Following are the most common concerns among pregnant women, with information about why you probably don’t need to worry—and when you should. Of course if you have any questions or concerns, call your doctor.
Nausea Though morning sickness feels bad, it’s not bad for the baby. In one of my previous postings, I have focused on nausea. There you can find a bunch of tips for some relief. And it really helps, trust me! When to call the doctor: Nausea is a concern when severe vomiting causes dehydration. Infrequent urination, as well as urine that’s dark and strong-smelling, are key signs. Also call your doctor if you can’t keep food down or are losing more than 1 pound a week.
Bleeding For many women, bleeding is perhaps the scariest symptom they might experience because they associate it with miscarriage. But bleeding during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, is more common than many realize: About 25 percent of women experience some type of bleeding in the first 13 or so weeks; of those, more than half go on to have perfectly healthy babies. When to call the doctor: Regardless of the possible cause, any bleeding—no matter when it happens—should be reported to your doctor right away.
Cramping Many women feel something akin to menstrual cramps in the early stages of pregnancy. That achy heaviness in the pelvic area is caused by increased blood flow to the uterus and pelvic organs and is a normal part of early pregnancy. When to call the doctor: If you notice consistent cramping on only one side, tell your doctor so she can rule out an ectopic pregnancy or ovarian cyst. Serious cramping in the second or third trimester is more worrisome, as it could indicate early labor, so report that right away as well.
Contractions Many women experience random contractions, often called Braxton-Hicks contractions, after 24 weeks. These are normal as long as they are irregular and sporadic. When to call the doctor: If contractions seem regular (time them to be sure), call your doctor. She’ll want to make sure you’re not in real labor.
Reduced Movement Women usually start to feel their babies move sometime between weeks 18 and 24. After that first kick, the movements gradually become stronger and more frequent; it can be scary if they suddenly seem to cease. Less movement can be a simple matter of a woman being so busy that she doesn’t notice her baby moving. When to call the doctor: If you haven’t felt your baby kick by the 20th week, call your doctor. Chances are the baby has been moving but you simply haven’t felt it; your doctor will determine whether she wants to follow up.
Discharge Unusual and excessive discharge is a part of pregnancy. Your cervix is undergoing many changes, which create normal mucous discharge. When to call the doctor: If discharge is accompanied by burning, itching or a foul smell, see your doctor. You could have an infection.
Wetness When a pregnant woman sees wet sheets, she thinks, My water has broken! But more likely, that little wetness on your sheets or underpants is only urine. Because pregnancy can put pressure on the bladder, many women leak urine without realizing it. When to call the doctor: If the wetting persists or seems like a lot, call your doctor. She’ll want to be sure you’re not leaking amniotic fluid, which is a concern before the 37th week because such leakage could trigger labor or lead to infection.
Swelling Pregnant women retain excess fluid because of the extra water-retaining hormones in the body. In addition, a woman’s blood volume increases by 30 to 50 percent in preparation for labor and delivery. When to call the doctor: Sudden swelling accompanied by a headache may be a sign of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition of pregnancy. Call your doctor if you experience this after your 28th week.
I hope these concerns help ease your mind. Remember a vast majority of babies come out just fine. Good luck!pregnancy baby pregnant new born children infant weekly pregnancy weekly maternity expecting due date parenting ultrasound labor mother newborn fertility parents childbirth family