It is only normal for pregnant women to experience a lot of new sensations during this new stage of their lives – after all, they are growing a new life inside them and it is a unique experience that each woman feels differently. However, there are some symptoms during pregnancy that shouldn’t be ignored, as they might be signaling something serious that could put you and your baby at risk.
Waiting to see if symptoms go away on their own during pregnancy is never a good idea, so if you experience anything weird, as dumb as it might seem to you at the time, we strongly advise you to contact your doctor.
If the symptoms arise after the official office schedule, call anyway and leave a message in the answering machine. After waiting a reasonable amount of time, if you don’t get any answers, and the symptoms still prevail, seek medical assistance, even if it means going to the ER, in which case we hope you have health insurance.
But what is a reasonable amount of time? That is something you should discuss with your obstetrician once you start being followed by them. Here are the signs that should lead you to call your doctor during your pregnancy
1. Abdominal pain on one side (with or without bleeding)
If you hadn’t had an ultrasound yet, this symptom is something you should pay attention to. It could mean that you are living an ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the embryo is developing, unlike it would be supposed to, outside the womb.
If you are at an early stage on your pregnancy, and if you are only a few days away from the day your period should have started, maybe hold on a little longer, since at that point, this type of pregnancy is not very likely to make you feel pain. The twinges you are experiencing might have other causes, like a cyst on your ovary, for example.
2. Bleeding, especially if it’s heavy bleeding
Bleeding doesn’t necessarily mean that you are having a miscarriage. Still, Miscarriage very early in the pregnancy is pretty common, and there is nothing that can be done about it.
But bleeding on a later stage of pregnancy, heavy or not, you should call your doctor, as you could be hemorrhaging – and the fact that women can lose a lot of blood in a short period of time is a reason for concern.
3. Your baby is moving less than usual
Not feeling your baby when pregnant isn’t exactly a reason for panic, but about 40% of women reach out to their doctors worried about this. There are some days where you might be more busy than usual, and you might not even notice their movements.
By the end of the day, you may find yourself thinking that maybe they didn’t move, and of course, that worries you. On most occasions, the baby might be sleeping. But there are times when it could be worrisome, as there is a chance that the fetus is not receiving enough oxygen.
4. Severe headaches
Everyone has a headache every once in a while. Still, if you are pregnant and do not have a history of experiencing severe headaches, this is a reason to call your doctor ASAP. Strong headaches can be one of the symptoms of a life-threatening condition called preeclampsia.
The other symptoms can be blurred vision, nausea, stomach or shoulder pain (or both), lower back pain, high blood pressure, and swelling due to the retention of fluids. It is also important to know that preeclampsia is a condition that might develop after childbirth, postpartum preeclampsia can happen up to six weeks postpartum, or even 48 hours after the delivery.
So, if you experience any of the pre-mentioned symptoms, even after you give birth, do not hesitate to call your doctor.
5. Shortness of breath
There are many factors that can lead to shortness of breath, but in a pregnant woman, it is something that is always worth paying attention to.
Shortness of breath for no apparent reason can be one of the warning signs of a blood clot that found its way to the lungs, or it can point towards a pulmonary embolism.
6. Leg cramps
If one of your legs is cramping and you are experiencing leg pain, you need to consider a few factors – like if there is swelling on the leg, or if the pain is constant and is not going away. If this is the case, call your doctor, as it might be a blood clot that has developed on your leg, but that can migrate to the heart, brain, or lungs, where it could become critical.
However, be aware that during pregnancy, a lot of women experience swollen hands and feet due to water retention, but they may also experience swollen legs due to weight gain, so one factor alone is no reason to call your doctor.
7. Constant itching
This isn’t the type of thing that you need to go running to the doctor for, but if you are suffering from a constant itch that is so bad to the point it disrupts your everyday routine, this might be a signal that something is wrong with your liver. If it’s late at night, wait until the next morning as it is usually nothing serious.