Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Select An Article
Font Size

7 Pregnancy Warning Signs

Some symptoms during pregnancy are par for the course, but others are cause for alarm. How do you know the difference?
By
WebMD Feature

You may wonder what symptoms during pregnancy warrant immediate medical attention and what symptoms can wait until your next prenatal visit.

Always ask your doctor at your visits about your concerns. But keep in mind some symptoms do need swift attention.

Pregnancy Week by Week

Pregnant Belly
If you are newly pregnant, or trying to conceive, you have many questions about what to expect. How will your body change? What's happening inside you? Here's what to expect week by week.

1. Bleeding

Bleeding means different things throughout your pregnancy. “If you are bleeding heavily and have severe abdominal pain and menstrual-like cramps or feel like you are going to faint during first trimester, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy,” Peter Bernstein, MD, ob-gyn professor at New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center, says. Ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, can be life-threatening.

Heavy bleeding with cramping could also be a sign of miscarriagein first or early second trimester. By contrast, bleeding with abdominal pain in the third trimester may indicate placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterine lining.

“Bleeding is always serious,” women’s health expert Donnica Moore, MD, says. Any bleeding during pregnancy needs immediate attention. Call your doctor or go to the emergency room.

2. Severe Nausea and Vomiting

It's very common to have some nausea when you're pregnant. If it gets to be severe, that may be more serious.

“If you can’t eat or drink anything, you run the risk of becoming dehydrated,” Bernstein says. Being malnourished and dehydrated can harm your baby.  

If you experience severe nausea, tell your health care provider. Your doctor may prescribe medication or advise changing your diet.

3. Baby’s Activity Level Significantly Declines

What does it mean if your previously active baby seems to have less energy? It may be normal. But how can you tell?

Some troubleshooting can help determine if there is a problem. Bernstein suggests that you first drink something cold or eat something. Then lie on your side to see if this gets the baby moving.

Counting kicks can also help, Nicole Ruddock, MD, assistant professor of maternal and fetal medicine at University of Texas Medical School at Houston, says. “There is no optimal or critical number of movements,” she says, “but generally you should establish a baseline and have a subjective perception of whether your baby is moving more or less. As a general rule, you should have 10 or more kicks in two hours. Anything less should prompt a phone call to your doctor.”

Bernstein says to call your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor has monitoring equipment that can be used to determine if the baby is moving and growing appropriately.

Next Article:

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video