Pregnancy is many things - beautiful and exciting while also a little yucky and uncomfortable. What some pregnant mamas do not know is that while a lot of symptoms may be fun and new, some symptoms may be deadly and dangerous.
The body goes through a head to toe change while pregnant, and there are so many new things happening that it can be hard to determine what is normal and what is not. We have compiled a list of 15 incidences where it is crucial for a mama-to-be (or anyone else around her) to call 911.
Some people feel like they should only call 911 if they are 100% sure they are in an emergency situation. Some people feel stupid calling 911 if they are not sure if their complication is that serious. For an expectant mother, it is better to be safe than it is to be sorry.
A mama may call 911 and be totally fine, but at least she got herself checked out. If 911 is called and there was indeed a big issue, it is better that the issue gets fixed before it is too late. During pregnancy, a mama does everything she can to nourish and protect her baby and herself, so it is important to be aware of certain symptoms.
Some of these incidences an OB might go over with an expectant mom to be, and some may completely blindside her. We want mamas to be healthy, happy, safe and aware of the risks and symptoms of an emergency.
15 The Baby Stops Moving
It is common for a mama to worry if she does not feel baby moving around after a certain period. There is not a “normal” number of movements because each pregnancy and each baby is different. Over time, you will learn your baby’s habits in utero. Being aware of your baby’s movements can help you to monitor the health of your unborn child.
There is no need to call 911 every time you feel your baby is not moving, because chances are she could be taking a nap or having a lazy day. Concern arises when there is a sudden decrease in movements, if she is not responding to belly touches or pokes after a while, or if baby is not responding after a cold drink or sugary drink. It is crucial for mamas to monitor their babies' movements because it could save their lives.
14 The Water Looks And Smells Foul
Hooray, your water broke! This means baby is coming soon and this can be extremely exciting (and nerve-wracking) if you are after 37 weeks for most mamas. If a mama’s water breaks at home, she does not need to rush to the hospital if she is not having contractions. She should call her doctor and they will let her know their hospital's protocol on when to come in.
An issue arises when the water (the amniotic fluid) has a foul smell. This can be a sign of an infection, and if that is the case, it is time to call 911 and get to the emergency room. If when the water breaks, it looks brown or green, that means baby passed meconium and she may be in distress. In that case, there is no time to waste and getting to the emergency room is a must. If a mama is group b strep positive and her water breaks, she needs to get to the hospital so they can administer antibiotics right away.
13 When Rashes Form
Some rashes can be expected during pregnancy while others can be dangerous. When a pregnant mama gets a rash, they often wonder if this could impact their baby, and some rashes can be fatal.
A rash called impetigo herpetiformis can lead to the death of your baby. This is due to the lesions from the rash breaking open and the puss and sores getting infected. Besides the rash itself, other symptoms can include nausea, fever, and the chills. Another deadly rash is called intrahepatic cholestasis which normally occurs in the third trimester.
This is due to elevated levels of bile fluids in mama’s system which results in the liver slowing down. Other symptoms can be pain in the upper right quadrant, light colored bowl movements, dark colored urine, or itching.
Both of these rashes require immediate attention as soon as they are noticed and it is best to get to a hospital as soon as possible to avoid losing the baby!
12 Spotting In The Mouth
More often than not, your cough is related to a cold, but in some cases, it is more severe. If a mama starts coughing or spitting up blood, it can be a sign of a pulmonary embolism (a blocked artery in the lungs) which is super serious. This can lead to the death of mama and the death of her baby. Blood during pregnancy is always scary- no matter what body part it is coming out of.
Blood always makes a pregnant woman worry, and while some bleeding is normal (implantation bleeding for example) coughing or spitting up blood needs immediate attention. The sooner a mama gets to an emergency room the more likely the chance of sparing her and her baby’s life. Even if a mama goes and they say she and baby are fine, it is always best to get checked out just in case.
