During pregnancy, there are certain health problems that should be reported to your physician immediately. These conditions are potentially problematic or even an actual emergency where time is crucial for both the mother and fetus. The more quickly you can recognize these symptoms, the more quickly you can seek help.
#1 – Vaginal bleeding – You don’t have to worry about light spotting or staining after sex. You can also relax about period-like bleeding called “show,” which occurs during the final weeks of pregnancy. Other bleeding may be a cause for concern.
While not uncommon, menstrual-like or heavier bleeding during the first trimester should always be evaluated. However, after the first trimester, heavier bleeding could signal a real emergency. It might be associated with placenta previa (the placenta blocking the mother’s cervix) or abruption (the placenta separating from the uterus). If you experience this kind of heavy bleeding, call your doctor ASAP.
#2 – Premature “water breaking” – If your water breaks before the 37-week point, the membranes have ruptured prematurely and special precautions must be taken. If the rupture is not totally obvious when it happens, you can tell based on persistent trickling of clear fluid from the vagina. If you notice leaking, walk around for a few minutes to see if it persists. If it does, contact your physician immediately.
#3 – Preeclampsia – Preeclampsia occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy and is caused by high blood pressure, swelling, and protein in the urine. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and spots in front of your eyes. If you experience one or all of these symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact the doctor.
#4 – Colds and other illnesses – Obviously, some colds are more severe than others. Most usually last for 7-10 days and get better with fluids and rest. However, if the cold turns into bronchitis or pneumonia, including fever and persistent cough, see the physician for an exam as soon as possible. You also want to come into the office if you get exposed to the chicken pox and you’ve never had them before.
When you’re pregnant, your motto should always be “better safe than sorry.” If you have any questions about the signs and symptoms of illness, never hesitate to contact your physician. That’s what the doctor is here for – to keep you and your baby healthy and safe and to offer you the greatest possible peace of mind.