There are some warning signs in the first trimester of pregnancy that may require immediate medical attention.
Vaginal bleeding with or without pain
Some spotting may be normal during pregnancy, but it can also be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. The color of the spots may be the clue. Bright red spots may be significant, says Natali Aziz, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto. This is because dark colored spots may indicate that the blood may be old. Bleeding followed by severe cramps may warn about a miscarriage. A sharp pain in the lower abdomen along with spotting and cramps may be an indication of ectopic pregnancy, a condition characterized by the implantation of the fertilized egg outside the uterus.
This symptom requires immediate medical attention, and the doctor should be informed about the situation. Doctors may recommend an ultrasound and some blood tests depending on the symptoms. Even though most of the spotting may not be very serious, it should not be ignored; especially if it is associated with cramps and abdominal pain.
Excessive nausea and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting is seen in most of the women during the first trimester. If it becomes excessive these symptoms should be considered seriously and brought to the attention of the doctor. Excessive vomiting may result in dehydration, dizziness, weight loss and even imbalance of electrolytes. If it is excessive, hospitalization may be required to control dehydration.
When pregnant women have a temperature higher than 101oF, it is serious and should be treated. Pregnant women are susceptible to serious infections and it may also be a warning sign of birth defects. One of the common birth defect with high fever symptoms is the neural tube defect. Neural tube is formed during the first trimester. If fever is accompanied with rashes and joint pain it may be signs of infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV), toxoplasma and parvovirus. CMV is the most common cause of congenital deafness.
High fever with respiratory symptoms, body aches, joint pain, and rashes should be immediately reported to the doctor. Doctor may recommend medications to reduce the fever. Getting vaccinated for viral infections may also be helpful to prevent complications.
Vaginal discharge and itching
Aziz says that these symptoms may be signs of sexually transmitted disease or any other treatable infections. Treatment is very important because it may lead to the infection of the fetus or a pre-term delivery.
One should immediately report to the doctor if they see any of these symptoms. Treating the underlying medical condition can help in preventing many serious conditions.
Pain or burning while urinating
Bladder or urinary tract infections are characterized by these symptoms and if left untreated it may lead to infection, pre-term delivery and serious illness.
It should be immediately reported so that the infection can be treated to continue with a healthy pregnancy.
Leg or calf pain or swelling on one side
Aziz says that pregnant women are more susceptible to blood clots in the lower extremities and brain. Thus symptoms like leg pain or a severe head ache may be due to blood clots in these areas. Pain or swelling in the leg may be due to a blood clot which could travel to the lungs and cause fatal conditions. If a blood clot forms in the brain it may result in severe head ache. Head ache may also be due to high blood pressure or a malformation in the brain.
If there is a history of blood clots it should be discussed so that preventive measures can be taken to avoid any serious conditions.
Exacerbations of underlying diseases
If there are any underlying medical conditions like thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma or lupus, any changes in the conditions should immediately be brought to the attention of the doctor. Exacerbations of the disease can have serious consequences to the health of the mother and the fetus. “For example, a change in the thyroid hormone levels can increase the risk of miscarriage," says Gayle Olson, MD, a maternal fetal specialist at the University of Texas Medical Brach in Galveston. She adds that if the blood sugar levels are not controlled it can lead to fetal abnormalities and miscarriage.