Signs of Trouble
Every woman worries about her baby and whether her pregnancy is progressing normally. The chances are very good that if you've made it this far, everything will be fine. That said, it's good to know the warning signs that something is going wrong. Watch for the following:
- Bleeding from your vagina. A tiny bit of spotting after intercourse, especially during the first 18 weeks, is probably nothing to worry about. More bleeding than that could be a sign of a miscarriage (in the 1st trimester), problems with the placenta (in the 2nd trimester), or premature labor.
- Leakage of fluid from your vagina. This is almost always a worrisome development, so call your doctor right away if you have fluid leaking from your vagina. It could be premature rupture of the membranes or an incompetent cervix.
- Contractions that occur early in pregnancy on a regular, measurable basis. Random, sporadic contractions are usually Braxton Hicks; regular contractions may mean labor, particularly if you feel more than six in an hour.
- Abdominal cramping or severe abdominal pain. If you feel persistent, painful cramping in your abdomen, call the doctor -- you could be in labor.
- Severe nausea or vomiting. How much you should worry about nausea and vomiting depends on what is causing them. If you've caught the stomach bug that everyone else in your family had -- in other words, if you know why you're vomiting -- you and your baby will be fine, even if you feel terrible. (If you are vomiting so much that you can't keep fluids down and are getting dehydrated, however, call your health care provider.) If you don't know why you're vomiting, give the doctor a call and let her determine whether it is worrisome.
- Severe headaches, blurred vision, or extreme dizziness. These are symptoms that always merit a call to the doctor because they could be a sign of pregnancy complications or nonpregnancy-related illness.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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