As your baby is developing inside of you, it is one of the most fragile things in the world. He literally starts off microscopic and then his body slowly develops until he becomes capable of surviving in the outside world.
As a pregnant mother, you're pretty fragile too. Although you probably can hold out on your own, pregnancy brings all sorts of new, out-of-routine things that may shift you off balance.
While many of the things you will experience are probably within normal parameters for a pregnancy, there may be a risk that you could develop serious problems such as eclampsia and infection that could endanger you and your baby.
If you experience any of these 15 warning signs, we advise you to seek medical consultation right away as these could mean some very serious problems.
17 Vaginal Bleeding
While bleeding is pretty common during the first trimester of pregnancy, you should still be on the lookout if it persists or is heavy. About a week or two into your pregnancy, you may experience a little bit of bleeding when the fertilized egg implants itself into your uterus. You may also experience some bleeding due to hormonal changes in your body.
However, if it comes with severe abdominal cramps and other symptoms, you may be having a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
Any bleeding that occurs in the second or third trimesters is probably serious. This could signal dangerous conditions such as placenta previa or premature contractions. Consult your doctor immediately if vaginal bleeding happens at this time.
16 Really Bad Nausea
Again, some nausea is expected as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes in your body. However, if the nausea is severe and comes with frequent vomiting, you may have hyperemesis gravidarum. This is a condition which affects about 1% of pregnant women.
This is dangerous because it may cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. If left untreated, this will lead to more serious complications. Fortunately, though, it is highly treatable. If you haven't been able to keep anything down for 12 hours or more, tell your doctor right away.
15 Fever or Flu-Like Symptoms
Fever or flu-like symptoms any time during your pregnancy should be checked. Fever is a warning sign that you may have an infection. This could range from a simple viral infection to more serious conditions such as chorioamnionitis to Listeria.
Even if you think it's just a virus, you should still get it checked. Many viruses are known to cause abortion and birth defects. As a general rule, you should avoid all sick people during your pregnancy.
14 Abdominal Pain or Tenderness
Some abdominal pain around your belly may be normal as your body accommodates a growing uterus. If the pain is around your lower abdomen and you feel discomfort while urinating, however, you may want to get checked for a urinary tract infection.
If, however, the pain is severe or persistent, or it comes with a vaginal discharge or fever, you may want to get checked for other complications.
13 Severe Leg Cramps
Normal pregnancy leg cramps are caused by hormonal changes or electrolyte imbalances. This may be treated with plenty of rest and mineral supplements.
But, if it involves severe, persistent leg pain and swelling, it may be a sign of deep venous thrombosis. This means that a blood clot has formed in your legs. If left untreated, it might move up into the bloodstream and lodge in your brain or heart.
Pica can be a sort of pregnancy craving, although probably not the kind you're thinking. It is craving and consuming non-food substances such as dirt, chalk, soap or cigarette ashes. This is dangerous, first because it may be a sign that you're not getting enough of certain nutrients. It may also hinder the absorption of nutrients from food, leading to nutritional deficiency.
11 Painful Urination
Painful urination is always a problem. You may notice that you're urinating more often, which is fine. Pain or a burning sensation, however, may mean a urinary tract infection or a sexually transmitted infection.
UTIs are pretty common at around the second month of pregnancy and onwards. Even if they are common, however, you should get them treated right away. UTIs are not only uncomfortable, they may also spread to the kidneys if you don't take antibiotics right away.
10 High Blood Pressure
If you've had high blood pressure before your pregnancy, it's best to seek your doctor's advice regarding your maintenance medication. This is because some medications may not be safe for your baby, particularly during your first trimester.
If, however, it only begins after your pregnancy, you may have gestational hypertension or a serious condition called preeclampsia. Either way, your blood pressure must be managed immediately in order to prevent complications.
This is a bit trickier to determine as we usually don't check our blood sugar levels as often as our blood pressure. Hyperglycemia during pregnancy, however, may mean that you have gestational diabetes.
Even if you've had diabetes before your pregnancy, you still must take extra care to control your blood sugar levels. This is because excess sugar in the body can cause macrosomia or an abnormally large baby. This can pose a problem during birth as a large baby may not be able to fit through your birth canal.
In addition, the pancreas of a fetus exposed to lots of sugar will produce plenty of insulin to aid in the absorption of sugar. Once they are born and the sugar levels in your body are cut off, they will need extra care to prevent hypoglycemia.
8 Facial Swelling
Some swelling or edema is normal during pregnancy. This usually presents as swelling of your feet, and sometimes of your hands. However, if the swelling is excessive or if it reaches your face, this may be another sign of preeclampsia.
You should also be concerned if one leg is more swollen than the other as this may mean that you have a deep vein thrombosis.
7 Vision Changes
Pregnancy causes fluid retention, which may lead to blurred vision. You may need a different set of eyeglasses or contacts during your pregnancy. It may be wise to get this checked, however, as this can be a sign of gestational diabetes.
If, however, you begin to experience sight loss or light sensitivity, have your blood pressure checked. This may be a sign of preeclampsia.
6 Severe Dizziness or Fatigue
While some dizziness or fatigue may be normal, you might need to get a blood test if it is severe or accompanied by pale skin and a rapid heartbeat. This could be a sign of anemia caused by a deficiency in iron, folate or vitamin B12. If left untreated, this could cause a low birth weight or developmental delays.
5 Not Gaining Enough Weight
On the average, a woman will gain around 2-4 pounds in the first three months of pregnancy, and then one pound a week afterward. If you're overweight, you might be able to get away with less weight gain without affecting your baby's health.
In general, however, if you fail to gain enough weight during the second trimester, your baby may not be getting enough nutrients for development. Your doctor may be able to tailor a diet with enough calories to get you back on track.
4 Vaginal Discharge
An abnormal vaginal discharge, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, may mean that you have a sexually transmitted infection. Women with STIs have an increased risk of miscarriage. Infections, such as herpes and HIV, may also be transmitted to the newborn during birth. It's best to get yourself tested so you and your partner can begin treatment right away.
Many women will experience symptoms of depression during their pregnancy. Depression can lead to all sorts of unhealthy behavior that may adversely affect both the baby and the mother. If you're constantly feeling sad or fail to find pleasure in things that you usually enjoy, you might want to consider seeing your doctor and getting therapy.
2 Baby Fails to Move or Moves Less
Before 22 weeks into your pregnancy, you must have felt your baby quicken. By 28 weeks, you should be able to feel your baby move frequently over the course of the day.
If your baby fails to move by 22 weeks, or if they begin moving less frequently than usual, you will need to tell your doctor.
1 Labor Signs When You're Not Due
You must be able to distinguish between true labor contractions and Braxton-Hicks Contractions. Braxton-Hicks Contractions are your body's way of practicing for actual labor. These are normal, irregular, and infrequent. They usually decrease in intensity and disappear after a while.
In premature labor, however, contractions will increase in intensity and slowly become regular. If this happens anytime before 37 or 38 weeks into your pregnancy, go to your doctor immediately, especially if fluid begins leaking out of your vagina.
Your doctor may be able to give you something to prevent premature labor. In the case of premature birth, prompt treatment at a hospital can minimize risks to yourself and the baby.