Friday, May 16, 2014

Pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore

How do you know whether that sudden ache is normal or warrants a 2 a.m. call to your doctor or midwife? Here's a rundown of symptoms that should set off your warning bells. But even if you don't see the source of your concern on this list, it's better to err on the side of caution and make that call than to agonize for hours, wondering whether you've gone into preterm labor or just pulled a ligament.

Note that some of these symptoms may be more or less urgent depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and on your particular situation or health history. Ask your practitioner to review with you which signs warrant an urgent call or immediate emergency medical care as your pregnancy progresses.

Pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore
Pregnancy symptoms

  • Your baby is moving or kicking less than usual (once he begins moving regularly). Ask your caregiver whether you should monitor your baby's activity by doing daily "kick counts." She can give you specific instructions on how to count and when to call.

  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain or tenderness.
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting.
  • An increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge—that is, if it becomes watery, mucousy, or bloody (even if it's only pink or blood-tinged). Note: After 37 weeks, an increase in mucus discharge is normal and may indicate that you'll be going into labor soon.
  • Pelvic pressure (a feeling that your baby is pushing down), lower back pain (especially if it's a new problem for you), menstrual-like cramping or abdominal pain, or more than four contractions in an hour (even if they don't hurt) before 37 weeks.
  • Painful or burning urination, or little or no urination.
  • Severe or persistent vomiting, or any vomiting accompanied by pain or fever.
  • Chills or fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
  • Visual disturbances such as double vision, blurring, dimming, flashing lights, or "floaters" (spots in your field of vision).
  • Persistent or severe headache, or any headache accompanied by blurred vision, slurred speech, or numbness.
  • Any swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, anything more than a little swelling in your hands, severe and sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or a rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week).
  • A persistent or severe leg cramp or calf pain that doesn't ease up when you flex your ankle and point your toes toward your nose or when you walk around, or one leg being significantly more swollen than the other.
  • Trauma to the abdomen (such as a fall or a car accident).
  • Fainting, frequent dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, or heart palpitations.
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, or chest pain.
  • Severe constipation accompanied by abdominal pain or severe diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours.
  • Persistent intense itching of your torso, arms, legs, palms, or soles, or a feeling of itchiness all over your body.
  • Flu exposure or symptoms. Both flu and H1N1 (swine) flu are very risky for pregnant women. So let your caregiver know right away if you've been in close contact with someone who has the flu or if you have any flu symptoms, which may include fever, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, and body aches and chills. Symptoms may occasionally include vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Seek immediate emergency medical care if you're experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chest or abdominal pain, sudden dizziness or confusion, severe or persistent vomiting, decreased fetal movement, or if you have a high fever despite taking acetaminophen.
  • Exposure to a communicable disease like chicken pox or rubella if you're not immune or are showing signs of infection. Call your caregiver—don't show up at the office without phoning first.
  • Depression or severe anxiety. If you are feeling a profound sense of sadness or hopelessness, having panic attacks, are unable to handle your daily responsibilities, or are having thoughts of harming yourself, seek help immediately.
  • Any other health problem that you'd ordinarily call your practitioner about, even if it's not related to your pregnancy (like worsening asthma or a cold that gets worse rather than better).

Your body is changing so rapidly that it's hard to know whether what you're experiencing is "normal." If you're not sure whether a symptom is serious, you don't feel like yourself, or you're uneasy, trust your instincts and make the call. Your caregiver expects such calls. If there's a problem, you'll get help right away. If nothing's wrong, you'll be reassured.

And if you can't reach a caregiver on the phone, you can always go to the hospital (to labor and delivery) or the emergency room.

Finally, if you're near your due date, check out the signs of labor so you'll know what to look for and when to call.

source :