when not to worry
ItÂs easy to worry about every new sensation in your body. But remember that the vast majority of babies are born perfectly healthy.
cramping Many women feel something akin to menstrual cramps in the early stages of pregnancy. That achy heaviness in the pelvic area is caused by increased blood flow to the uterus and pelvic organs and is a normal part of early pregnancy. When to call the doctor: If you notice consistent cramping on only one side, tell your doctor so she can rule out an ectopic pregnancy or ovarian cyst. Also report cramping if it’s accompanied by bleeding. Serious cramping in the second or third trimester is more worrisome, as it could indicate early labor, so report that right away as well.
contractions Many women experience random contractions, often called Braxton-Hicks contractions, after 24 weeks. These are normal as long as they are irregular and sporadic (as opposed to real labor contractions, which occur at regular intervals and increase in frequency and intensity). “Although no one knows for sure what purpose these contractions serve,” Landers says, “the important difference between Braxton-Hicks contractions and the contractions of real labor is regularity.” When to call the doctor: If contractions seem regular (time them to be sure), call your doctor. She’ll want to make sure you’re not in real labor.
reduced movement Women usually start to feel their babies move sometime between weeks 18 and 24. After that first kick, the movements gradually become stronger and more frequent; it can be scary if they suddenly seem to cease. Less movement can be a simple matter of a woman being so busy that she doesn’t notice her baby moving, Frieder says, or of the baby sleeping or being in a quiet state. When to call the doctor: If you haven’t felt your baby kick by the 20th week, call your doctor. Chances are the baby has been moving but you simply haven’t felt it; your doctor will determine whether she wants to follow up. As far as reduced movement goes, if you haven’t felt your baby move all day, have some juice or crackers, then sit or lie down with your hands on your belly, Landers says. If an hour or two go by and you still haven’t felt any action, call your doctor. Chances are there’s nothing wrong, but she might have you come in for a little monitored reassurance.
discharge Unusual and excessive discharge is a part of pregnancy. Your cervix is undergoing many changes, which create normal mucous discharge, Landers says. When to call the doctor: If discharge is accompanied by burning, itching or a foul smell, see your doctor. You could have an infection.