Posts Tagged ‘bleeding’

Common pregnancy concerns: when should you call your provider?

Monday, August 28th, 2017

During pregnancy, it’s common to worry about every ache, pain, and unfamiliar feeling. But do you always need to contact your health care provider? Here is information to help you decide.

Bleeding

Up to half of all pregnant women have some bleeding or spotting during pregnancy. Although it may be common, it’s still important to let your health care provider know. Make sure you:

  • Keep track of how heavy you are bleeding, if the bleeding gets heavier or lighter, and how many pads you are using.
  • Check the color of the blood. It can be brown, dark or bright red.
  • Don’t use a tampon, douche or have sex when you’re bleeding.

Call your provider or go to the emergency room right away if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Heavy bleeding,
  • Bleeding with pain or cramping,
  • Dizziness and bleeding,
  • Pain in your belly or pelvis.

Abdominal Pain

As your baby grows, the muscles around the uterus pull and stretch. This can cause pain low in your belly. You may feel it most when you cough or sneeze. It usually goes away if you stay still for a bit or if you change to a different position.

But if your pain is severe, doesn’t go away, gets worse, or is accompanied by bleeding, you should call your provider right away.

Headaches

Headaches are common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. They’re often caused by pregnancy hormones, stress or body tension caused by carrying extra weight throughout pregnancy.

However, headaches may be sign of preeclampsia or other complications. You should call your provider if your headache:

  • Is severe or doesn’t go away,
  • Comes with fever, vision changes, slurred speech, sleepiness, numbness or not being able to stay alert,
  • Comes after falling or hitting your head,
  • Comes with a stuffy nose, pain and pressure under your eyes or a toothache. These may be signs of a sinus infection.

Vomiting

Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting that happens in the first few months of pregnancy. Even though it’s called morning sickness, it can happen any time of day.

At least 7 in 10 pregnant women (70%) have morning sickness in the first trimester. It usually starts at about 6 weeks and is at its worst at about 9 weeks. Most women feel better in their second trimester, but some have morning sickness throughout pregnancy. If you are experiencing any nausea or vomiting, let your provider know.

For most women, morning sickness is mild and goes away over time. But call your provider if:

  • Your morning sickness continues into the 4th month of pregnancy.
  • You lose more than 2 pounds.
  • Your vomit is brown in color or has blood in it. If so, call your provider right away.
  • You vomit more than 3 times a day and can’t keep food or fluids down.
  • Your heart beats faster than usual.
  • You’re tired or confused.
  • You’re making much less urine than usual or no urine at all.

Don’t take any medicine, supplement or herbal product to treat your symptoms without talking to your provider first. And if you are ever unsure whether or not you should call your provider, it’s better to call. Most likely your provider will be able to answer your question and put your mind at ease.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Severe bleeding during pregnancy can be placenta previa

Monday, July 27th, 2015

contemplative pregnant woman During my mom’s pregnancy with me, she was diagnosed with placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix. The cervix is the opening to the uterus that sits on the top of the vagina. If you have placenta previa, when your labor starts, your cervix begins to thin out and dilate (open up), and the blood vessels connecting the placenta to your uterus may tear. This can cause severe bleeding.

My mom remembers the day I was born, like it was yesterday. She remembers my Aunt running down the hall to get towels for her while she stood in the bathroom bleeding during her third trimester. She was rushed to the hospital and had an emergency Cesarean section (C-section) performed. My mom says she can still remember what the pressure felt like on her lower abdomen during the procedure.

We don’t know what causes placenta previa, which happens in about 1 in 200 pregnancies. If you have placenta previa early in pregnancy, it usually isn’t a problem. However, it can cause serious bleeding and other complications later in pregnancy.

Diagnosis and symptoms

The most common symptom of placenta previa is painless bleeding from the vagina during the second half of pregnancy. If you have spotting or bleeding during pregnancy, it’s important you call your provider right away. But, not all women with placenta previa have vaginal bleeding. In fact, about one-third of women with placenta previa don’t have this symptom. An ultrasound can usually pinpoint the placenta’s location to determine if you have placenta previa.

Is there treatment?

Treatment depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy, the seriousness of your bleeding and the health of you and your baby. The goal is to keep you pregnant as long as possible, but at any stage of pregnancy, a C-section may be necessary if you have dangerously heavy bleeding or if you and your baby are having problems.

How can I reduce my risk?

We don’t know how to prevent placenta previa, but you may be able to reduce your risk by not smoking or doing illicit drugs such as cocaine. If you have a healthy pregnancy, and there isn’t a medical reason for you to have a C-section, it’s best to let labor begin on its own. The more C-sections you have, the greater your risk of placenta previa.

As soon as my mom held me in her arms, she said she forgot all about the scary hours beforehand. She was so grateful that she had gone to the hospital when she did.

Remember, if you have spotting or bleeding at any point in your pregnancy, call your provider right away or go to the emergency room.

Bleeding during pregnancy – what does it mean?

Monday, July 6th, 2015

bleeding during pregnancyIf you are pregnant and experience spotting or bleeding, it can be very scary. When you see blood, your first thought may be “is my baby ok?” Bleeding and spotting from the vagina during pregnancy is common. Up to half of all pregnant women have some bleeding or spotting.

Bleeding? Spotting? What’s the difference?

Spotting is light bleeding and happens when you have a few drops of blood in your underwear. Bleeding is a heavier flow of blood, enough that you need a panty liner or pad to keep the blood from soaking your underwear or clothes.

