Pregnancy: What’s Normal … and What's Not

No one said there’d be days like this, when your whole body seems out of control. Is this a normal part of pregnancy? Or should you call the doctor?

You will have some uncomfortable symptoms during pregnancy, says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Some are caused by changes in your hormones. Others can be traced to the pressure and weight of your growing baby.

Normal changes

Here are some of the annoying, but normal symptoms:

  • Mild swelling. You may have puffiness in face, hands, legs, feet, and ankles.

  • Stomach problems. You may have nausea and vomiting, heartburn, gas, and bloating.

  • Mild aches and pains. You may have backaches or leg cramps at night.

  • Bathroom issues. You may need to use the bathroom frequently. You may have a leaky bladder, constipation, or hemorrhoids.

  • Changes in your mouth. You may have swollen gums that may bleed easily.

  • Breathing issues. You may have a stuffy nose and shortness of breath.

  • Skin changes. You may have brown spots on the face, stretch marks, or varicose veins.

Potential problems

Some symptoms may indicate a serious problem. These are signs that indicate you should call your doctor immediately:

  • Signs of preterm labor. These include vaginal bleeding or spotting, unusual fluid discharge, lower abdominal cramping, lower back pain, or regular tightening of the abdomen (contractions) that doesn’t go away.

  • Urination problems. This means pain or burning when you urinate, especially if you have a fever.

  • Sudden or excessive swelling. Watch for unusual swelling in the face or fingers.

  • Severe pain. This includes bad headaches and strong stomach pain or cramps.

  • Mid-back pain

  • Unusual rash

  • Illness or fever. This includes dizziness, severe nausea or vomiting, or any higher-than-normal temperature, which could harm your baby.

  • Pelvic pressure. This could be normal or not. Call your doctor to be sure.

Bottom line: If a new symptom concerns you, call your doctor.