9 pregnancy symptoms you should never ignore

If you’re checking off any of these ominous signs, don’t wait, visit your gynae right away!

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Pregnancy is an amazing time when you grow together as a couple and build a beautiful bond with your soon-to-arrive baby.

But there are also things about pregnancy that just aren’t as pleasant. You may get aches and pains, sleepless nights, and urgh, morning sickness.

While these issues are usually a “normal” or typical part of pregnancy, take note of some symptoms that may point to something more serious…and definitely worth a visit to your gynae to ease your mind.

1. Spotting or bleeding
That tinge of blood may or may not be a big deal. Sex during pregnancy, for example, can irritate your cervix and cause slight spotting. It may also be implantation spotting ― slight bleeding that happens when the embryo embeds itself onto the uterine wall. So, light spotting or bleeding just before your period is due is usually nothing to worry about. 

Noting that it is common to bleed during pregnancy Dr Christopher Chong, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital, says that about 15 per cent of such cases usually settle with no other issues.

“But the most worrisome problem is that of a threatened miscarriage or a miscarriage,” he adds. Other serious problems may be a placenta abruption*, or placenta previa. So, if you are unsure, see your doctor immediately.

Recurrent headaches should be investigated, as it could be caused by a brain tumour, or high blood pressure.

2. Excessive discharge
If you find that you have excessive or abnormal discharge, you may be having an infection, such as a yeast infection. “Infections can lead to miscarriage in early pregnancy and premature labour, or the premature rupture of membranes in the last trimester,” Dr Chong says. “If the infection worsens, it could cause abdominal pain and bleeding.”

If you constantly feel wet down there, or if you feel a sudden gush, it could mean that your amniotic fluid is leaking. Whatever trimester you are in, it’s important that you see your gynae immediately.

3. Headaches
You may have a dull ache at the sides of your head, or at the back of your neck. These are common during pregnancy and could be caused by hormonal changes during pregnancy, low blood sugar, or a sudden surge of blood from nausea and vomiting. Other reasons include withdrawal symptoms if you’ve quit caffeine suddenly, or a lack of sleep.

“But recurrent headaches should be investigated, as it could be caused by a brain tumour, or high blood pressure,” notes Dr Chong. You may be having preeclampsia, which is also accompanied by an unusual amount of protein in the urine, as well as blurred vision.

 4. Contractions
If you’re nowhere close to your due date and are experiencing strong, painful contractions, see your doctor right away. These premature contractions are regular and are usually accompanied by menstrual-like cramps, a dull backache and pelvic pressure. Uterine contractions before the 37th week of pregnancy can cause the cervix to dilate earlier than normal, which results in a premature baby. “Medication, if given early, may be able to stop the labour,” says Dr Chong.

Don’t confuse these premature contractions are with Braxton-Hicks ones ― which are “practice contractions” that prepare you for the real event. These are usually not regular or painful, nor do they dilate the cervix.

* Placenta abruption is a serious condition in which the placenta partially or completely separates from your uterus before your baby’s born. The condition can deprive your baby of oxygen and nutrients, and cause severe bleeding that can be dangerous to you both.