10 Danger Signs of Pregnancy

By Christie Leman

There are many bodily changes a pregnant woman undergoes that can be somewhat unexpected or disturbing, but there are 10 that should never be ignored. If you experience any of these, contact your doctor immediately. Your health and that of your baby might be in danger.

Fetal Movement and Bleeding

A decrease in fetal movement might indicate that your baby is under stress and no longer able to thrive in the womb. Fetal movements begin to follow a basic routine by 28 weeks and should be monitored by twice-daily kick counts. Contact your doctor if fetal movements drop below 10 per hour.

While occasional spotting may not be a cause for concern, you should call your doctor if you experience any bleeding during pregnancy. Vaginal bleeding can indicate an impending miscarriage, placental abruption, placenta previa, or the onset of labor.

Abdominal Pain and Vomiting

Abdominal pain is common during pregnancy as the uterus expands, but severe, persistent abdominal pain could indicate an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or placental abruption.

Severe vomiting that lasts for more than 24 hours and prevents you from keeping down any food or liquid puts you at risk of dehydration. Since this poses a threat to you and your baby, you might need to receive food and liquids intraveneously.

Fever and Leaking Fluid

A fever above 100 degrees that does not subside should be treated quickly or it could result in brain damage in the baby or other fetal malformation.

A persistent leak or sudden gush of fluid from the vagina typically indicates that you are losing amniotic fluid. For women who are not full-term, the loss restricts fetal growth and needs immediate medical attention.

Swelling and Painful Urination

Most women notice a little swelling in their legs and ankles during pregnancy, but severe swelling, especially in the face or fingers, is cause for alarm. Severe swelling, often accompanied by blurred vision and headaches, may indicate pregnancy-induced hypertension, which is usually treated through an IV and bed rest and may require early delivery.

Painful urination is often caused by a urinary tract infection and, if left untreated, may increase the risk of premature labor and of having a baby with mental or developmental difficulties or low birth weight.

Abdominal Trauma and Contractions

Any trauma to the abdomen, regardless of cause, requires immediate medical attention as it can cause any number of complications, including preterm labor.

Regular contractions before 37 weeks usually indicates the onset of preterm labor.