Pregnancy is a normal physiologic process, associated with profound changes in the woman’s body. A thin line exists between these normal changes and those associated with symptoms of diseases that can complicate the pregnancy labour
or postpartum period. Studies shows that women who are aware of the danger signs are more likely to deliver in a health facility.
Below are some of these danger signs that need to be reported to your doctor immediately.
1. Vaginal bleeding
Bleeding in pregnancy is not a normal finding and need urgent and proper evaluation. Causes of vaginal bleeding early in pregnancy include spontaneous miscarriage (commonest cause), ectopic pregnancy (in which the baby implant outside
the uterus). In late
pregnancy common causes include a condition in which the placenta implant in lower part of the womb (placenta praevia), or when the placenta separates before the delivery of the baby. In any case bleeding during pregnancy how ever slight needs to be evaluated.
2. Swollen hands and feet
As discussed in normal changes in pregnancy. Swelling feet is a common finding in pregnancy. When it involves swelling of the hands and face or generalized body swelling its abnormal. These symptoms may indicate preeclampsia, cardiac
or kidney disease in pregnancy and need to be discussed with your doctor.
3. Severe headache, blurring of vision, dizziness and severe epigastric pain
These symptoms were lumped together because their presence may indicate one of the most dangerous disease in pregnancy which is preeclampsia (elevated blood pressure in second half of pregnancy with protein in urine and frequently
associated with above symptoms if severe). A severe headache not responding to simple analgesic such as paracetamol is common symptom of this condition.
A pregnant woman experiencing any of the above symptoms need an urgent medical attention.
Any temperature above 37.2oC during pregnancy is not normal. Fever can cause miscarriage, preterm labour, fetal death and can cause structural and functional defects it occurs early in pregnancy.
4. Pain on passing urine
Urinary tract infections are common findings in pregnancy. Physiologic and anatomic changes predispose the pregnant woman at risk of acquiring infection in the urinary tract. It frequently presents with pain on passing urine, fever,
and increase in number of times the woman passes urine. If untreated it can cause excessive vomiting and
its sequelae, may result in miscarriage, premature delivery and fetal loss.
5. Foul smelling vaginal discharge
Normal pregnancy is associated with increased secretion of clear, colourless non-foul-smelling vaginal discharge called leucorrhoea. When there is infection, the colour of the discharge may be yellowish, greenish or brownish associated
ith foul smell, itching or pains.
These symptoms are associated with increased risk of early delivery, rupture of membranes and infection of the uterus and membranes.
Other danger signs in pregnancy include: persistent vomiting, absent or reduced fetal movement, abdominal pain. Any of the above complaints shouid immediately be evaluated by your doctor.