When to Contact the Doctor

There are times where a sudden ache or symptom will have you concerned. You question whether or not you should contact your doctor or midwife. Generally it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution for the safety of yourself and your baby. Here’s a good guideline of symptoms that you should watch out for.

Some of these symptoms may be more or less urgent depending on your circumstances (health history, length of pregnancy, severity of the symptoms, etc). Your doctor or midwife should go over with you at various points in your pregnancy which signs warrant an urgent call.

  • Painful or burning sensation when urinating, significant decrease or lack of urination
  • Vaginal bleeding, a change in vaginal discharge or leaking of fluid
  • Pelvic pressure or low back pain or cramping before 37 weeks gestation as this could be a sign of preterm labor
  • Severe or persistent vomiting or any vomiting accompanied by pain or fever
  • Persistent itching all over. Watch for jaundice, dark urine, and pale stools as this could be a sign of cholestasis
  • Visual problems, such as double vision, blurring, dimming, flashing spots, or lights
  • Severe headache that lasts for more than two hours
  • Swelling or puffiness (edema) of the hands, face, and around the eyes or sudden noticeable weight gain of 2 pounds or more, not related to eating. These could be a signs of Pre Eclampsia.
  • Persistent severe leg cramp or calf pain
  • Decreased fetal movement (If you feel fewer than ten movements in two hours once you begin your third trimester, call your doctor or midwife immediately.)
  • Trauma to the abdomen
  • Fever greater than 101 degrees F
  • Severe or persistent abdominal pain
  • Fainting or dizziness

    Again, as a general rule, if you feel that something isn’t quite right, or you are concerned, go ahead and call your doctor or midwife. They are used to it and should be there to ease your fears, even if it turns out to be something harmless. I had an OB once tell me that he would rather I wake him up at 3am with a minor complaint, than be called at 10am with an emergency that could have been prevented with that 3am call.

    Even with subsequent pregnancies, you may experience symptoms completely different from your first. At the rate that your body changes over the course of 10 months, it’s often hard to tell what is normal and what is worrisome.



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