In Summary
  • Sometimes the discomfort and pain that come with pregnancy can overshadow the mother’s joy of bringing a life into the world.
  • While most of them are obvious and can even be tolerated, some can be harbingers of bad health for either mother, baby or both writes Beatrice Nakibuuka.

A number of changes occur in the body of a pregnant woman all of which give rise to various signs and symptoms. However, there are symptoms not to ignore or even when they appear at any juncture of the pregnancy. According to Dr Drusilla Sanyu, a gynaecologist at Fertility Centre these symptoms may indicate a severe problem which must be addressed immediately.

Excessive vomiting
Dr Sanyu says, “Pregnancy is often characterised by vomiting and a feeling of nausea. While these are strongest in the first trimester, there are instances where they continue throughout the pregnancy as well. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration, which is harmful to the mother.”

Vaginal bleeding
After conception, any presence of blood should worry you. Tiny spots of blood could be a result of an irritated cervix. Therefore, any bleeding should not be ignored, especially if it is accompanied with cramping or pain. Abruption of the placenta or a miscarriage could be the reason for the bleeding. You need an obstetrician to examine it appropriately.

Fever
“A woman’s immunity is weakest during pregnancy because the baby also depends on her for its survival. This often opens up a risk for infections such as cold, cough or flu which result into a fever. If, however, the fever raises your body temperature and stays for a several days, it is important that you see a doctor because it can be harmful to the baby or may indicate a serious illness,” she says.

Sudden, massive weight gain
Weight gain is natural in pregnancy and should not be a matter of concern. However, if the increase in weight seems to cross beyond two kilogrammes per week, it may not be a healthy one. Extreme weight gain in a short time points towards the possibility of preeclampsia.
Any pregnant woman should never ignore swelling of the face, hands and ankles as they may be a sign of hypertension or even preeclampsia. You can have your doctor examine this.

Unclear vision
Some pregnant women feel dizzy when they stand after sitting for quite some time, especially in the later stages of the pregnancy. This is because the blood supply and energy is shifted towards the womb to keep it in a proper condition. It may also result in instances where your vision may not be clear, and you see things hazily.
“If such a condition is persistent and is accompanied by weight gain, headache or swelling, it could be a strong sign of pregnancy-induced diabetes or eclampsia, which need medical attention,” Dr Sanyu remarks.
Other symptoms include: reduced movement of the baby, a backache that does not seem to go away, extreme exhaustion, intense abdominal labour like pain especially in the last trimester of the pregnancy and water breaking before the due date.