From heartburn to nausea and exhaustion, you often experience several uncomfortable symptoms while pregnant. In most cases, these unwanted symptoms are completely normal and will improve as the pregnancy continues or go away completely once the baby is born. However, other symptoms of sickness exist that you shouldn’t ignore.
If you experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy, contact your physician right away.
- Fever – From the common cold, an ear infection, or strep throat, many illnesses can cause a fever in a pregnant woman. If you’re busy or have other kids to care for, you may ignore the fever and continue your busy day. However, once your fever reaches 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, lasts for longer than 24 hours, or is accompanied by a rash and stomach pains, you should contact your physician.
Something more serious could cause the fever, such as food poisoning, varicella, or toxoplasmosis, a deadly parasitic infection. That’s why you always need to check. Contact your doctor before taking any over the counter medications to treat your fever as well. Some fever-reducing medications, including ibuprofen, is potentially dangerous to the baby, particularly in the third trimester.
- Back Pain that Won’t Go Away – Changes in posture, weight gain, and hormonal changes are some of the many reasons why around 80 percent of pregnant women experience back pain. Lying on your side and taking a doctor-approved over the counter pain reliever is typically enough to ease the discomfort. However, if you experience severe back pain in conjunction with other symptoms, the problem could be more serious.
Persistent back pain, a fever, chills, and frequent urination is often a sign of a kidney or urinary tract infection, which needs immediate treatment with antibiotics. Changes in vaginal discharge, spotting or bleeding, and back pain that feels tight or unusual are often signs of preterm labor.
- Severe Swelling in the Hands or Face – Swelling is another unfortunate part of pregnancy that occurs because of the excess fluids and blood needed to support the growing fetus. Many pregnant women experience swelling primarily in the hands and feet, particularly during the third trimester. In most cases, resting, avoiding caffeine and sodium, and staying out of the heat is enough to bring the swelling under control. If swelling is severe, sudden, occurs in the hands and face, and is accompanied by a severe headache, blurry vision, decreased urination, and nausea, the issue could be a serious condition called preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is a condition that can occur anytime during pregnancy and causes a spike in blood pressure. The only cure for preeclampsia is to deliver the baby. Untreated preeclampsia develops into eclampsia, which is life-threatening to the birth mother and baby.
- Severe Itching – Mild itching is another common issue many pregnant women experience. Increased blood production and skin stretching to accommodate your growing baby together can make your skin feel tight and itchy. Luckily, taking a bath or applying a moisturizing lotion to the affected skin typically relieves the mild itching.
Severe, unrelenting itching that begins near the end of the second trimester, is worse at night, and occurs on the palms and bottom of your feet are signs of a serious condition called obstetric cholestasis. Otherwise known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, obstetric cholestasis is a severe liver disorder that can negatively impact the baby but typically doesn’t affect the birth mother’s health.
Your body creates bile in the liver, stores the bile in the gallbladder, and has the bile travels to the intestines to aid in digestion. However, with pregnant women who have obstetric cholestasis, the bile, which contains acids, doesn’t filter into the digestive tract properly. The buildup of bile is very harmful to the baby. The only way to cure obstetric cholestasis is to deliver the baby.
- Sudden Decrease in Movement at Any Point of the Pregnancy – Most pregnant women feel a baby’s kicking or movement anywhere from 13 to 25 weeks. By 28 weeks, your doctor might recommend counting your baby’s kicks and movements. This is a simple way to ensure the baby is active and developing normally.
Most babies will remain very active throughout the second trimester and the beginning of the third. By the ninth month of pregnancy, the uterus is very crowded, and a baby will be less active. However, you should still feel movement throughout the day. If the baby’s movements decrease dramatically, your doctor might recommend counting kicks for a two-hour period. If less than 10 kicks in two hours occur, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will perform a battery of tests, including an ultrasound, to determine why the baby’s movements have slowed down.
As the birth mother, you want to ensure you and the baby remain as healthy as possible throughout the pregnancy! If you have any questions about the adoption process, contact the professionals at Adoption Choices of Kansas and Missouri.