Pregnancy can be a roller-coaster of emotions and physical changes. One moment it can be super exciting and you’re on a high, the next you may be so overwhelmed with fatigue and anxiety about your ever-growing to-do list.
The first thing to keep in mind – it’s totally normal to experience these ups and downs!
But when should you be concerned or speak to your healthcare provider? What’s normal and more importantly, what isn’t?
In this post, I’ve decided to look at some of the symptoms that should prompt you to call your Obstetrician, GP or Midwife. It’s important to know what to look out for while trying not to be overly anxious about every little symptom. We cover some of the key health-related issues that can affect your and/or bub during pregnancy but….
Let’s be sure to clear this up right from the get-go; if you’re in any doubt at all about a symptom that you’re experiencing, it’s always best to contact your healthcare provider. Isn’t it far better to have slightly over-reacted than to wish you’d asked for advice or help sooner? I always tell my Mumma’s that they’re intuition is a powerful tool, especially during pregnancy. If it doesn’t feel quite right, then it’s worth having it checked out!
More than likely it will be nothing, just one of the many weird and wonderful pregnancy symptoms some women experience! But it’s always better to be safe than sorry 😊
It’s also important to note that self-medicating in pregnancy is not advised. Many prescription and over-the-counter medications are not suitable during pregnancy – so even if you think it’s something relatively straightforward, it’s always best to get professional advice before taking anything to help relieve your symptoms.
Symptoms that you should not ignore – If you experience any of the following, it’s best to contact your healthcare practitioner immediately:
- Severe abdominal pain in either/or the centre or one or both sides that does not subside. Even without any accompanying bleeding, strong abdominal pain should always be investigated
- Heavy bleeding with or without cramps. Spotting can be normal, especially during the early stages of pregnancy during implantation but every woman is so different it can be hard to determine what’s normal and what isn’t. Bleeding can be a sign of miscarriage but there are other causes of bleeding during pregnancy, so the best thing is to get any bleeding checked out to put your mind at ease.
- A fever over 38 degrees, which can indicate an infection. A fever is never pleasant, but your growing foetus is particularly susceptible to higher temps as they’re developing, so any fevers during the early months of pregnancy should be seen to immediately by your healthcare professional.
- Bloody diarrhea.
- Sudden and severe puffiness or swelling in the hands, face or eyes which can sometimes be accompanied by vision difficulties or headache and/or sudden significant weight gain without a huge change in your diet or eating habits.
- A severe headache or one that lasts for more than 2-3 hours – sometimes a headache during pregnancy can be related to pre-eclampsia, a condition characterised by high blood pressure.
- Any kind of vision disturbance such as seeing double or blurring – mild changes in your vision can occur during pregnancy due to several factors but if it is significant you should get it checked out ASAP as this can be a sign of pre- eclampsia.
- An extreme and sudden thirst that’s accompanied by reduced or no urination.
- Experiencing pain or paining during urination accompanied by chills and a fever over 38 degrees – this can be a sign of bladder infection.
- Any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby – while feeling anxious, teary for no reason at times and feeling overwhelmed about your pregnancy are all normal, it’s not normal to feel so anxious or depressed that you’re considering hurting yourself or baby. If you feel that your emotions are affecting your outlook on life and day-to-day activities, it’s important to speak to someone and get support.
- Noticing less than 10 kicks or movements from baby after the 28-week mark – while bubba will naturally go through quieter and busier periods of movement, once you’ve established what’s normal within a 24-hour period it important to get any decrease checked out.
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your healthcare practitioner as soon as you can or the next morning if it is the middle of the night:
- Fainting or dizziness that doesn’t pass immediately -feeling faint or dizzy can be quite common during pregnancy. Caused by things such as low blood pressure, dehydration, overheating, low blood sugar as well as your growing uterus putting pressure on your blood vessels when laying down and therefore reducing blood flow back to your brain. While dizziness may be common, it shouldn’t be impacting your day-to-day activities so if it doesn’t pass straight away it is best to get it checked out.
- Painful or stinging sensation during urination or blood in urine which may be signs of a urinary tract infection.
- Any swelling of the hands, face or eyes which may be a sign of preeclampsia.
- An intense itch all over but particularly in the hands or feet and even if there is no apparent rash – this may or may not be accompanied by dark urine, pale stools and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). This can be a sign of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) a liver disorder than can occur during pregnancy.
- Severe nausea accompanied by vomiting especially if the vomiting occurs more than 2 or 3 times a day during the first trimester or vomiting later in pregnancy, especially if you didn’t vomit in the early stages. Nausea is common but being unable to keep down any food at all for weeks on a time is not. There are treatments available to help ease nausea and vomiting but these must be advised and prescribed by a doctor.
- Frequent diarrhea, more than three or so times a day and especially if you also notice that mucus is present. Severe diarrhea can result in dehydration which can lead to premature labour so it’s best always get diarrhea checked. Remember, many over-the-counter medications, including ones for diarrhea, aren’t suitable during pregnancy so don’t attempt to self-medicate.