Early Warning Signs of Pregnancy and Complications

What are the early warning signs of pregnancy? Knowing the first warning signs of pregnancy can help you avoid the common complications that can be life threatening to the baby and also the mother herself. Here is a low-down of these danger signs to look out for.

Whenever one gets pregnant, their hope is to be in a position to nurture the pregnancy till the end and feel the joy of holding the baby after nine months. This is not always a smooth flow as at times one has to deal with some negative implications which could even threaten the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

Burning sensation while urinating warning sign of pregnancy
Burning sensation while urinating warning sign of pregnancy.

It is important to learn what the early warning signs in pregnancy are so as to be in a position to deal with them appropriately. Knowing these will also help identify pregnancy complications before it is too late. The first warning signs occur early in the pregnancy while signs of pregnancy complications may only be felt as the pregnancy progresses. Find out more about this ugly side of pregnancy by reading on.

First Warning Signs of Pregnancy

A pregnancy can bring in excitement in a family and more so in a woman’s life. First time mothers are not only excited but also confused wondering what is normal and what is not.

This leaves them wondering what first warning signs of pregnancy there are.  They will also wonder which of these is likely to develop into complications. Knowing when one should be concerned and what to do is important

For most women, their pregnancies are healthy. Being in tune with your body will help realize any changes that take place and know how to best take care of yourself so as to have a healthy pregnancy.

It also helps to decide when it is not time for emergency and when it is time to swiftly get to the doctor. Below we discuss some early warnings, what may cause them and what to do about them:

Early Warning Signs of Pregnancy

One sided swelling: While one is pregnant, the body’s water retention capacity increases. This may lead to swelling of the hands and feet. However, if one notices that the swelling is uneven, there is need for concern. Expectant mums are vulnerable to blood clots. Such early warning signs of pregnancy could lead to swellings and pain on one side. Women with a history of blood clots should bring it to the attention of the doctor so they can administer preventative measures.

The swelling of the face, hands, feet are related to pre-eclampsia. Medical help should be sought immediately.

Burning sensation while urinating: Pain and irritation while one is urinating could be a sign for an underlying health problem, or part of the early warning signs of pregnancy. It could be a bladder or urinary tract infection. If these are left untreated, they may have a negative effect on the developing baby. If it is treated, complications are eliminated and the pain is alleviated. This contributes to a healthy baby.

Upon visiting the doctor, they will carry out urine tests to ascertain the cause and then recommend antibiotics that are safe to use in pregnancy.

Vaginal itching as a result of discharge: It is normal to have some vaginal discharge during pregnancy. This is attributed to hormonal changes that take place in the body. The body also forms a mucus plug to protect the womb by sealing it. When the discharge is not milk white, has some bad odor and makes one to itch, this could be a bad sign of pregnancy. It could be one of the early warning signs of pregnancy – that one is suffering from a sexually transmitted disease.  This could affect the growth of the baby.

If you notice a different color on the discharge, make out a bad odor from it and realize it could be contributing to an itch, consult a doctor. One could also go to a sex health clinic and they will advise on the best form of treatment.

Fever: While temperatures rise in the early pregnancy, they should not get too high. High body temperature and fever in the first trimester may indicate neural tubes defect.  A flu jab is advised on pregnant women to prevent them from catching it.

One should visit the doctor to see if the temperature is anything to be worried about.

Vaginal bleeding: While spotting is normal in early pregnancy, vaginal bleeding should be a cause for concern. This can be distinguished by the fact that it will be heavier and colored red. Bleeding could be a sign of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

These require immediate medical attention.

Excessive nausea and/or vomiting: while morning sickness is normal in the first trimester and has no negative effect on the baby, it should not be excessive. Serious implications such as becoming dehydrated, losing weight and dizziness could result from excessive nausea and vomiting.  If it develops to become hyperemesis, one may have to be admitted in the hospital.

Early Warning Signs of Pregnancy and Complications
Early Warning Signs of Pregnancy and Complications.

Other early warning signs of pregnancy for which one should contact a doctor are:

  • The color of urine changes the color tone to a darker one.
  • Urine is not passed for more than eight hours.
  • Vomiting is continuous
  • There is blood in the vomit
  • When you stand you feel too weak, are dizzy and faint regularly
  • There is excruciating pain in the abdomen
  • Your temperature gets to above 38 degrees Celsius.
  • Your heart feels like it is racing

Warning Signs of Pregnancy Complications

After knowing the early warning signs of pregnancy, it is important to know when complications from them may develop.

Placenta complications:

Placenta abruption occurs when the placenta detaches itself from the uterine lining. It may be indicated by bleeding, abdominal cramping and tenderness. It mostly occurs in women who smoke, have a history for it or are having high blood pressure.

Placenta previa is when the placenta is located at the opening of the cervix as opposed to the upper part of the uterus. This is accompanied by vagina bleeding

Both complications are diagnosed through physical examination and confirmed through an ultra sound scan. Depending on severity, a bed rest may be recommended till one delivers.

Ectopic pregnancy

This form of complication happens when the fetus develops outside the uterus. It is mostly known to occur in the fallopian tube but could also occur in the abdominal cavity or pelvic canal.

An ectopic pregnancy is treated through removal in order to save the mother’s life. This could be done using medication or through a medical procedure.

Fetal loss:

Normally referred to as a miscarriage, fetal loss occurs when there are abnormalities in the developing baby which could be chromosomal or generic. If it happens early in the pregnancy, the pregnancy tissues will be expelled naturally. If it was a bit advanced, dilation and curettage may be necessary.


This is also referred to as toxemia and is characterized by swelling as a result of too much fluid retention, having proteins in urine, and a high blood pressure.  If it develops to eclampsia, a woman could get seizures, get into a coma or even die.

Treatment of such early warning signs of pregnancy may involve hospitalization and medication to lower the blood pressure.

More on Symptoms and Signs of Pregnancy:

See More on Ovulation, Conception & Early Symptoms of Pregnancy.

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