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Healthy Pregnancy Series: When to Call the Doctor

admin October 13, 2010

When you’re pregnant, everything is different.  And if it’s your first time, everything is new.  This means you may have worrying symptoms from time to time.  How do you when it’s really time to call the doctor, though, and when it can wait?

Symptoms that require you to call the doctor immediately:

  • Heavy bleeding (at any point in the pregnancy)
  • Strong cramping or back pain (before term)
  • Extreme dizziness, loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting that doesn’t stop/can’t keep any food or liquid down
  • Severe swelling/fluid retention
  • Water breaking (especially if before term; may wait if at term)
  • Any severe, unexplained pain
  • Any dilation of the cervix if preterm (if you know how to check yourself)
  • Passing of tissue, fluid, or anything unusual through the vagina

Symptoms that require you to call the doctor soon (within hours or a day):

  • Rapid weight gain (more than 2 lbs. in a week or less)
  • Spotting (if it doesn’t stop after a short time, or if it turns to bleeding)
  • Moderate cramping/contraction-like pain (before term)
  • Loose stools (at term)
  • Extreme itching
  • Extreme nausea
  • More than 3 contractions in an hour if pre-term, even if not close or regular
  • Sudden loss of appetite, new nausea (especially if late in pregnancy)
  • If you feel especially uneasy about anything

Symptoms that seem worrying, but are normal!

  • Sleeplessness/ insomnia
  • Minor cramping, especially in lower abdomen (can be uterus growing and stretching, or corpus luteum cyst, both are normal)
  • Minor nausea
  • Light, short-term (hour or less) spotting (usually just a sign of minor irritation, caused by sex or otherwise disturbing the cervix)
  • Minor swelling of the feet/ankles
  • Minor backache
  • Minor, non-regular contractions (called Braxton-Hicks, to prepare your body for eventual labor; they don’t dilate you)
  • Mild dizziness, light-headedness or headaches 13 – 20 weeks (your blood volume is rapidly expanding at this time; this is common.  Eat more protein, drink more water, get more rest.  If severe, call.)
  • Strange fluttering in the abdomen (congratulations!  It’s either gas bubbles — lol — or your baby moving!)
  • Darkening of areas around your face or dark line on your belly

When To Call The Doctor

What it boils down to is this: if you are bleeding, strongly cramping, feel very sick, or are just very uneasy, get thee to a phone and call.  It’s better to call than not to, and your care provider should expect this and be ready to reassure you.  If not, find a new doctor!

And if you have any of the funny, normal symptoms above…laugh them off, but make sure they don’t turn into anything more!  Chances are they won’t. 🙂

When did you call the doctor when pregnant?  Was it anything to worry about?

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1 Comment

  1. This comment is unrelated to the post but an observation on the new ebook sample. You reference Ancel Adams as the scientist behind the lipid hypothesis. Ancel Keys was the scientist behind the lipid hypothesis, Ansel Adams was an artist 🙂

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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