Pregnancy is often anticipated with much excitement as women who have hoped for a baby to hold are now walking down that path. However, the so-called pregnancy glow may soon be replaced with a variety of not-so-fun symptoms of pregnancy. Morning sickness, fatigue and forgetfulness descend, and women begin the long nine-month wait before meeting their new little boy or girl. Pregnancy brings with it many irritating but perfectly normal symptoms; however, these four symptoms can be dangerous and should be brought to the attention of one’s physician immediately.
Itchiness can be easy to ignore especially during the winter when skin is more likely to be dry. Besides this, during pregnancy, the skin on the abdomen, chest, buttocks and thighs is typically stretched, causing itching. However, itching that is not controlled by body lotion should be checked out with one’s doctor to determine if it is something more concerning than typical dry skin.
A couple different problems may cause itchy skin and rashes during pregnancy. The first is called PUPPP, or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. This condition is not dangerous and can often be controlled with over-the-counter medications. The other cause of itchiness, known as cholestasis of pregnancy, is more serious because it can cause stillbirth or preterm labor according to The Bump. It is typified by itchiness particularly on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
Pregnant women should be on the lookout for any vaginal spotting or bleeding. Many times, some spotting is nothing serious and is often seen during implantation at the beginning of pregnancy or following sexual intercourse throughout the course of the pregnancy. However, women should let their doctors know if they experience any type of bleeding and especially if the bleeding is severe because this may indicate miscarriage or the tearing away of the placenta.
Later in pregnancy, this may indicate the onset of labor. Reputable obstetric doctors working either through a hospital system or an independent clinic, such as a Utah Valley OBGYN, can perform tests, including ultrasounds, to determine the exact cause.
Severe Leg Cramps
Leg cramps often occur during the second and third trimesters. Although doctors do not know what causes these, they may occur from poor circulation due to the weight of the uterus. Stretching the calf muscles by flexing the foot and pointing the toes up can help relieve these.
However, some leg cramps can be serious and may be indicative of a blood clot, which can occur more frequently during pregnancy than at other times due to hormone changes. Signs of serious leg cramps include cramps that do not go away or a red, swollen leg that looks significantly different from the other leg.
Some swelling is expected with pregnancy and typically occurs during the third trimester. Women should be careful to limit salt in their diets. However, swelling of the face or sudden swelling of the hands, feet or ankles that causes weight gain may indicate preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is concerning because it causes high blood pressure that can cause kidney problems, vision changes, terrible headaches and the need to deliver early.
While women should try to keep worry to a minimum during pregnancy to decrease stress hormones to the baby, they should keep an eye out for any of these unusual symptoms. Of course, women who have questions about any of their symptoms should contact their physicians who can either set women’s minds at ease or discuss possible treatments. Those who cannot reach their doctors can always head to the nearest emergency room or birth center for quick treatment.