Abnormal Symptoms in Pregnancy

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If you are a new patient seeking prenatal care, please call 310-794-7274. If you are an established patient and need to reach labor and delivery, call 310-825-9111 for Westwood or 424-259-9250 for Santa Monica.

If you have any of the following symptoms, call your obstetrician or certified nurse midwife. Trust your instincts. If you have a concern about your well-being or the well-being of your baby, please call.

Signs of Early Labor

  • Frequent cramping: If you feel frequent cramping (more than 2 times in 20 minutes or 6 times in 1 hour), empty your bladder, recline on your left or right side and drink water. If you have cramping and tightening that happens at the same time, call your provider.
  • Contractions: Contractions may feel like menstrual cramps or a tightening of the uterus; it may or may not be painful. Braxton Hicks contractions are normal (occasional tightening without severe pain). Contractions may also happen with dull lower-back pain or a feeling of pelvic pressure.
  • Vaginal discharge: Your vaginal discharge may change, becoming bloody, watery or mucus-filled — or increase in volume.

See early labor for more information.

Premature Rupture of the Membranes (Water Bag Breaks)

It is normal to have a milky white vaginal discharge in pregnancy. It is not normal to have clear watery or bloody discharge. If you have a gush of water or a continued trickle of fluid, call your doctor and go to the hospital immediately.

Vaginal Bleeding

  • Before 37 weeks: Call your doctor or nurse midwife if you have bleeding before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • After 37 weeks: You may have light bleeding with mucous, light brown discharge or pink-tinged urine. This is especially true if you are having contractions, recently had intercourse or have had a recent vaginal exam.
  • Bright red bleeding like a menstrual period is never normal. If you have this, call your doctor or nurse midwife and come to the hospital.
  • Spotting after sex or exercise can be normal, usually lasting 1 – 2 days.

Decrease in the Baby’s Movement

Most patients first feel their baby move between 18 and 25 weeks of pregnancy. It will not be regular at first. The baby is moving, but his or her movement is still too small to feel on a regular basis.

Once you start to feel movement, take mental note of your baby’s normal movement pattern. If you notice your baby is not moving as often or as vigorously as usual, do a kick count:

  • It is best to do a kick count after you have eaten or had something cold to drink.
  • Lie down on your left side.
  • Have a notepad and pen to keep track of the movements.
  • Note the time you start. Place all your attention on baby’s movements. Try to avoid distractions, like having the TV on or playing music. Count how many times baby moves.
  • The goal after 28 weeks is to feel 10 movements within 2 hours.
  • Any movement counts — kicking, rolling, jabbing and fluttering.

If you do a kick count after 28 weeks and don’t feel 10 movements in 2 hours, or you don’t feel the baby moving at all, go to our labor and delivery unit.

Excessive Vomiting

If you are vomiting, try to take sips of water or an electrolyte drink. If you are unable to keep any fluids down, call your care team.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a blood pressure of 140/90 or higher on two occasions 4 hours apart. Either number may be high.

Contact your care team if you have the following symptoms during your last 3 months of pregnancy. These symptoms could be warning signs that you need further testing:

  • Changes in vision
  • Severe headaches
  • Severe pain in the upper right side of your abdomen
  • Sudden weight gain and swelling in your face and hands
  • Sudden, severe vomiting

Other Concerning Symptoms

If at any time you have pain with urination, fever, calf or leg pain, sudden shortness of breath or any other concerning symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out to your care team.