Once you learn you are pregnant, your focus immediately shifts to your baby and his/her healthy development. Physical signs and symptoms that wouldn’t have phased you in the past can now seem like major red flags, making it difficult to know when to call your OB or when to watch and wait.
The pregnant body goes through unbelievably dramatic changes in a short amount of time, making it helpful to know the signs indicating you should contact your OB or midwife and check in.
1. You are cramping, bleeding, or spotting
It is not uncommon for women to bleed, feel tender, or spot a bit during their first trimester. As many as 40% of women experience some degree of spotting or light bleeding during this phase. After the first trimester, bleeding is far less common.
Even so, to err on the safe side, we always recommend checking in if you experience spotting, bleeding, or heavy cramping/pelvic discomfort.
2. Extreme swelling of the extremities and/or severe headache
Preeclampsia is one of the most dangerous conditions that can affect a mother and her developing baby during pregnancy. Usually, preeclampsia doesn’t show up until Week 20 or afterwards.
The most common “first symptoms” of preeclampsia are:
- Extreme headaches
- Nausea/vomiting (not related to morning sickness)
- Sudden, atypical weight gain
- Extreme swelling of the extremities or face
- Vision changes
- Shortness of breath
- Feelings of anxiety
Women with preeclampsia must be closely monitored to protect the well being of themselves and their family.
3. Contractions (heavy cramping, lower back pain)
Around the five month point or so, the body starts gearing up for labor. This can show up in nipples that begin to leak sticky, colostrum. It can also show up in what are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. These can really take you by surprise, and they typically go away once you lay down.
If, however, you experience contractions that occur at more than four per hour, the increase in intensity, are accompanied with leaking fluid, notable pelvic cramping or back pain, give your physician a call. We want to make sure you aren’t experiencing preterm labor!
4. You have a fever of 100° F or seem ill
It is not uncommon to get sick while you are pregnant, and it almost never poses a risk to your baby. However, we still want to know about it so we can remain tuned in and facilitate your healthy return to “normal.” Contact your OB or the 24-hour nurse line if you:
- Run a fever of 100° F or higher
- Vomit more than with a typical flu and/or
- Have severe diarrhea
We would much rather tell you everything is just fine than let you and your baby suffer when we can provide relief or better treatment. If you are pregnant in the midst of the current COVID pandemic, Click Here to learn more.
5. Fainting or dizzy spells
Your body is working overtime, all the time, while you’re pregnant. This is why it is so important to eat well, get good sleep, and put your feet up more often than you would normally do. Fainting or dizzy spells are never considered “normal” while pregnant. If you have them, give your OB a call ASAP. Most likely, they will want you to come into the office as soon as possible so they can investigate a bit further.
Never hesitate to call your obstetrician or midwife if you experience anything that concerns you. It is our great pleasure to tell you, “Thanks for checking in, and everything seems 100% fine and dandy!” If there is something out of balance with you or your baby, we want to know so we can provide expert care and treatment as soon as possible.
Have a question or concern about your pregnancy? Or, are you looking for a labor and delivery team that takes a complete approach to your prenatal and postpartum care? Contact us here at Overlake OB/GYN.