Unusual Pregnancy Symptoms – What’s Safe and What’s Not?
Lately, many of our readers have been asking about unusual pregnancy symptoms. How do you know which are “no biggie” and which are a potential risk? We all know about morning sickness, fatigue, and tingling nipples. But what are some of the less common pregnancy symptoms? And when should you contact your doctor or midwife?
Normal (Low Risk) Pregnancy Symptoms:
Unfortunately, many of the normal and safe symptoms of pregnancy can be uncomfortable, annoying, and (sometimes) a little gross! But you can embrace most of them as part of your journey to becoming a mother. All of these symptoms are perfectly normal:
A Weakened Bladder:
It’s likely that you’ll find you need to go to the bathroom much more when you’re pregnant. It’s nothing to worry about – just that the amount of blood in your body has increased, so your kidneys are working harder, causing increased urination.
Your uterus has a lot of work to do, preparing a refuge for your baby. Many women experience light uterine cramping in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Known as morning sickness, around 75% of women experience nausea during pregnancy. Sometimes it’s just a feeling of seasickness and sometimes it’s actual vomiting, but it’s always completely normal. There are a number of different causes of morning sickness and pregnancy hormones play a large part. As long as you’re managing to keep some food down and don’t lose a dramatic amount of weight, it’s normal.
You might find that you feel incredibly tired – particularly in the first trimester. This is caused by increased levels of the progesterone hormone and is perfectly normal.
Lower Back Pain:
Your body is changing and it can take some time to adjust. The increasing weight of your uterus and your developing baby put pressure on your spine and can cause pain and discomfort. It is completely normal but, if the pain is unbearable or getting in the way of daily life, you should consult your doctor.
Increased Vaginal Discharge (milky white color):
Your body is very clever! As your cervix softens to prepare for birth, the production of discharge is increased to protect from bacteria. The color should be a milky white and may have a yeasty smell. Keep an eye on the discharge and note any changes.
It’s normal for the metabolism to become a little sluggish as your body works hard growing that baby. Constipation is a natural, if unpleasant, side effect of this process. Adding more fiber to your diet and drinking plenty of fluids should help.
A Metalic Taste in Your Mouth:
Those hormones really are playing havoc with your body! You may notice changes to all of your senses – anything from food aversions to blurred vision. Some women experience a strange metallic taste in their mouth due to increasing levels of progesterone and estrogen in your body. This symptom is one of the more unusual pregnancy symptoms and is known as dysgeusia.
Pregnancy Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore (High Risk):
It’s easy to get anxious about your pregnancy symptoms. And most times you get worried and contact your doctor or midwife everything’s OK. But it is important to look after your health and keep track of your pregnancy symptoms. After all, you want to get through this and come out with a happy, healthy baby! If you experience any of the following unusual pregnancy symptoms, you should contact your doctor or midwife right away:
Puffiness of the Hands, Feet, and Face:
Some bloating is common in pregnancy. But if you notice any puffiness in your hands, feet, or face – especially in the third trimester – you should seek medical help right away. This can be a sign of pregnancy preeclampsia or toxemia – a type of blood poisoning.
Many women experience light bleeding or spotting in the first trimester and it’s nothing to worry about. But ANY BLEEDING AT ALL should be reported to your pregnancy professionals. Hopefully, they’ll be able to put your mind at ease. But it can be a sign of placental Previa, placenta abruption, and miscarriage.
Green or Yellow Vaginal Discharge:
Increased discharge is normal during pregnancy. But you should monitor your discharge closely and notify your carers of any changes in the appearance or smell. Abnormal vaginal discharge can be a symptom of the yeast infection, candidiasis.
Skin itchiness could simply be a symptom of your body stretching to accommodate your growing womb. But it could also pose a serious risk to you and your baby. Itching can be a symptom of a liver disorder called Cholestasis of Pregnancy, which can cause stillbirth or preterm labor if it goes untreated.
Your immune system is not at its best so you’re more susceptible to cold and flu during pregnancy. But a fever that lasts more than twenty-four hours could put you, and baby, at serious risk. Check in with your health professionals.
Painful Headaches or Dizziness:
Both of these can be telltale signs of preeclampsia and even gestational diabetes. See your doctor right away if your vision blurs, you regularly feel dizzy, or you suffer from painful headaches or migraines.
Severe Back Pain:
While back pain is a normal sign of a healthily growing baby, intense or persistent pain could mean you have a cyst, bladder/kidney infection, or even preterm labor. Get it looked at.
Severe or Persistent Abdominal Pain:
Once again, some abdominal cramping is perfectly ordinary, but intense pain could be a sign of pregnancy complication. Both cysts and ectopic pregnancies can be the cause of abdominal and pelvic pain and need immediate medical attention.
Rapid Weight Loss or Gain:
You should be steadily gaining weight throughout your pregnancy, after all there is another human inside you! But, if you gain more than four pounds in a single week, you should see your medical professional. It can be an indication of preeclampsia. On the flip side, intense morning sickness can cause you to start losing weight. This could mean that your baby’s not getting the nutrients he or she needs to develop. Seek advice from your prenatal carer.
Decreased Fetal Movement:
Sometime between 16 and 22 weeks you should start to feel your baby kick. You’ll get to know his or her rhythms and routines pretty quickly. If you notice that your baby is moving and kicking less than they were, you should speak to your obstetrician or midwife. An ultrasound or heartbeat monitoring should be able to quickly identify whether there’s a problem or whether your baby’s just feeling lazy.
The Importance of Prenatal Care:
As you can see, many of the low-risk symptoms are fairly similar to the high-risk symptoms. That’s why having ongoing professional care throughout your pregnancy is so important. It can be a good idea to keep a “symptoms diary” between appointments as it can be easy to forget something that could be an important sign. Also, your professional understands that pregnant women are often anxious and will not mind you calling to ask about unusual pregnancy symptoms you’re not sure of – better safe than sorry!
More to Explore:
Many couples are choosing to wait until they’re older and more secure before having children. There are both benefits and risks to getting pregnant at 40. If you’re an older mother-to-be, you need to take extra care with your symptoms. Read more here.
In this post, we explained why quality prenatal care is so important. But there are many different types of maternity care and you can choose a style which suits you. Read about your options for professional care here.
Attending childbirth preparation classes gives you the opportunity to talk to people going through the same things as you. It can help to relieve the anxiety of unusual pregnancy symptoms. And you get expert advice on what to expect throughout your pregnancy. Read about some of the options for prenatal classes here.