Your pregnancy

Dell Children’s Health Plan pregnancy action plan form will help you get the help you need when you have your baby. Download and fill out this form, and take it with you to every visit and in your labor bag.

What are some warning signs of possible pregnancy complications?

Most of the time pregnancy is a safe and exciting time for families. It is normal to experience discomfort, however, and sometimes things don’t go as planned. There are important warning signs that you should be aware of so you know when to get help.

Talk with your healthcare provider about the possible warning signs of preterm labor and other pregnancy complications. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these signs during your pregnancy:

  • Bleeding or leaking fluid from the vagina
  • Unusual or severe stomach pain or backaches
  • Contractions, where your stomach muscles tighten, before 34 weeks that happen every 10 minutes or more often
  • Decrease in baby’s movements after 28 weeks Dizziness
  • Excessive vomiting and diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Pain or burning with urination
  • Inability to tolerate foods or liquids
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Preeclampsia warning signs

Preeclampsia is a condition that happens during pregnancy when people develop high blood pressure and have protein in their urine that begins to affect their body and their baby. It does not occur in every pregnancy but it can happen without warning. It can lead to seizures, coma, or even death. It is important to be familiar with the warning signs.

Preeclampsia (or toxemia) causes high blood pressure during pregnancy. Protein is also found in the urine. Sometimes a pregnant person has swelling due to fluid retention. Eclampsia is the more severe form of this problem. It can lead to seizures, coma, or even death.

  • The cause of preeclampsia is unknown, but it is more common in first pregnancies. Other risk factors for preeclampsia include:
  • A person carrying multiple fetuses
  • A teenage parent
  • A person older than 40
  • A person with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease before they became pregnant
  • History of thrombophilia or lupus
  • History of an in vitro pregnancy
  • A person who is obese with a BMI greater than 30

Symptoms may include severe swelling of the hands and face, high blood pressure, headache, dizziness, irritability, decreased urine output, belly pain, and blurred vision. Treatment will vary based on the severity of the condition and the stage of the pregnancy. Treatment may include a hospital stay, bed rest, medicine to lower blood pressure, and keeping close track of both the fetus and the parent.

Symptoms of discomfort due to pregnancy vary from person to person. Below are some common discomforts. But each parent-to-be may have different symptoms or none at all:

  • Nausea and vomiting. About half of all pregnant people have nausea and sometimes vomiting in the first trimester. This is also called morning sickness. That’s because symptoms are most severe in the morning. Some people may have nausea and vomiting throughout the pregnancy. Morning sickness may be due to the changes in hormone levels during pregnancy.
  • Fatigue. As the body works overtime to provide a nourishing environment for the fetus, it is no wonder a pregnant person often feels tired. In the first trimester, their blood volume and other fluids increase as their body adjusts to the pregnancy. Sometimes anemia is the underlying cause of the fatigue. Anemia is a drop in the ability of red blood cells to carry oxygen. It is often due to low iron levels. A simple blood test done at a prenatal visit will check for anemia.
  • Hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are common in late pregnancy. That’s because of the increased pressure on the rectum and perineum, the increased blood volume, and the increased likelihood of becoming constipated as the pregnancy progresses. Preventing constipation and straining may help to prevent hemorrhoids. Always check with your healthcare provider or midwife before using any medicine to treat this condition.
  • Varicose veins. Varicose veins—swollen, purple veins—are common in the legs and around the vaginal opening during late pregnancy. In most cases, varicose veins are caused by the increased pressure on the legs and the pelvic veins. It is also caused by the increased blood volume.
  • Heartburn and indigestion. Heartburn and indigestion is caused by pressure on the intestines and stomach (which, in turn, pushes stomach contents back up into the esophagus). It can be prevented or reduced by eating smaller meals throughout the day and by not lying down shortly after eating.
  • Bleeding gums. Gums may become more spongy as blood flow increases during pregnancy. This causes them to bleed easily. A pregnant person should continue to take care of her teeth and gums and go to the dentist for regular checkups. This symptom usually disappears after pregnancy.
  • Pica. Pica is a rare craving to eat substances other than food, like dirt, clay, or coal. The craving may be a sign of a nutritional deficiency.
  • Swelling or fluid retention. Mild swelling is common during pregnancy. But severe swelling that lasts may be a sign of preeclampsia (abnormal condition marked by high blood pressure). Lying on the left side, elevating the legs, and wearing a support hose and comfortable shoes may help to relieve the swelling. Be sure to notify your healthcare provider or midwife about sudden swelling, especially in the hands or face or rapid weight gain.
  • Skin changes. Because of changes in hormone levels, including hormones that stimulate pigmentation of the skin, brown, blotchy patches may happen on the face, forehead, or cheeks. This is often called the mask of pregnancy, or chloasma. It often disappears soon after delivery. Using sunscreen when outside can reduce the amount of darkening that happens.
  • Stretch marks. Pinkish stretch marks may appear on the stomach, breasts, thighs, or buttocks. Stretch marks are generally caused by a rapid increase in weight. The marks usually fade after pregnancy.
  • Yeast infections. Due to hormone changes and increased vaginal discharge, also called leukorrhea, a pregnant person is more prone to yeast infections. Yeast infections cause a thick, whitish discharge from the vagina and itching. Yeast infections are highly treatable. Always talk with your healthcare provider or midwife before taking any medicine for this condition.
  • Congested or bloody nose. During pregnancy, the lining of the respiratory tract receives more blood, often making it more congested. This congestion can also cause stuffiness in the nose or nosebleeds. Small blood vessels in the nose are also easily damaged due to the increased blood volume, causing nosebleeds.
  • Constipation. Increased pressure from the pregnancy on the rectum and intestines can interfere with digestion and bowel movements. Hormone changes may also slow down the food being processed by the body. Increasing fluids, exercising regularly, and increasing the fiber in your diet are some of the ways to prevent constipation. Always check with your healthcare provider or midwife before taking any medicine for this condition.
  • Backache. As a person’s weight increases, their balance changes. Their center of gravity is pulled forward, straining the back. Pelvic joints that begin to loosen in preparation for childbirth also contribute to this back strain. Correct posture and correct lifting methods throughout the pregnancy can help reduce the strain on the back.
  • Dizziness. Dizziness during pregnancy is a common symptom. It may be caused by:
    • Low blood pressure due to the uterus compressing major arteries
    • Low blood sugar
    • Low iron
    • Quickly moving from a sitting position to a standing position
    • Dehydration
  • Headaches. Hormonal changes may be the cause of headaches during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Rest, nutrition, and adequate fluid intake may help ease headache symptoms. Always talk with your healthcare provider before taking any medicine for this condition. If you have a severe headache or a headache that does not go away, call your healthcare provider. It may be a sign of preeclampsia.

After hours locations

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Urgent care centers

You can also view a list of urgent care and after hours locations here.