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8 Warning signs during pregnancy to watch out for

Knowledge Hub

5 mins readFact Checked
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Written By:

Atif Riaz

Medically Reviewed By:

Mr M. Usman

8 Warning signs during pregnancy
8 Warning signs during pregnancy

8 Warning signs during pregnancy explained

Pregnancy is a beautiful and exciting time for expecting mothers. Staying happy and healthy is of vital importance during this time, but also being vigilant of signs and symptoms that may need medical attention is just as important.

While most pregnancies go smoothly, there are certain warning signs that every expectant mother should be aware of. This article will discuss 8 warning signs during pregnancy and what they can mean.

It’s important to preface this article by saying the list below is not an exhaustive list of signs or symptoms to be mindful of and is meant to be understood in a general context. If you experience any of these signs/ symptoms, then it does not necessarily lead to a definitive conclusion. If you have any concerns, then the best advice is always not to panic and seek medical advice from your doctor, midwife or click here to get links to further NHS support.

1 – Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding is one of the most common warning signs during pregnancy, which affects many women and causes a lot of concern. Bleeding can be considered as either light bleeding (spotting) and heavy bleeding. While spotting can be normal in early pregnancy, heavy bleeding could be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

We have an article going into more detail about bleeding during pregnancy, which you can read by clicking here.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • You have bleeding accompanied by pain or bleeding after 12 weeks.
  • You are experiencing heavy bleeding.

2 – Severe Headaches

Headaches are a common occurrence during pregnancy and can be one of the warning signs during pregnancy, but severe and persistent headaches can be a warning sign of preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a serious condition that affects pregnant women and can cause high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and organ damage. If you are concerned about preeclampsia then please consult your doctor or midwife, and this should be something which is discussed with you early in your pregnancy.

3 – Decreased Fetal Movement

Feeling your baby move is a sign that everything is okay. Typically, you should be able to feel your baby’s movements between 16 – 24 weeks, if this is your first baby then this may not be until you are around 20 weeks. Fetal movement is an important warning signs during pregnancy and If you have not felt your baby move by 24 weeks, tell your midwife. They’ll check your baby’s heartbeat and movements.

Every baby is different and so is the amount of fetal movement. You will over time become more familiar with your baby and his/her movements as part of the maternal bonding process and have some instincts about any significant changes to your baby’s movement.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • Your baby is moving less than usual.
  • You cannot feel your baby moving anymore.
  • There is a change to your baby’s usual pattern of movement.

4 – Contractions / Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain is broad warning signs during pregnancy that can relate to a number of different things, including ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or preterm labour. It’s important to stay calm and consider any other symptoms you may have with abdominal pain.

A common type of abdominal pain is contractions or abdominal cramping and can occur from the second trimester until birth. These contractions may be what’s referred to as Braxton Hicks contractions are normal and do not typically change the cervix or indicate labour.

Braxton Hicks contractions usually:

  • Are painless
  • Feel like tightening or hardening of the uterus
  • Occur irregularly

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • Your contractions are painful, regular or accompanied by any bleeding or spotting.

5 – Persistent Itching

Itching is another common occurrence during pregnancy, but if it’s persistent and accompanied by a rash, it could be a sign of cholestasis. Cholestasis is a liver condition and is the slowing or stalling of bile flow through your biliary system. It can be a problem in your liver or in your bile ducts. Bile that can’t flow leaks into your bloodstream and backs up into your organs, causing inflammation. If unchecked, it can be harmful to your baby.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • If you have persistent itching.
  • If the itching is accompanied by a rash.

6 – Swelling and Blood Pressure

Swelling is similar to itching in that it is another common symptom during pregnancy, but excessive swelling especially in the face, hands, or feet can be another sign of preeclampsia and one of the important warning signs during pregnancy.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • You experience swelling especially in the face, hands or feet.
  • You experience swelling and pain in one leg, especially in the calf. This can be a red flag for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE).
  • You have a high blood pressure – (140/90 or more).
  • Blurred vision
  • Spots in your eyes

7 – High Fever

A high fever during pregnancy is just as concerning at any other time and can be harmful to your baby. More often than not, it will be accompanied by other symptoms. It’s important to note temperature measurements, blood pressure readings, and any other symptoms.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • You have a high temperature (above 37.5C )or fever (above 38C)

8 – Changes in Vision

Vision changes such as blurred vision can be another warning signs during pregnancy of preeclampsia. This can include blurry vision, double vision, or temporary loss of vision.

You should contact your midwife or doctor if any of the following:

  • Blurred vision.
  • Double vision.
  • Temporary loss of vision.

In conclusion, pregnancy is an exciting time, but it’s important to be aware of the warning signs during pregnancy. If you experience any of the warning signs discussed above, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Remember, your midwife and maternity unit are there to help you have a healthy and safe pregnancy.

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Fact Check Information

The Scan Clinic is committed to providing accurate and objective educational content about health and medical related topics. We know that there is a lot of misinformation out there, and we take our responsibility to be a trustworthy source of information seriously. Every article on our site is thoroughly fact-checked by our team of writers.

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