A lot of changes happens to a woman’s body throughout pregnancy, and you may be oblivious to these especially if you are a first-time mom. Some of these changes may be normal for pregnant women, while some may indicate a red flag—and when you don’t know how to identify which one’s safe and which one isn’t, this can put your baby’s safety at risk.
With this, it’s always a good idea to discuss with your doctor symptoms that require immediate medical attention and to set together a protocol for emergency cases. Below are some instances that warrant prompt professional help anytime in your pregnancy:
Sudden Swelling in Your Hands, Face, or Feet
This could be a sign of a serious condition known as preeclampsia. Your health-care provider should be able to monitor you for symptoms of this disorder at each prenatal visit, yet the severe swelling can happen suddenly. If you begin to notice this sign, along with severe headache, vision changes, or rapid heartbeat, seek medical care immediately.
When not treated promptly, preeclampsia can progress to eclampsia, which is a more detrimental condition in pregnancy that may lead to seizures and further complications for you and your baby.
Fewer Kicks or Movements from the Baby
Usually, you will start to feel your baby’s movements when you’re about sixteen to twenty-two weeks along in your pregnancy. These movements can start as subtle kicks, progressing into stronger ones as the weeks go by.
Once you start to feel these kicks regularly, your health-care provider will advise that you start keeping track of your baby’s movements through daily fetal kick counts so you’ll know when his or her movements slow down. When they do slow down, this can signal a problem. Contact your doctor right away if your baby seems less active than usual. This can be a sign of fetal distress and can also mean that your baby may be receiving less oxygen.
Vaginal Bleeding or Spotting
It may be unsettling to see blood in your underwear while you’re pregnant, but this is not always a sign that something’s wrong. Some women may experience spotting, usually seen as brown or pink blood, but usually go on to have perfectly normal pregnancies. Still, if some spotting concerns you, don’t hesitate to give your doctor a call.
However, heavy bleeding, with bright red blood, may mean another thing. If it happens during your third trimester, this can mean that you’ve lost your mucus plug, which indicates the onset of labor. In such cases, go to the hospital right away.
Chills or Fever
A fever that’s higher that 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous if you are pregnant. Call your doctor right away if you have a fever to get treated as soon as possible. Especially during the first trimester, having a fever in your pregnancy can increase your baby’s risk of complications, such as heart defects, a cleft palate, or neural tube defects.
Fever and chills that are accompanied by painful or burning urination can also indicate an infection, which also warrants for prompt treatment. In the meantime, you may take acetaminophen to relieve the fever, but only if your doctor gives you the go signal.
Other Worsening Health Problems Such as Asthma
It is important to keep your asthma under control, especially if you are pregnant, to decrease your risk for low birth weight, premature labor, and stillbirth. Although asthma may or may not get worse for pregnant women, your doctor may most likely pay more attention to your condition if your asthma worsened during a previous pregnancy.
In case you get an asthma attack that doesn’t subside even after following your asthma action plan, seek emergency care right away. There, you will be monitored using a Nonin pulse oximeter and given proper treatment to avoid any complications in your pregnancy as much as possible.
A Few More Reminders
When it comes to your baby’s health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice if something feels unsettling at any time in your pregnancy. Doing so will not only give you a sense of relief but may even spare your baby from a possible health risk.