Most of the physical symptoms women experience during pregnancy are normal, even if they're not exactly comfortable. They are simply the result of being pregnant. Still, it's easy to worry and wonder whether everything is OK, and how you'd know if it were not.
Although true complications are rare, it's always good to know what to look for. Here are some signs that could indicate a problem:
- vaginal bleeding or spotting
- premature rupture of membranes (also know as your "water breaking"); this can show up as a trickle of fluid, a steady leaking, or a gush. A rupture is considered premature anytime before 37 weeks.
- persistent abdominal pain or preterm uterine contractions (for more information on recognizing preterm labor, see Preterm Labor Alert)
- change in or absence of fetal movement (the baby's kicking or turning) for more than 24 hours after the 20th week
- a severe headache that continues for more than two or three hours
- visual disturbances, such as blurring or double vision
- fainting or dizziness (feeling lightheaded can also be a normal symptom of early pregnancy)
- weight gain of more than two pounds a week (not related to overeating!)
- severe pain above the stomach, under the rib cage
- swelling or puffiness (edema) in your face, eyes, or hands. Swelling in the feet or hands is normal during pregnancy but should be monitored.
- vomiting that continues over several days and occurs more than two or three times a day, particularly after your first trimester, by which time any "morning sickness" should have subsided
If you experience any of these symptoms, call your health care provider right away. This way, you won't worry, and if a problem does exist, it can be taken care of immediately.