Advice on the pregnancy symptoms that you should tell your doctor about.
Pregnancy is a time of great change and no matter whether its your first or fifth baby it can be difficult to know which symptoms are 'normal' and which are worth checking up with your doctor. If you experience any of the 'warning signs' detailed below you should visit your doctor or midwife for a checkup as soon as possible or call NHS Direct for further advice (0845 46 47).
Of course this list isn't exhaustive, if something doesn't feel quite right or you are particularly concerned about any aspect of your own health or the health of your developing baby it is always much better to be on the safe side and check with your doctor as this will put your mind at rest if nothing else.
- Severe stomach pain - Anywhere from your upper abdomen to lower stomach whether you are experiencing sickness and diarrhoea or not.
- Vaginal bleeding - Spotting in later pregnancy, heavy period like bleeding or leaking fluid. (Light spotting in early pregnancy is reasonably common but you should still tell your Gp about it.)
- Severe and prolonged headaches - Lasting more than a couple of hours
- Fainting - you should also see your Gp if you experience prolonged dizziness or are particularly light headed
- Prolonged visual disturbances - Double vision, blurred vision, seeing spots etc
- Sudden increase in thirst but unable to urinate - i.e. haven't urinated for the past 12 hours or if urination becomes painful
- Severe vomiting - whether accompanied by stomach pain or not
- Sudden swelling of the hands, feet or face - or a significant increase
- Severe itching - especially if later on in pregnancy
- Fever - especially if over 100 degF /37.5 degC
- Suddent weight gain - Of more than a couple of lbs, noticeable and unrelated to eating
- Reduced foetal movements - No foetal movement for more than 24 hours after week 22
- Injury to the stomach - If you experience any fall or blow to the stomach even if you are not in pain
You should also be aware of the signs of premature labour just in case. These include uterine contractions that occur every ten minutes or so and become more frequent and intense as time passes, abdominal cramps, leaking of watery fluid from the vagina, lower backache, a sudden increase in vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding and a feeling that your baby is pushing down against your pelvis. If you experience these symptoms before 37 weeks of pregnancy you should contact your health care provider immediately.
While it is important to look out for anything out of the ordinary whilst you are pregnant, you should try not to become to overly concerned about your developing baby's health, instead focusing on relaxing, eating well, taking care of yourself and looking forward to meet your little one when he or she is ready to make their way into the world.