advice

when to see the doctor:
pregnant and poorly


Our bodies go through lots of changes when we’re pregnant. Most are nothing to worry about (even if they can be a bit annoying), but some should be checked out by your midwife or doctor, just to make sure everything's fine. These are the main ones to keep an eye out for:


pregnant mum rubbing her baby bump

1.

heavy bleeding while pregnant

A few spots of blood in your knickers aren't usually anything to worry about, particularly in the first few weeks. But if bleeding lasts for more than a day or two, you’re in pain, or there’s a lot of blood, then give your midwife or doctor a call.



2.

intense headaches

Headaches are more common when you’re pregnant. But a really bad one can be a sign of high blood pressure, which can lead to other problems like pre-eclampsia. So if your head is pounding, it’s best to seek medical advice to be on the safe side.



3.

severe abdominal pain

Aches and pains are pretty common in pregnancy too. Your uterus is stretching and your baby can put pressure on your nerves and ligaments. But severe abdominal pain can be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy (anytime from week 6 to 16) so contact your GP or midwife immediately.



4.

constant vomiting

Lots of mums-to-be feel sick or are actually sick when pregnant. Thankfully, it usually eases up after the first three months or so. But if you’re struggling to keep anything down (especially water) you can get dehydrated and you may need to be checked out. Contact your midwife.



5.

high temperature

If you have a high temperature when you’re pregnant, or feel feverish, it’s best to give your doctor a call. It might be nothing to worry about, but it could be a sign of an infection, which needs to be treated as soon as possible.



6.

constant itching

In most cases, itching isn't a problem and is often just caused by your skin stretching as your baby grows. But if you have severe itching, tell your doctor. It’s often most intense on your palms and the soles of your feet, and it could be a sign of a liver problem.




7.

swelling of hands, feet and face

Swelling can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, so your doctor might want to have a look. Some mild swelling is common in pregnancy though, and usually isn't anything to be concerned about. It can often be relieved by having a lie down or putting your feet up for a bit.




8.

dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and looking pale

These can all be signs that you’re anaemic. But don’t worry; lots of us have low iron levels when we’re pregnant, particularly if we’re being sick. Your doctor can do a quick blood test to check your iron levels and prescribe a supplement to help.




9.

urinary tract infections, yeast infections and haemorrhoids

These can all be uncomfortable, but are usually pretty easy to treat. In rare cases, urinary tract infections can lead to complications if left untreated and thrush can be passed to your partner and baby so it’s always best to discuss it with your doctor or midwife.




10.

still unsure when to seek medical advice during pregnancy?

We know it can be a bit scary when your body behaves strangely during pregnancy. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about but if you’re at all concerned about yourself or for example your baby’s movements then give your doctor or midwife a call and they’ll arrange for you to be checked out. Never feel you are making a fuss or taking up too much of the midwife or doctor’s time. They are there to help you and make sure you and your baby stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.