For a lot of women, pregnancy is a very exciting time in their lives. But it can also be a time of stress and anxiety, especially if you’re worried about whether your baby is healthy inside your foetus or not. These are things that can only really be confirmed with scans. You might be wondering how you can tell whether your foetus is healthy or whether there’s something to worry about, if it has become ill or is not growing.
Sometimes a mother’s intuition can come in handy, but mostly, it’s hard to detect without medical intervention. Miscarriages are unfortunately quite common. In these difficult cases, you should keep an eye out for the signs, to help you know when to prepare for hard times ahead.
Machines can usually pick up a baby’s heartbeat around the 10 week mark. Of course, you can also just touch your stomach and count the beats per minute. Earlier on, it’s hard to locate a foetal heartbeat. Sometimes it can also be obstructed due to the baby’s position in the uterus or due to issues with the placenta. Doctors are not usually very concerned about detecting heartbeat in the early days of pregnancy. However, it should be picked up on in the first trimester. If the doctor can’t detect it, you might be asked to come back later, and if that doesn’t work, an ultrasound may be ordered. However, no heartbeat is obviously not a good sign, and might indicate significant problems in foetal development, or even a lifeless foetus.
Low levels of hCG
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone produced during pregnancy. Doctors will draw blood periodically to test hCG levels and see that the pregnancy is going fine. If your hCG levels are lower than they should be at a certain point in your pregnancy, then it means that there might be something wrong. Especially if you have a row of tests showing levels constantly declining. If your levels are showing as below normal, then you should follow it up with a doctor as soon as you can.
You’re probably thinking, cramps are a part and parcel of pregnancy. And that’s true, aches and pains in many different parts of the body are very much expected during pregnancy. Pain is expected, especially during the second trimester. However, if your cramps reach a point where it’s beyond your pain tolerance and you feel really ill, or if your cramps are compounded with other unpleasant symptoms, it might be time to ring for the doctor. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and a miscarriage is often accompanied by cramping.
Miscarriage is characterised by a heavy amount of bleeding. Although nothing can be done at that stage, you obviously still should visit a hospital and make sure you get the requisite aftercare. Also, bleeding isn’t necessarily a sign of miscarriage and could be something else as well. While spotting or a little blood here and there is normal during pregnancy, large clots are not. If you find yourself suddenly bleeding heavily, consider it an emergency. Take it seriously and make sure you call your doctor immediately.
Of course, you’ll have vaginal discharge when you are pregnant, but if there is an excess of fluid or tissue, then it might be something to worry about. When the amniotic sac ruptures, amniotic fluid spills out (the water breaks). In healthy pregnancies this will happen when you’re ready to go into labour, but if something has happened to the foetus, your body might be preparing to expel it.
Just an instinct
It’s true that a mother’s intuition shouldn’t be undermined. You’ve been pregnant for some time and are probably familiar with how your body feels in that situation. If anything has changed, you might be able to feel it but not explain it properly. Don’t dismiss your gut-feeling. You might be onto something.
It can be really heart-rending when something happens to the baby you’ve been growing inside you. It can be physically taxing and mentally painful. If you have any symptoms that indicate that something is wrong, don’t assume the worst and give up. Make sure you contact your doctor asap so they can have a proper look at what’s going on.