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Pregnancy Symptoms: Is It an Emergency or Can It Wait?

During the first trimester of pregnancy your body goes through rapid changes to support the growth of your baby. Some of those changes may lead to nausea, vomiting or light spotting. Women often feel concerned about bodily changes and illnesses during pregnancy, yet most are normal and can wait until morning. When those side effects become severe, it’s time to call your doctor.

Call your doctor right away when these symptoms are present:

Severe pelvic cramping or heavy vaginal bleeding may require urgent attention. Call your doctor’s office right away if you’re experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding similar to the first days of your menstrual cycle.

Pain during urination with fever of 101 degrees or higher may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI) – a dangerous condition for both you and your baby. UTIs can lead to harmful kidney or systemic infections and should be treated right away.

Other symptoms are normal and often resolve on their own. Most often, it’s safe to wait a day or two before calling your doctor.

Nausea and vomiting are common during early pregnancy. Take steps to stay well hydrated by drinking lots of water. You may also supplement with juice, sports drinks like Gatorade and other liquids as needed. It’s OK to go a half- to a full day without solid foods since they can add to nausea. If you are keeping most liquids down and have normal urination, it is OK to wait 24 hours before calling your doctor.

Headaches during the first trimester aren’t usually a concern and may be treated with over-the-counter medications as recommended by your doctor. If you are prone to headaches talk to your doctor early in pregnancy to learn what medications are safe for you. Severe headaches during your third trimester may be a sign of preeclampsia, a dangerous condition.

Mild spotting and cramping are symptoms that are best evaluated in your physician’soffice. It’s OK to wait until morning to schedule an appointment.

Colds and other common illnesses can be treated by your primary care provider. It’s important to let your provider know you’re pregnant so medications can be modified if necessary.

While your obstetrician will monitor your health throughout pregnancy, women with chronic conditions should continue regular visits with their specialty provider. And all women should continue routine preventive care with their dentist.

While most symptoms during early pregnancy are normal, it’s important to know that one in four pregnancies results in miscarriage during the first trimester. Miscarriage during early pregnancy generally can’t be prevented and is thought to be nature taking its course.

“It’s important to be patient with yourself if you are experiencing minor illnesses or bumps in the road,” says obstetrician-gynecologist Travis Dayon, MD, with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology–Laurys Station. “At your eight-week visit, your provider will conduct an ultrasound to listen for a healthy heartbeat. Once this milestone is reached, 90 percent of women will go on to a healthy delivery.”