Reasons to Call Your Doctor During Pregnancy

When should you call a doctor?

How do you know whether that sudden ache is normal or requires a 2 a.m. call to your doctor or the emergency room? Here are some of the most urgent and common life-threatening complications during pregnancy:

  • Preterm birth
  • Hypertension/preeclampsia
  • Pulmonary or cardiac problems
  • Infections
  • Bleeding issues

Which symptoms are urgent?

Note that some of these symptoms vary in urgency depending on your particular situation, health history, and also in relation to how far along you are into your pregnancy. Ask your practitioner to review which signs warrant an urgent call at various points during your pregnancy.

Remember that even if you don't see your symptoms on this list, it's better to be cautious and make that call rather then to agonize wondering whether you've pulled a ligament or you've gone into preterm labor.

  • Persistent and severe headache (eg "thunderclap headache")
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Chest pain, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood
  • Decrease or significant increase in fetal movements
  • An increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge  
  • Abdominal pain or pelvic pressure
  • Painful or burning urination, or little or no urination.
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Sudden swelling or weight gain
  • Chills or fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
  • Visual disturbances
  • A persistent or severe leg cramp or calf pain 
  • Fainting, frequent dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, heart palpitations
  • Persistent intense itching of the skin
  • Any health problem that you'd ordinarily call your doctor about 
  • Check out the signs of labor so you'll know what to look for and when to call your doctor.

Read More:
High-Risk Pregnancy Complications Guide
Ectopic Pregnancy: Symptoms, Risks, Causes
Birth Rates at Their Lowest in 32 Years