When to Call the Doc: First Trimester Red Flags

If you’re a new mommy-to-be, you are most likely having a number of symptoms you are not accustomed to experiencing. It may become hard to distinguish which are normal and which are cause for concern. Most of your symptoms are simply signs of a healthy pregnancy and no reason for alarm. Others, though they may eventually prove to be nothing, raise red flags and should be discussed with or monitored by your doctor. Below are a list of common signs which may signify a complication. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to call your doctor. But, do not panic! Many of these can still occur during healthy pregnancies, but it is better to be safe than sorry. 

  1. Vaginal Bleeding- As discussed earlier in “How to Know it’s Time to Take the Test- Initial Signs of Pregnancy,” implantation bleeding, otherwise known as spotting, is very common. Implantation bleeding is light bleeding that occurs 5-10 days after conception. It is a sign that the embryo has implanted itself in the uterine wall. This type of spotting occurs in 30% of pregnancies. If bleeding continues past this 5-10 day window it may be cause for concern. Heavy bleeding could be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, especially if the blood is bright red in hue. If bleeding is accompanied by menstrual cycle like cramps, it could be a warning sign of miscarriage. Sharp, low abdominal pain might signify ectopic pregnancy.
  2. Contractions or Watery Discharge- Contractions or watery discharge occurring before 37 weeks of pregnancy could mean your amniotic sac has ruptured and you’re going into preterm labor. Calling the doctor is definitely necessary, but do not be alarmed because your baby kicking into your bladder could have simply caused urine leakage.
  3. Excessive Nausea and Vomiting- Nausea and vomiting are very common during pregnancy, but, when it becomes excessive, it can endanger your health and the health of your baby. Severe vomiting could cause dehydration, weight loss, and lack of electrolytes. Inability to keep any water or fluids down for more than 12 hours is good reason to call the doc. Hospitalization may be required to treat dehydration or medication for nausea may be prescribed.
  4. High Fever- A temperature greater than 101 degrees could indicate an infection, which could affect your baby. Report any fever plus upper respiratory symptoms, body ache, flu-like symptoms, or rashes and joint pain to your doctor. Also, be sure to get your yearly flu vaccine.
  5. Vaginal Discharge and Itching- Abnormal vaginal discharge or itching could indicate an infection or sexually transmitted disease. These might pose a risk to your baby. Be sure to communicate these symptoms to you obstetrician, many are easily treated.
  6. Burning During Urination- This can be a sign of bladder or urinary tract infections. If left untreated they can lead to more serious illness, infection, pre-term labor, and pre-term birth.
  7. Leg/Calf Pain or Severe Headache- Pregnancy increases the risk of blood clots. They can develop in the placenta and cut off blood flow to your baby, or they can break off and travel to the lung, which can be fatal. Severe headache may indicate a potential blood clot in brain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to notify your doctor. Women at high risk for blood clots during pregnancy are those who are obese, older than 35, or who have a family or personal history of blood clots.
  8. Body Swelling, Blurry Vision, Dizziness- These symptoms could indicate high blood pressure during pregnancy, also known as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can cause a number of complications if left untreated, which can potentially be fatal. If you are experiencing these symptoms, call your doctor. And, if they are severe, a trip to the emergency room is recommended.

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