Most women are healthy during pregnancy and do not have serious health concerns. You may have minor physical symptoms throughout your pregnancy that are considered normal pregnancy changes. It is important for you to be aware of symptoms that may mean you have a more serious problem. Talk with your doctor about any concerns you have during your pregnancy so that your health problems can be checked quickly.
Many minor problems of pregnancy can be managed at home. Home treatment measures are usually all that is needed to relieve mild morning sickness or discomfort from heartburn or constipation. There are also home treatment measures for sleep problems, hip pain, hemorrhoids, or fatigue. If you develop a problem and your doctor has given you specific instructions to follow during your pregnancy, be sure to follow those instructions.
If you have a family history of diabetes, you may develop a type of diabetes that only occurs during pregnancy (gestational diabetes). Gestational diabetes is treated by watching what you eat, exercising, checking blood sugar levels, and possibly taking oral medicines or insulin shots to keep blood sugar levels within a target range. Women who have gestational diabetes are likely to have babies that weigh more than normal. If the mother's blood sugar is not controlled, this could cause serious problems for the baby before and during delivery.
You may also have other common problems, like a cold or the flu, while you are pregnant that are not caused by your pregnancy. You can use home treatment measures for these illnesses as well, but make sure to talk to your doctor if your symptoms become more serious, such as coughing up blood or not being able to drink enough fluids (dehydrated).
While most problems that occur during pregnancy are minor, you may develop more serious symptoms that you need to talk to your doctor about. Your symptoms may be related to:
- Miscarriage. Symptoms may include:
- Premature birth. Symptoms may include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge or fluid leaking from your vagina.
- Belly, pelvic, or back (flank) pain. This pain may come and go regularly.
- Preterm labor, which happens when contractions begin before the 37th week of pregnancy.
- Infection. Symptoms may include:
- Changes in your blood pressure that may mean you have preeclampsia. This problem may cause:
- Depression. If you are tearful, sad, anxious, or have big mood swings, talk to your doctor. If you are depressed during your pregnancy, you may have a hard time bonding with your baby after delivery. Depression can be treated so that you and your baby will be able to bond.
During the days and weeks after delivery (postpartum period), you can expect that your body will change as it returns to its nonpregnant condition. As with pregnancy changes, postpartum changes are different for every woman. Some problems, such as high blood pressure, hemorrhoids, or diabetes, may continue after delivery. You may need to follow up with your doctor about these problems after delivery.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor.