When to Call the Doctor During a Pregnancy


Throughout your pregnancy, you will see a health care provider who will check for routine things, such as blood pressure and fetal movement, to determine that both of you are healthy. However, there are times when you may feel that symptoms are out of the normal range. Trust your instincts. If you feel that something is not OK with you or your baby, and you are concerned, it should be checked. Most things, if caught early enough, can be treated without further complications.

Severe Abdominal Cramping

Some cramping is normal during pregnancy. The stretching of your pelvic ligaments and uterus, in addition to the baby’s movements, can cause mild cramping. However, you should never experience severe abdominal cramping or cramping that comes in a distinguishable pattern before 37 weeks. This type of cramping can signal that labor has started.

Decreased Fetal Movement

Babies have sleep and awake patterns in the uterus just as they will after they are born. However, adequate fetal movement is a sign of a healthy baby. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says 10 fetal movements in two hours is adequate movement. If you have a really active day, you may not feel as many movements as you would if you were still but you should feel some movement. If you are unsure about your baby’s activity, call your health care provider.

Signs of Premature Labor

You should contact your health care provider immediately if you notice any signs of premature labor. Signs of premature labor includes regular, consistent abdominal cramping, bloody show, a leak of fluid, or a heavy pressure in the vagina or pelvis. Not all these signs must appear at the same time to be premature labor. Experiencing just one is enough to seek assistance.

Signs of Preeclampsia

According to WebMD, preeclampsia is a pregnancy-related blood circulation problem that causes high blood pressure and affects the mother’s kidneys, liver, brain and placenta. It most commonly occurs during first pregnancies after the 20th week. Signs of preeclampsia that you should watch for include: vision problems, such as blurred vision or black floaty spots, persistent headache and swelling of the hands and face.

Severe or Persistent Vomiting

About 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness, according to the American Pregnancy Association. However, approximately 1 percent experience severe morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. Some signs of this include severe nausea and vomiting, a decrease in urination which often signals dehydration, headaches, confusion, fainting, aversion to foods and jaundice. If you are experiencing any of these signs, get help immediately.

Burning During Urination

Frequent urination is normal during the beginning and ending of pregnancy, but it should never hurt or burn to urinate. Urination that is painful, burning or smells foul indicates a type of infection that needs to be treated immediately.

Unusual Symptoms

If you are not feeling well or just feel that something is happening that shouldn’t be, don’t be afraid to contact your health care provider. It is better to address your concerns than worry if there is something wrong.



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