For Dads, For Mums

13 Pregnancy Red Flags which GYN’s/OB’s say You Shouldn’t *IGNORE*

Pregnancy Red Flags

Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes in your body: some good and some bad. Women are worried about these continuous transitions, getting scared about everything and wondering if it’s normal or not. In this blog, we are going to talk about 13 pregnancy red flags which should not be ignored at any cost so that you can sit back and relax if any symptoms other than this bug you. Once you are aware of these problems you might be able to enjoy your pregnancy more.


Blurry Vision / Faintness

Vision changes and Fatigue are completely normal during pregnancy. Progesterone, which is responsible for swelling of hands and feet is also responsible for softening of corneas and fluid retention within the eyes. Blurred Vision is also accompanied by dry eyes, irritation, itching and temporary vision changes.

Worry When:

You have excessive sensitivity towards light, double vision and headaches which last for more than an hour or two. This might indicate Preeclampsia.


Water Breaking

Even though it’s not necessary for the labor to start as soon as your water breaks, it’s really important that you check with your doctor once. When your water breaks, the amniotic membranes which hold the baby in the uterus ruptures and comes out either as a gush of liquid or as a slow trickle of fluid with a popping sensation.

It’s very important that the labor is induced within 24 hours of water breaking otherwise it could increase chances of infection in the baby and your body.

The water that comes out should be clear white with a tinge of yellow and pink. If there are black lumps present it basically means that the baby has passed his first poop inside the uterus. Some babies also pass it after they are born which is the reason why a newborn’s first poop is black.

However, if there are many black lumps then it might be a sign that your baby is in distress.


Sudden Swelling

Swelling of arms and feet is completely normal during pregnancy and increases a lot by the end of the third trimester. Your body gains 50% extra blood while pregnant and your legs might not be able to handle this high amount of circulation, which causes swollen feet.

Worry When:  

    • You have sudden/ extreme swelling which comes out of nowhere – the most definitive sign of preeclampsia.
    • You should also worry if there is increased puffiness around your eyes and bloodshot swelling on your face, which isn’t lined with your weight gain.


Vaginal bleeding

Even though spotting after sex might be normal, all OB/GYN recommend pregnant women to visit the hospital at least once even though if it’s just normal spotting. Vaginal Bleeding if accompanied by other symptoms such as cramping, dizziness etc. is a medical emergency. You should visit a hospital immediately in this case. 

Bleeding can be a sign of Placenta Previa, Placental Abruption or Miscarriage.


Extreme Nausea

Nausea is normal by the end of pregnancy when your body is preparing itself for childbirth. Morning Sickness will knock the door again when the baby is getting ready to come out just as it did when the baby was trying to make a safe place for itself inside you.

Nausea and Vomiting at the time of labor especially during active stages of labor are also completely normal.

Worry When:

    • You are suffering from extreme nausea – It might be because of the condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.
    • You are not able to eat, losing weight or suffering from severe cramps. This happens because nausea is ripping you off essential nutrients and water.
    • Do visit your doctor if your nausea seems to be unacceptable to you and your body.


Sudden Itching

Itchy skin during pregnancy is the most irritating problem faced by pregnant women especially after halfway through the pregnancy. It occurs when your skin starts to stretch especially around stomach, hips, thighs, palms, and feet etc. Inside of your knees and elbows are also affected to some extent.


As baby grows your skin expands. As skin stretches small cracks are formed which can cause dryness. However, if these cracks are nourished with high-absorbent oils (Rosehip Oil, Camellia Seed Oil or Apricot Kernel Oil) or eating healthy fats, itching can be prevented.

Worry When:

You have severe itching that goes deep within the skin and even scratching is not able to relieve it. It could be because of obstetric cholestasis (OC) which is very common in India.

Other common symptoms which you experience during cholestasis is excessive fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine color and depression. OC happens in the third trimester of pregnancy. When you have OC, bile (liquid produced by the liver for the breakdown of fats in digestion) production stops. Cholestasis is also one of the leading causes of stillbirth. So check with your doctor if itching worsens.


Baby’s Movement Decreases

The very first thing you need to do after you have reached around 24–25 weeks or when your baby starts moving is to track his movements. Set aside a time for doing that every day.The pattern becomes regular only after you are around 30 weeks pregnant.

You should feel at least 10 baby movements in 2 hours.Try to relax and calm down. Babies tend to move more when you are relaxed which is why most mothers feel movements between 9 PM-2AM.Babies have a sleep cycle of 60–90 minutes when they are in the womb. So you need to feel movements every 2 hours.

Worry When:

If at any point of time, especially in the late pregnancy you feel that the baby has been deviating from his movements, this is when you need to contact your medical supervisor.

