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First Trimester Problems: When to Call Your Doctor

Watch for 7 warning signs of trouble with your early pregnancy.

3. High Fever

fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius during pregnancy may be serious.

What it may mean: It could be a sign of infection, which could affect the baby.

Fevers during pregnancy that are accompanied with rash and joint pain may be a sign of infection such as cytomegalovirus (CMV), toxoplasma, and parvovirus. "CMV is the most common cause of congenital deafness, and it is not as uncommon as we think," Aziz says. 

What to do:  "Report any fever plus upper respiratory symptoms, body ache, and flu-like symptoms or rashes and joint pain to your doctor," Aziz says. And get your yearly flu vaccine.

4. Vaginal Discharge and Itching

Some vaginal discharge is normal. But in some cases, "These may be signs of treatable infections or sexually transmitted diseases that can have important consequences in pregnancy," Aziz says.

What this may mean: If it's an infection, it could harm the baby.

What to do: Don't be shy. Let your ob-gyn know what is going on down there because if there's a problem, treating it could make a difference to your baby.

5. Pain or Burning During Urination

What this may mean: "These can be signs of bladder or urinary tract infections, and if left untreated, they can lead to more serious illness, infection, pre-term labor, and pre-term birth," Aziz says.

What to do: If it's an infection, treating it can relieve your pain, and help assure a healthy pregnancy.

6. Leg or Calf Pain, or Swelling on One Side/ Severe Headache

This won't happen in most pregnancies. But pregnancy does mean a greater chance of developing a blood clot.  

A blood clot in the calf may lead to pain or swelling and can result in a blood clot that travels to the lung, which could be fatal.

A blood clot in the brain may be heralded by a severe headache. There are other possible causes of bad headaches during pregnancy.

What to do: If you have a history of blood clots, or if you get a severe headache, consult your doctor.

7. Flare-Ups of Chronic Diseases

Women who have certain pre-existing medical conditions -- such as thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and/or lupus -- should note any changes in their condition during pregnancy.

What it may mean: If your underlying disease is flaring up or not well-controlled, it can have serious consequences for your health -- and your baby's.  

For example, "if your thyroid hormone is too high or low, you can be at an increased risk of miscarriage," says Gayle Olson, MD. She is a maternal-fetal specialist at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Or, "if your blood sugar levels are not tightly controlled, you may be at increased risk of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities," she says.

The bottom line: "Any flare in an underlying condition is a red flag and should be followed up," Olson says.

Still, most women will have healthy pregnancies, Berry says, so try to enjoy your pregnancy.

"Stress is no good, and the more positive the attitude, the better things are for mom and baby," he says. So make sure you have good prenatal care and a healthy diet, and get proper rest and take your prenatal vitamins.

Reviewed on September 09, 2013

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