Pregnancy Symptoms Never to Ignore

Posted on: June 8, 2021 | Birth Work, Body, Health, Information, Pregnancy, Prenatal

One never truly knows how their body will respond to pregnancy. There are books that share “what to expect”. There’s social media glorifying this or that. There are movies, documentaries, and tv shows that showcase the best, the worst, and the over exaggeration of pregnancy. What gets lost is the information featuring the pregnancy symptoms never to ignore. What’s common for one pregnancy, may not be the case for another’s pregnancy. Overall, these signs and symptoms are red flags in pregnancy for any pregnancy.


Vaginal bleeding in the first trimester can be a sign to take notice of. In the very early weeks of pregnancy, implantation bleeding is a common occurrence that can occur as the egg implants into the uterine wall. As pregnancy progresses, vaginal bleeding can be an indication of a miscarriage. Statistically, miscarriages occur in 1-4 pregnancies.  Placenta previa is another vaginally bleeding red flag. Placenta previa is when the placenta attaches to the uterine wall in which it covers part or all of the cervix. This occurrence can inhibit a safe vaginal delivery. Placenta previa in most cases, can correct itself before delivery, as the placenta may shift naturally. Additionally, vaginally bleeding in pregnancy, while can be a common uneventful occurrence, should be brought to your care provider for assessment.


Mild contractions in gestation can often be described as “braxton-hicks”. These are uncomfortable tightening of the abdomen, typically around the middle of the belly. These contractions are preparing the body for the trials of labor. When consistent contractions, cramping and aching are occurring, especially before 37 weeks gestation, immediate attention should be given. Preterm labor is defined as labor that occurs before 37 weeks. While a fetus can survive outside of the womb before 37 weeks gestation, it’s vital to watch for indications that the baby may be making their appearance sooner with these symptoms present. Reach out to your provider for their guidance and suggestions or reassurance.  


Maybe it’s urine, maybe it’s vaginal discharge, and maybe it’s not. Leaking fluids during pregnancy, specifically suspected amniotic fluid should not to be ignored. Amniotic fluid is fluid surrounding the fetus within the amniotic sac. If you suspect that you have an amniotic fluid leak, take notice of the COAT: Color of the fluid, Odor of the fluid, Amount of fluid, and Time of the found leaking. This information will be helpful during that call to your provider. If it is in fact your amniotic fluid, your provider (and doula) should be in the know. Before 38 weeks, leaking fluids is not to be ignored. This can be an indication of preterm rupture of membranes.  After 38 weeks, leaking can be a significant sign of the beginning stages of labors. 


Preeclampsia is a condition that affects pregnancies after 20 weeks gestation and can last 6 weeks into the postpartum period. Preeclampsia can cause preterm labor, and in some cases can be fatal. During routine prenatal appointments, urinalysis is conducted to check for protein in the urine. One preeclampsia indicator. Swelling, dizziness, blurred vision are all common indicators that should be closely monitored. While gradual weight gain is expected in pregnancy, rapidly gaining weight may be a sign of gestational diabetes. 


The stretching and tightening of a growing abdomen can bring about an annoying itchiness. While lotions, hydration and exercise may keep the skin from developing stretch marks, genetics play an ultimate role in whether they will grace their appearance on the body. Persistent Itching and redness that develop during the pregnancy can be a case of PUPPPS (Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy). PUPPPS rash is an itchy rash that is most common in first-time pregnancies and pregnancies carrying multiples. One of the only true “cures” for this irritable uncomfortable harmless (to the baby) rash is delivery. There are management tools that can help with the discomfort and itchiness: Moisturizers, topical steroids, antihistamines, and soak baths such as oatmeal or baking soda.

Pregnancy can bring a constant state of worry, anxiety and concerns. While the aches, pains, ailments and strains that come with growing another human being are completely normal, there are situations where pregnancy symptoms are not to be ignored. Keeping in contact with your care provider and your doula will help keep an expert eye on pregnancy symptoms never to ignore.