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Having a baby can be exciting and scary at the same time. The Internet is chock-full of information about what pains you should or shouldn’t ignore during your pregnancy. While having lots of resources to guide you through your pregnancy is great, it can also be confusing for any mother-to-be. Everyone’s bodies are different and some people are more sensitive to certain pains than others, so how do you really know what pains are red flags and which ones are fine to shrug off? To ease this frustration, here are 10 common red flags of pain you shouldn’t ignore when you’re pregnant.
If you’re experiencing vaginal bleeding during your first trimester, call your doctor because it could be a sign of a possible miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo implants outside the uterus). It’s also good to get this checked out, in order to prevent future complications such as pre-term delivery or placental abruption.
You may even notice you’re spotting here and there. Spotting can occur after intercourse because more blood flows to your cervix during pregnancy. Spotting can also be caused if you’ve recently had a pap smear or an internal exam. Furthermore, spotting could be a sign of infection or you’re nearing labor. Due to the many factors that cause spotting, it’s important that you call your doctor at the first sign of it.
2. Leaking Fluid From the Vagina
If you notice a clear or straw-colored liquid coming from your vagina, there’s a possibility that your membranes have ruptured. This is most serious if it occurs before 37 weeks into your pregnancy. Your doctor will then admit you to the hospital, so they can monitor you for a premature birth.
Sometimes the discharge can be a heavier consistency. This can be a red flag that you may be experiencing Bacterial Vaginosis, an infection caused by a bacterial imbalance in the vagina. The discharge usually has a fishy smell to it. Itching and/or burning can also be a symptom.
3. Severe Headache or Blurred Vision
Occasional headaches or a disruption in your vision is quite normal during pregnancy, however, if you’re experiencing a headache that lasts for two to three hours, followed by swelling of the body and blurred vision, you may be at risk for preeclampsia. Preeclampsia can occur during the second half of your pregnancy and it is caused by a decrease of blood flowing through the placenta. If this isn’t treated, your baby won’t get enough oxygen or nutrients, which will affect his/her growth.
Feeling itchy during your pregnancy isn’t uncommon, due to changes in your hormones. Your skin stretching around your belly and breasts to accommodate your baby are the main areas where you’ll experience the most itching. If you are prone to Eczema, you will notice an increase in it during pregnancy, however, it will lessen after you give birth.
To give your skin some relief, here are a couple activities to stay away from or increase during your pregnancy: avoid taking hot showers or baths, use unscented moisturizer after you shower, avoid sun exposure in the middle of the day, wear loose cotton clothing or take oatmeal baths.
If you’re experiencing severe itching on your palms or the soles of your feet during your second or third trimester, you may have intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), which you will want to consult a doctor on.
5. Significant Decrease in your Babies Movement
Your baby will go through periods of constant movement and quiet periods as well in utero. However, if you’re noticing a complete slowdown in movement, try this test: eat something, then go to a quiet room and count how many times your baby moves. You should count a minimum of 10 movements in a two-hour timespan. If you don’t notice any movement or very minimal movement in those two hours, call your doctor right away.
6. Leg Pain
Pregnant women are at greater risk for blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT), due to hormonal changes and the pressure in your growing uterus cutting off normal blood circulation throughout your body. While it’s normal for pregnant women to have swollen ankles and leg cramps, the telltale signs of DVT are when you experience pain in one leg that is swollen, red and warm to the touch. DVT usually appears in the back of your leg, on your pelvis or on your thigh. Blood clots are treated with an anticoagulant. You can prevent blood clots by eating healthy, exercising regularly or wearing compression stockings during long flights. These stockings squeeze your ankles; legs and thighs, to achieve quicker blood circulation.
7. Sudden Swelling
It’s normal for pregnant women to experience swelling in varying degrees in their calves, hands, ankles and face. If swelling comes on quickly and it’s causing you pain, try to stay off your feet for a couple days and drink lots of water. If you are still feeling pain after a couple days, let your doctor know, so you can be checked out for potential preeclampsia or DVT.
8. Pain or Burning During Urination
Most pregnant women will experience the need to urinate often, however, urinating should never be painful. It is best to notify your doctor at the first sign of pain or burning when you urinate, so they can see if you need medical treatment for one of several possible causes. Your doctor will determine the best course to clear up your symptoms or treat your condition.
9. Pain in the lower back
Around three-quarters of women experience back pain during pregnancy. The most common types of back pain are Lumbar pain and posterior pelvic pain. Lumbar pain is felt around the waistline and lower back. Posterior pelvic pain is felt inside the buttocks or on the outside/ inside of your thighs. The pain can be brought on by most activities including walking, going up the stairs, getting in and out of the tub, lifting things or rolling around in bed.
If you start to feel numbing in your groin or genital area, making it difficult for you to pee or have a bowel movement, call your doctor right away.
The most severe type of back pain is sciatica, which only one percent of pregnant women are prone to. A compression of the sciatic nerve causes sciatica. You will feel sharp and shooting pain down your leg or pain from your butt to your leg.
10. High Fever
If you hav a high fever during your first trimester that doesn’t subside after 24-36 hours, it is best to seek medical attention at that time.
Here at Villa Majella, we provide programs on health, to ensure our residents are always up-to-date on important red flags to watch out for during their pregnancy.