Pregnancy Symptoms You Can't Ignore

These signs warrant a call to the doctor.

Detectable Problems

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so busy chasing my 2-year-old son I barely had time to breathe, never mind count fetal kicks. I was vaguely aware that her movements had slowed early in the ninth month, but when I went for my prenatal visit at 37 weeks, I didn't think to mention it.

I was leaving the examining room when my obstetrician asked matter-of-factly, "Is she moving okay?" I joked that my baby had run out of room to somersault, and he ordered a nonstress test, "just to be safe." (The test checks the baby's heart rate, which should go up with every movement.) The results were worrisome enough to warrant an ultrasound, which revealed that my amniotic fluid levels were low. Seven hours later, following an emergency induction, I gave birth to a healthy 5-pound, 10-ounce girl. I can't bear to think about what might have happened had my doctor failed to ask about my baby's movement.

While few expectant mothers will ignore such unambiguous trouble signs as vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, even experienced moms may not notice or report other serious symptoms because they're accepted as normal. Fortunately, most of the unusual symptoms you may experience while pregnant are normal. But it's essential to tell your doctor about some, such as the following.

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