Certain signs should not be ignored. Call your doctor if you notice the following:
Sudden swelling of your feet, face, or hands. If swelling is gradual and progresses as the day wears on, it's likely the ordinary swelling of pregnancy. However, if swelling occurs suddenly, it could be a sign of preeclampsia. Call the doctor right away.
Decreased movement of the fetus. If your baby seems to be moving less than usual, do a kick count. If after 2 hours you don't feel normal movement, call the doctor because the baby may need to be evaluated.
Reduced fetal movement
As your baby grows, you may start to feel that she's less active. The truth is that if she's healthy, she's moving as much as she did when she was smaller, but her movements feel different because she's all folded up and wedged in your uterus. Your baby has about as much space to move as you would if you were trying to swim in a bathtub.
If you're concerned because you notice a big difference in your baby's activity rate, you can count kicks. After eating a meal or snack, sit or lie down comfortably in a quiet place with no distractions, check the time, and count how many times your baby moves, kicks, twists, or pushes an elbow into your lungs. (Don't count hiccups.) You can count how many times she moves in an hour, or how long it takes for her to move 10 times. If you don't feel much movement, try again later on -- your baby may be sleeping. It should take her no longer than an hour to kick 10 times, although you may find that you feel 10 movements long before an hour passes.
Write down your baby's kick rate and then count again the next day at about the same time. Overall you should come up with approximately the same number of movements from day to day. If your baby's activity level drops dramatically, call your doctor. It simply may be that your baby may not be feeling well or she is a less active baby, but in either case you should check with your doctor.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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