11 Extreme Weakness
It is not uncommon to feel dizzy during pregnancy, but actually passing out can be super dangerous. Not only can passing out result in an injury to mama and baby, but it can give hints to underlying issues mama is experiencing such as dehydration, low blood sugar, ectopic pregnancy, or even placental abruption.
Even if a mama assumes she passes out due to something she deems as “no big deal," it is always best to get checked out. Passing out can be a big deal for baby and/or for mama! This can be super scary for a mama (or even dad if he is around to witness it) but calling 911 can ensure that you will get a proper evaluation and treatment. It is better to be safe than sorry!
10 Vision Becomes Blurry
Blurred vision can be normal for some women and it can also be temporary. The issue here is that blurry vision can be an indicator of more serious problems in pregnancy such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Double vision, dimming vision, floaters that do not go away, or blurring are all signs of possible bigger issues. If these eye issues last longer than two hours, mama needs immediate attention from a hospital. If high blood pressure or gestational diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to problems for mama and baby.
If your blurred vision turns out to be a side effect of pregnancy, the good news is vision will most likely return to normal after your sweetie is born. During pregnancy, it is important to take extra care of yourself and to be more aware of bodily changes. Some changes are normal, while others can be indicators of underlying issues.
9 Spontaneous Swelling
Swelling during pregnancy is common - every expectant mama assumes that. What not everyone knows is that some swelling can be dangerous. Doctors advise mom to call 911 if she notices sudden and severe swelling of her feet and ankles or if she notices any swelling or puffiness around the eyes. Swelling in the hands and rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week) is a sign of a problem.
Swelling in one leg more than the other (accompanied by pain) can be a sign of a blood clot. Excessive swelling can also be a major symptom for preeclampsia. Even if you call 911 and after being checked out you are told that the swelling is normal, it is better to be safe rather than sorry. So many things can go wrong during pregnancy and the sooner help is obtained, the better.
8 Aunt Flo Makes An Appearance
Blood during pregnancy is alarming when first noticed, and it can be a sign of danger. Before a mama is 12 weeks along, implantation bleeding is common and the risk of miscarriage is higher. Another reason for bleeding can be linked to an ectopic pregnancy which is an emergency situation.
Other emergency situations can be an ante-partum hemorrhage as well as placental abruption. All bleeding should be reported to your doctor because at the end of the day, you really do not know 100% what is causing the bleeding and guessing could be deadly. It is best to get to an emergency room just to be safe if bleeding is heavy.
The only way to know the real cause and the health of your baby is to get to an emergency room and to have a checkup along with blood work and a sonogram of the baby.
7 The Common Cold Can Turn Deadly
A runny nose, sore throat, or small fever are normally nothing to worry about but during pregnancy, being sick can endanger you and/or your baby’s life. If a pregnant woman has a little tickle in her throat or a runny nose, more often than not there is nothing to be worried about. If a woman has a severe case of these symptoms or they accompany other symptoms (such as red eyes, rash, nausea, diarrhea, bad cough, swollen lymph nodes, fever) it is best to get to the emergency room as soon as possible.
There are many infections that can hurt a pregnant mama and/or her baby, such as listeriosis, for example. This comes from bacteria found in under/uncooked meats and certain cheeses. The Zika virus can cause horrific birth defects as well as brain damage. Even the common flu can cause pre-term labor! Chicken pox and rubella are even at an elevated risk to pregnant women. To be on the safe side, call 911 or get yourself to a hospital.
6 The Body Stiffens
A seizure is scary to witness and scary to have - but during pregnancy, it's even scarier because a seizure can actually kill baby. There are scary consequences of a seizure during pregnancy such as placental abruption, preterm labor, fetal injury, fetal death, and fetal heart rate deceleration.
If a pregnant woman already has epilepsy before going into pregnancy, she and her doctor have most likely discussed how to handle the situation if a seizure occurs. For women without a seizure diagnosis, this can be especially scary and they need to get checked out immediately.
