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Danger Signs in Pregnancy That All Women Should Know


Danger Signs in Pregnancy

While the majority of pregnancies are uncomplicated and carry on with minimal risk of complications, you never know when a problem might strike you. It is not always possible to predict a complication so it is important for to be parents to know what signs and symptoms to look out for which could indicate a potential problem in pregnancy. 

Hope you've been following our pregnancy series. In this post, I will discuss 10 dangerous signs and symptoms in pregnancy which you should be aware of and what they could mean and what needs to be done in case you notice them. 

1. Vaginal bleeding

Remember, any bleeding in pregnancy is abnormal. There should be no bleeding in pregnancy ideally. Bleeding in pregnancy is always serious and needs immediate medical attention. 

Call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room as soon as possible. Bleeding in different trimesters could mean different things. In the first trimester, bleeding could mean an impending abortion or an ectopic pregnancy.

So what is ectopic pregnancy? It is pregnancy which occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus and it can be life-threatening if it is not taken care of in time. 

While in second trimester, the bleeding could be sign of once again an impending abortion and in third trimester, the bleeding could mean a premature labor or a low-lying placenta. 

What is placenta? Placenta is an organ which carries the blood from the mother to the baby and it is normally located at the top of the uterus. 

So in case somebody has a low-lying placenta that can cause bleeding or in case the placenta has separated from the uterus before time that can also cause bleeding. 

2. Abdominal pain

Once again there should be no abdominal pain in pregnancy and that needs urgent medical attention. 

In first trimester, pain could be a sign of an impending abortion or an ectopic pregnancy. In second trimester, it could be sign of an impending abortion once again. 

However, sometimes a miscarriage or an abortion can happen even without any abdominal pain, this is known as cervical incompetence. When the cervix which is the mouth of uterus is too weak to hold the baby and dilates without any pain and the baby is expelled. So in fact, any pelvic heaviness or pressure in the vagina should always be immediately informed to your doctor. 

Third trimester, the pain could be a sign of a placental separation. In that case, there would be bleeding along with the pain. 

3. Non-stop vomiting

Now you must be thinking nausea and vomiting is a common symptom of pregnancy. How can it be dangerous? Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and serious electrolyte disturbances in the body which are dangerous both for the mother and baby. 

If you have been vomiting more than eight to ten times a day, you are unable to drink fluids for more than eight hours or eat anything for beyond 24 hours or you have not passed urine for more than 12 hours, it needs immediate medical attention. 

4. Reduction in baby movements. 

Good fetal movements are a sign of good fetal health. Most of the mothers start appreciating the fetal movements by 20 weeks of pregnancy in the first pregnancy and a little earlier by about 18 weeks in the later pregnancies. 

Most babies form their distinct pattern of movements by the third trimester. So it's a good idea to start fetal movements count or the kick count from the third trimester. While every pregnancy is different, generally 10 movements in two hours is considered normal. 

However, it is important to first establish what is normal for your baby by doing a kick count for about maybe 5-10 days and any deviation from what is normal for your baby is more important than the absolute number. 

5. Persisting severe headache, upper abdominal pain, blurred vision and swelling all over the body. 

Call your doctor right away and get your blood pressure tested. These symptoms could be a sign of a serious problem called preeclampsia which develops during pregnancy and could harm the mother and the baby seriously. This disorder is marked by high blood pressure, excess protein in your urine and it occurs after 20th week of pregnancy. 

If it is undetected, it can lead to eclampsia where the mother could be throwing fits and her blood pressure could be very high and there could be significant damage to her liver, kidney, important organs and the baby too. 

6. Intense itching especially over palms and soles of your feet. 

Now some itching in pregnancy is considered normal due to stretching of skin and hormonal changes. Some women experience an itchy rash which occurs around stretch marks during late pregnancy. This is called puppp. 

It's a funny name but puppp means pruritic urticable plaques and papules of pregnancy. So ignore that, it's called pupps. Some women develop crusty itchy bumps on the arms, legs and abdomen.

This is called prurigo. All these are harmless but in case you develop intense itching without a rash especially on your palms and soles it could be sign of a serious condition called IHCP, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. 

In this case, there is buildup of bile acids in the body which get deposited in your skin and this leads to severe itching. 

Not just itching it can cause premature labor, fetal growth retardation, baby pooping inside and severe cases intrauterine fetal death. Now this is serious. So in case you are getting this kind of itching you must discuss with your doctor. 

7. Foul smelly vaginal discharge

Now vaginal discharge increases in pregnancy due to hormonal stimulation of the vaginal glands but this discharge is always clear and mucoid. If the discharge is foul smelling, greenish, yellowish, curdy white and even blood stained it could be sign of a vaginal infection and must be treated. Remember vaginal infections are one of the reason for the premature labor. 

8. Watery discharge from vagina

You walk into the kitchen for a drink and you feel a flood of water rush down your legs. Your water could have broken. Could it be a urine leakage? If you are not sure whether it is urine or the amniotic fluid go to the bathroom and empty your bladder. In case the fluid still continues then in all probability you have broken your water bag. 

Call your doctor or go to the hospital as soon as possible. 

9. Fever

Obviously anybody can have a fever in pregnancy and there could be many reasons for the fever. 

Starting from a simple flu to something serious. But fever in pregnancy demands urgent attention as infection must be treated and fever can cause a woman to go into premature labor. You can take simple paracetamol to lower the temperature and drink plenty of fluids. 

Avoid ibuprofen and aspirin for fever and see the doctor right away. 

10. Fast or difficult breathing

Now most women will complain of shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing by third trimester as the growing uterus pushes your diaphragm up and compresses the lungs.

Can you imagine that the growing uterus can push your diaphragm up by almost four centimeters. But sometimes it could be a sign of worsening asthma, severe anemia, hypertension, pneumonia or a serious condition called pulmonary embolism. 

So if there is a sudden onset of difficulty in breathing or there is pain while taking deep breaths associated fever and cough or you experience fast breathing or sense an increase in your pulse. Contact your doctor immediately. 

Closing Thought 

The idea of this post is not to scare you but to make you aware of few symptoms which could mean something serious. So be careful, be vigilant but also enjoy these precious nine months and keep exploring more posts in this blog.


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