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7 things to watch out for

Some symptoms during pregnancy are par for the course, but others are cause for alarm. How do you know the difference?

You may wonder what symptoms during pregnancy warrant immediate medical attention and what symptoms can wait until your next prenatal visit. Always speak to one of our doctors about your concerns. But also keep in mind that some symptoms do need swift attention.

1. Bleeding

Bleeding means different things throughout your pregnancy. If you are bleeding heavily and have severe abdominal pain and menstrual-like cramps or feel like you are going to faint during first trimester, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, can be life-threatening.

Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriage in first or early second trimester. By contrast, bleeding with abdominal pain in the third trimester may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.

Any bleeding during pregnancy needs immediate attention. Contact our doctors or go to A&E.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

It's very common to have some nausea when you're pregnant. If it gets to be severe, that may be more serious.

If you can’t eat or drink anything, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated. Being malnourished and dehydrated can harm your baby.

If you experience severe nausea, tell one of our health care providers. The doctor may prescribe medication or advise changing your diet.

3. Baby’s Activity Level Significantly Declines

What does it mean if your previously active baby seems to have less energy? It may be normal. But how can you tell?

Some troubleshooting can help determine if there is a problem. We suggest that you first drink something cold or eat something. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.

Counting kicks can also help. There is no optimal or critical number of movements, but generally you should establish a baseline and have a subjective perception of whether your baby is moving more or less. As a general rule, you should have 10 or more kicks in two hours. Anything less should prompt a chat with one of our doctors.

4. Contractions Early in the Third Trimester

Contractions could be a sign of preterm labor. But a lot of first-time moms may confuse true labor and false labor. False labor contractions are called Braxton-Hicks contractions. They’re unpredictable, non-rhythmic, and do not increase in intensity. They will subside in an hour or with hydration. But regular contractions are about 10 minutes apart or less and increase in intensity.

If you're in your third trimester and think you're having contractions, contact us right away. If it is too early for the baby to be born, our doctor may advise you to go to hospital.

5. Your Water Breaks

You walk into the kitchen for a drink and feel a flood of water rush down your legs. Your water could have broken, but during pregnancy the enlarged uterus can cause pressure on your bladder too. So it could be urine leakage. Sometimes water breaking is a dramatic gush of fluid, but other times it is more subtle.

If you are not sure if it is urine versus a true rupture of the membrane, go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. If the fluid continues, then you have broken your water. Call your doctor or go to the hospital.

6. A Persistent Severe Headache, Abdominal Pain, Visual Disturbances, and Swelling During Your Third Trimester

These symptoms could be a sign of preeclampsia. That’s a serious condition that develops during pregnancy and is potentially fatal. The disorder is marked by high blood pressure and excess protein in your urine that typically occurs after the 20th week of pregnancy.

Call your doctor right away and get your blood pressure tested. Good prenatal care can help catch preeclampsia early.

7. Flu Symptoms

Our experts say it’s important for pregnant women to get the flu vaccine since pregnant women are more likely to get sick and have serious complications from the flu than other women during flu season.

But if you do get the flu, don’t rush into a hospital or doctor’s office where you can spread it to other pregnant women, contact us first.

All our video appointments are secure and with UK qualified GPs.

We are accredited and regulated by the Care Quality Commission, with a Good rating from our last review in December 2019.

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