Pregnancy brings a world of new sensations — both good and bad. It’s good to pay attention to these feelings, and to talk to your care provider if something doesn’t feel right. Trust your instincts!
Did you feel that?
You may first feel fetal movement between 18–22 weeks. These are very subtle feelings at the beginning. Fetal kick counts may be started at 28 weeks and indicate fetal well-being. They may slow down a little as you get closer to your due date, simply because the baby has grown and has a limited amount of space to move. If your baby's movements drop dramatically, call your care provider immediately.
Know the signs: Preeclampsia
During your prenatal check-ups, your care provider will test your urine and blood pressure. This is to screen for preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous form of high blood pressure that can develop during pregnancy. Call your provider immediately if you experience any of these symptoms:
- Constant, severe headaches
- Blurred vision, spots in front of your eyes, or sensitivity to light
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swelling in your hands or feet that progress to the face and eyelids or sudden weight gain of more than a pound a day
- Pain in the upper right side of your abdomen
- Shortness of breath
Preterm labor is defined as labor that begins before the 37th week. Symptoms include:
- 6–8 contractions in an hour
- Leaking of fluid
- Any vaginal bleeding
- Low back pain, abdominal cramps, or pressure in your pelvis
True or false labor?
- Irregular or sporadic contractions
- Contractions don’t increase in intensity
- Feeling is lower in abdomen and does not spread outward
- Changing activities affects the contractions
- Contractions last from 30–70 seconds
- They increase in length, frequency, and intensity
- They do not go away with a change in activity
- During a contraction, you are unable to talk or laugh at a joke
Keep your appointments
As you get bigger, the urge to stay home and rest may get stronger — but don’t skip your prenatal visits! Getting regular prenatal care not only gives you peace of mind, it lowers the odds of preterm birth.
All the best,