Bleeding in early pregnancy

Bleeding doesn’t always mean there’s a problem, but it can be a sign of serious complications. There are several things that may cause bleeding early in your pregnancy, such as having sex, an infection, or changes in your cervix and hormones. You may bleed a little when the embryo attaches to the lining of your uterus (called implantation bleeding). This may occur 10-14 days after fertilization. Although this spotting is usually earlier and lighter than a menstrual period, some women don’t notice the difference, and don’t even realize they’re pregnant.

Sometimes bleeding and spotting in the first trimester can be a sign of a serious problem such as miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or molar pregnancy. But keep in mind that bleeding doesn’t always mean miscarriage. At least half of women who have spotting or light bleeding early in pregnancy don’t miscarry.

Bleeding in late pregnancy

Causes of late pregnancy bleeding include labor, sex, an internal exam by your provider or problems with your cervix, such as an infection or cervical insufficiency. It could also be a sign of preterm labor, placenta previa, placental abruption or uterine rupture.

How to tell if the bleeding is dangerous

Bleeding or spotting can happen anytime, from the time you get pregnant to right before you give birth. Bleeding can be a sign of a serious complication, so it’s important you call your prenatal care provider if you have any bleeding or spotting, even if it stops. If the bleeding is not serious, it’s still important that your provider finds out the cause. Do not use a tampon, douche or have sex if you’re bleeding.

Before you call your provider, write down these things:

• How heavy your bleeding is. Is it getting heavier or lighter and how many pads are you using?
• The color of the blood. It can be different colors, like brown, dark or bright red.

Go to the emergency room if you have:

• Heavy bleeding
• Bleeding with pain or cramping
• Dizziness and bleeding
• Pain in your belly or pelvis

Treatment for your bleeding depends on the cause. You may need a medical exam or tests performed by your provider.

Bottom Line

If you are bleeding or spotting at any point in your pregnancy, call your provider right away and describe what you are experiencing. It’s important that your bleeding or spotting is evaluated to determine if it is dangerous to you and your baby.

Have questions? Send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Trimming baby’s nails

Friday, October 16th, 2009

19168348_thbI couldn’t believe how long my daughter’s finger nails were! She was less than a week old and desperately needed them trimmed. When she was fed and calm I got the clippers out and placed her on the changing table. Although meant for babies, the clippers were enormous compared to her. The lighting seemed OK. I picked up her delicate little hand and started with the pointer finger. I pressed her tiny finger pad away from the nail and started to cut along the curve of her finger. Then she SCREAMED! OH MY! WHAT DID I DO? She was bleeding. I nicked her precious little finger. My heart dropped. I grabbed a nearby cloth diaper and applied pressure . “I’m a horrible mother,” I thought.

Since then, I’ve been using an emery board to file her nails to the right length. I’m too scared to pick up the clippers again. I’ve been tempted to peel or bite them at times, but worry about ripping the nail too low and not being able to see what I’m doing. Filing is a bit time consuming, but at least I know she can’t get hurt this way.

Do you have any recommendations or stories to share? We can all learn from each other, so feel free to leave a comment.

Have a terrific weekend and thanks for stopping by NMN!

Making the best of bedrest

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

knit-scarvesSometimes a health provider tells a pregnant women to stay in bed because she is having spotting, early contractions or other signs of preterm labor.

Both mom and the provider want to do everything they can to help get the baby to term.

But let’s face it, bedrest can be BORING! Women knit, catch up on their reading, watch a lot of TV, or visit online communities like Share Your Story from the March of Dimes and Sidelines.

Some women get very anxious when they’re on bedrest. They worry about everything they feel in their bodies. And with so much time on their hands, their thoughts race.

A small new study has found that music may relieve anxiety. In the study, women on bedrest chose from a selection of slow, soothing music provided by the researchers. Anxiety levels in women who received “music therapy” decreased.

This study reminds us that sometimes medical research confirms what we already suspect. So if you are on bedrest or if you know someone who is, play some restful slow music. It might help.

Warning signs to stop exercise and call your doc

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

pregnant-exerciseSpring is here, it’s getting warmer so I’m wearing less.  After a winter of couch potatohood, I’m not really liking what I see in the mirror.  So I’m getting back into exercise in hopes of retrieving the real me, or a reasonable facsimile.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy pregnant women get at least 2 1/2 hours of aerobic exercise every week. This means that most pregnant women should try to get 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most, if not all, days. Examples of aerobic exercise are walking, swimming and dancing. Be sure to read up on exercise during pregnancy and double check with your health care provider before starting a routine.

Go for it and stay fit.  But, if you experience any of the following symptoms stop exercising and call you doctor right away.
• Bleeding from your vagina
• Difficult or labored breathing before you exercise
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Chest pains
• Muscle weakness
• Calf pain or swelling
• Preterm labor
• Decreased movement of the fetus
• Leakage of fluid from your vagina

The risks of teen pregnancy

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

teenage-girl-2For so many women, pregnancy is a wonderful time: full of hope and excitement about a new baby. But for teens, pregnancy brings some  challenges.

Teen mothers and their babies face special health risks. Compared to other pregnant women, the teen mom is more likely to face complications. Examples:  premature labor, anemia and high blood pressure.

Babies born to teen moms are at increased risk of premature birth, low weight at birth, breathing problems, bleeding in the brain,  and vision problems.

Teen pregnancy also affects a young woman’s educational and job opportunities. Teen moms are less likely to graduate from high school than other teenagers. They are also more likely to live in poverty than women who wait to have a baby.

Today is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Teen birth rates in the United States are on the rise again after a steady decline between 1991 and 2005.

If you are a teen, please think carefully about getting pregnant. If you know a teen, help her understand why it’s usually best to delay pregnancy.

For more information, read the March of Dimes fact sheet.