Pregnancy Complication Warning Signs

Some symptoms during pregnancy can prove to be harmful to the health of the mother, the baby, or both. Making yourself and your partner aware of which complication warning signs to look out for can help you to avoid many, more severe issues.

Uterine Contractions

Uterine contractions at 37 weeks or more are a normal, healthy sign that lets you know that your baby will be born soon. However, contractions before this time should be followed by medical attention so that the baby can be safely monitored and appropriately cared for, if necessary. Increasingly strong, long, and constant contractions at any stage of your pregnancy should be followed by a hospital visit.

Loss of Blood

Pain with vaginal bleeding at any time during your pregnancy must always be checked by a medical professional. During early pregnancy, this can be an indication of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Bleeding after 20 weeks can be a sign that there is a problem with the placenta.

Abdominal Pain

Sudden abdominal pain requires prompt medical attention, especially if accompanied by vaginal bleeding.

Breaking of Water/Loss of Amniotic Fluid

This happens when the protective membrane sac and amniotic fluid surrounding your baby ruptures. If this occurs too early, it can cause miscarriage or put your baby at great risk of infection.

Decrease in Fetal Movement

Fetal movement is first felt around 18 weeks, and sometimes later, if it is your first pregnancy. As your pregnancy advances, you will experience much stronger kicks by the baby. Any sudden absence of these movements requires an emergency consultation with your doctor.


Fever during pregnancy can cause the termination of the pregnancy if the fever is caused by an infection of the egg, an infection of the mother's kidneys, or Listeriosis.

N.B. This is a non-exhaustive list.

It is essential that you see a doctor at the very first sign of fever during your pregnancy.


Preeclampsia usually happens toward the end of pregnancy and causes one or more of the following symptoms: a sudden rise in blood pressure; headaches; visual disturbance (e.g. blurred vision, sudden loss of vision, and flashing lights); hissing or buzzing in the ears; abdominal pain; sudden weight gain; swelling of the face, fingers, and body; and the presence of albumin in the urine.

These symptoms can occur suddenly in a woman with no history of hypertension or albumin in her urine.

Any woman presenting these symptoms may go on to develop eclampsia, causing a convulsion or coma.

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is a virus that is usually a sexually transmitted infection. During pregnancy there is a risk of passing it on to the baby, which could be harmful. It is, therefore, crucial to tell your midwife or GP so that you can be advised about treatment and possibly advised to have a Caesarean section to avoid the transmission of infection to the baby.

Vaginal Discharge with a Foul Smell

Vaginal discharge that becomes yellowish and gives off a bad smell can be a sign of a vaginal infection, which if left untreated, may affect the baby.

Pain, Stinging, and Burning when Urinating

If you have pain, stinging and or burning when passing urine, it can be a sign of a urinary tract infection, which requires medical attention.

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