Alarming Signs in a Pregnancy
When a woman becomes pregnant, she
is very aware that a new life is growing within her for the next nine months.
Millions of women give birth to healthy babies every day. On the other
hand, one often hears of women who have miscarriages, or who give birth
to stillborn children or children with birth defects. This acts as a constant
reminder of just how fragile and delicate the process from conception to
childbirth is. It is a long road with pitfalls at every turn. While most
women negotiate the path to motherhood successfully, always at the back
of their minds runs the thought that things can go wrong if they are not
A pregnant woman's body has several
ways of indicating that the pregnancy is in trouble. Vaginal bleeding or
spotting in the first three months of pregnancy should set off the alarm
bells in the mind of an expectant mother. Bleeding accompanied by mild
cramps when the uterus is enlarged and the cervix is closed may be a warning
sign of a possible abortion. Sometimes the bleeding tends to be heavy and
the cramps are moderate to severe. In addition, if tissue is passed, the
uterus enlarged and the cervix is open, the condition is symptomatic of
a miscarriage. Vaginal bleeding accompanied by moderate to severe pain
often confined to one side and fainting could indicate an ectopic pregnancy
(pregnancy in the tube). When a woman has dysfunctional and variable vaginal
bleeding and the uterus is a normal size and the cervix is closed, she
probably has a hormone imbalance.
Pre-eclampsia or toxemia
Severe, persistent headaches in pregnant
women accompanied by inordinate weight gain, fluid retention, blurred vision
and spots before the eyes are a symptom of pre-eclampsia or toxemia (high
blood pressure in pregnancy). Sudden swelling of the hands, feet and ankles
is also a sign of toxemia. A woman with these symptoms may need to be hospitalized
to bring down her blood pressure or for fetal testing. Toxemia could result
in complications like inadequate fetal growth, premature labour or fetal
distress during labour.
Most people associate pregnancy with
morning sickness. Pregnant women are mostly affected by morning sickness
in the first three months. However, if a pregnant woman experiences prolonged
vomiting over one or two days, preventing adequate intake of fluids, it
may lead to dehydration requiring hospitalization.
When a pregnant woman develops fever
and chills not accompanied by the symptoms of a cold, she should be careful.
A high fever can be dangerous as it can cause premature labour. A sudden
gush of fluid from the vagina may be an indication of the premature rupture
of the membranes in the last trimester of pregnancy. When this occurs,
an infection known as amnionitis develops the symptoms of, which are fever,
a discharge that gives off a bad smell and abdominal pain. This is potentially
dangerous for the fetus.
Urinary tract infection
Sometimes pregnant women need to
urinate frequently. They may also feel some discomfort during urination
either as a burning sensation or a dull pain in the lower abdomen towards
the end of urination. These are the symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
Sudden intense or continual abdominal
pains early in the pregnancy could signify a miscarriage. These symptoms
late in pregnancy could be a precursor for premature labour.
Lack of fetal movement
If a pregnant woman feels a marked decrease in fetal movement, she should consult the doctor immediately as this could indicate fetal distress.