If the seizure is witnessed by another person, it is crucial that they call 911. Sometimes after a seizure, even if it is someone’s first one, it is hard to know what just happened. If a mama finds herself feeling odd (often indescribable or overly confused and weak), in a position they do not remember getting into, or with a severe headache, it is always best to call 911 to be safe.
5 Don't Underestimate Chest Pains
Chest pains can be a result of some regular issues pregnant woman face, but it can also be something more severe. Chest pains while expecting can be scary, and they are sometimes due to heartburn or a widening rib cage. They can also be due to more serious issues such as a heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, or an infection.
If, after trying to take it easy and relax, the pain is not subsiding or is getting worse, it is time to call 911. Getting immediate medical assistance can save mama and baby's life. It can be confusing and scary not understanding the root cause of pain inside of the body, and some people are hesitant to call 911 because they do not want to sound like a complainer or waste the time of the paramedics if the issue is not a big deal. During pregnancy, the body goes through a lot of changes. Chest pain may be normal or it can be deadly, only medical professionals can tell the difference.
4 The Heartbeat Raises
At every OB appointment, a nurse will take your blood pressure. Managing and tracking blood pressure during pregnancy is a must. Some mamas take their own blood pressure at home or at a local pharmacy - and if they notice their blood pressure is high it is time to call 911.
High blood pressure is a critical concern during pregnancy (especially for those women who have chronic hypertension). The onset of high blood pressure could be a sign of preeclampsia (every preggers woman's worst nightmare). It is best to get checked out by a doc right away.
Panicking will only make your blood pressure higher, so it is best to try and stay calm while waiting for help to arrive. That spike in high blood pressure might be no big deal, or it could be serious - but it is always best to find out what is going on.
3 Bumping The Bump
We all know that when we are pregnant, that sweet peanut is protected by mama’s stomach fat, skin, amniotic fluid, and bones. In most everyday life situations, that soon to be bundle of joy is well protected, but there are times that they are not.
If a mama experiences trauma to her abdomen that can seriously harm and even kill her baby, call 911 and don't think twice about it. If a mama is a victim of domestic violence (or any other kind of act of violence) it can kill the baby and it is important to get baby checked out as soon as possible. If a mama gets into a car accident while pregnant, it can cause serious trauma. Car accidents are responsible for 2/3 of maternal trauma cases.
Even obtaining a burn on the stomach can lead to serious issues and it is best to get checked out immediately. If a mama falls and lands on her stomach, it can cause trauma or even if she is involved in a contact sport, it can cause serious issues. Even if mom is not 100% sure if a traumatic incident is “traumatic enough” it is best not to ignore it and get herself and her baby checked out.
2 The Baby Gets Impatient
Some expectant mothers decide to give birth in the hospital, while others prefer a birthing center or to deliver at home. No matter what the preference is, having medical attention can be a matter of life or death. Sometimes baby does not want to wait until doc is around, and that’s when mom needs to call 911. If contractions get super close together, the urge to push becomes unbearable or baby is actually coming out…it is time for some help STAT.
So many things can go wrong during delivery, and many of them are out of mom’s control. Having a medical professional to assist in the delivery, or paramedics to assess the situation and get you to a hospital are without a doubt crucial. Being very aware of your body during those final weeks is a must because baby can come at any time. It can happen at Target or during a Netflix marathon.
1 Sharp Pains
Pain is expected during pregnancy, but there are some incidences when pain can equal an emergency. If a mama is less than 12 weeks pregnant and she feels sharp cramps on one side of her stomach, it could equal an ectopic pregnancy. A miscarriage can also cause severe pain and cramping and that can be very worrisome and scary for expectant mamas. Medical attention needs to be accessed as soon as possible.
On the flip side, later on in pregnancy, abdominal pain could be dangerous as well. If pain is intense, sharp, or recurrent, it could be a sign of contractions or even appendicitis. If the pain becomes too intense or prevents you from going about your day-to-day activities, then contacting 911 could be lifesaving.