's best to have it checked out, particularly if the itching is very intense, worse at night and involves the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands

I fell and hit my belly

Falls or blows aren't always dangerous, but call your doctor on the same day and explain what happened. If you slipped on the stairs and bruised your tailbone, you probably don't need to worry. Your baby is well cushioned by your uterus and amniotic fluid. 

I just don't feel right

If you're not sure about a symptom, don't feel like yourself, or simply feel uneasy, trust your judgement and call your doctor. If there's a problem, you'll get help right away. If nothing's wrong, you'll go home reassured. 

Your doctor expects to get calls like these, and should be happy to give you advice. Your body is changing so rapidly that it's sometimes difficult to know whether what you're experiencing is normal.
In rare cases though, complications may arise. If you notice contractions, leaking fluid, or anybleeding, call your doctor right away, or head to your nearest accident and emergency department. 


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