By deviation, it also means if your baby is moving too much continuously for a long time. This might mean that the baby is in distress.

Various apps like Kickme – Baby Kicks Counter – Android Apps on Google Play are very useful when it comes to counting the movements.

Baby’s movement might decrease due to following reasons:

    • Sleep Patterns: Babies sleep for around 30–60 minutes while they are in the womb but this cycle might also stretch to 90 minutes. You might also notice fewer movements when you are busy i.e. during the day.
    • Placental Abruption: This happens when the placenta separates from the uterine wall. Even though this is sometimes normal and can heal by itself. Sometimes it needs medical intervention. So, make sure you contact your doctor if your baby moves less than his usual patterns.
    • Maternal Stress or Nutritional Problems: Emotional stress can easily cause babies to get distressed too. Fasting or Dehydration can also irritate the baby. So make sure that you eat and drink as soon as you feel hungry.
    • Premature Rupture of Membrane: This happens when the amniotic sac ruptures or the water leaks. It’s normal when you are at full term but if it happens before then rush to the doctor immediately.
    • Fetal Hypoxia: A very rare condition in which the umbilical cord fails to deliver oxygen to the baby. This is a fatal condition and needs immediate attention.


Severe Abdominal / Back Pain

Back pain and lower abdomen pain is caused by repeated stretching and pressure by the growing baby and the hormone, progesterone. Back pain can generally ease out after you move around a little bit or exercise. Taking lukewarm water baths might also help.

Worry When:

    • Backaches last for more than 2 weeks and don’t subside for quite a while.
    • If you have lost the feeling of sensation in any one of your legs or the pain radiates to the nerves of the legs.
    • If there’s pain on the sides of your lower back, which is accompanied by nausea and burning sensation while peeing. It can be a sign of urine infection.
    • If you are not able to talk through or walk through the pain. This might be a sign of preterm labor.


High Fever

Pregnancy weakens your immune system since your body is also protecting your baby from germs and infections. This double work can make you easily prone to cold and cough. Your doctor might give you medications for this beforehand. Getting sick is extremely normal in the first trimester.

Worry When:

    • The fever doesn’t go away for around 24-36 hours even after taking several doses of medication.
    • Fever is accompanied by any other uncomfortable symptom like a headache, lower back pain etc.
    • If the fever is 102 or higher


Shortness Of Breath

Shortness of Breath is one of the first signs of pregnancy accompanied by fatigue and extreme tiredness. It goes away during the second trimester and comes back by the end of your third trimester.

Worry When:

    • Your skin is pale.
    • Your chest hurts.
    • You have a cough.
    • Rapid Breathing doesn’t help.


Worsening Anxiety or Depression

It’s normal to feel a little down while you are pregnant and crying over the stupidest of things. Mood Swings will generally be quite high at the start and by the end of pregnancy. You are more prone to them if you have severe PMS symptoms and there is a history of depression and anxiety disorders in your family.

Worry When:

    • You are feeling sad for most of the time for 2 weeks.
    • You don’t want to get out of the bed/ you are sleeping excessively.
    • You have lost interest in all the things which you found enjoyable.
    • You have got poor concentration and decrease in appetite
    • You are feeling hopeless, guilty and have a sense of worthlessness
    • You are worrying excessively. (out of control kind of worrying)
    • You are feeling restless/ irritated.


Burning Sensation while Urinating

This symptom is never considered normal during pregnancy and needs immediate attention. It can indicate UTI’s.(Urinary Tract Infections).

While some of them like bacteria infection or yeast infection are easily treatable, others might cause various complications.

You are more prone to them from 6-24 weeks.


Increased Pelvic Pressure

As the baby grows in size you will feel an increased amount of pressure, especially around your lower abdomen. Placenta, amniotic fluid, stretchy muscles and extra blood will also participate in this. As the baby drops down the pelvis (lightning) by the end of pregnancy this pressure increases and can cause discomfort.

Worry When:

This increased pressure causes discomfort around your groins and the pain radiates down to the legs.


All of these symptoms are not something to be ignored. That’s why it’s very important that you have a doctor who encourages you to call them even in the middle of the night and discuss things at full length. Therefore, it becomes very important that you choose your doctor wisely.

Did you experience any red flag symptoms while you were pregnant? What were the outcomes? Share your experiences with us so that our fellow expectant parents know how to deal with them if any steps on their door.


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1 Comment

  • Reply Alden Werstein 20/06/2017 at 1:36 pm

    This is a very good tips especially to those new to blogosphere, brief and accurate information… Thanks for sharing this one. A must read article.

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