Warning Signs During Late Pregnancy

by Robin Hewitt

As your body nears the end of your pregnancy, your mind will turn to the practical matters that need to be completed before your baby makes her arrival into your family. Preparing the nursery, the nesting instinct of cleaning your home and making lists of things to do and people to contact when your labor begins all help take your mind off the changes in your body and perhaps the discomfort that comes with carrying a near-term baby. While you make your necessary plans, it's important to keep in mind a few warning signs that may occur during late pregnancy.

Contractions

While the false labor contractions called Braxton-Hicks are a normal phase of late pregnancy, says Angela Anderson, a certified nurse-midwife at Latter Day Saints Hospital, if you experience contractions that are regular and painful or radiate from your back, you should call your medical provider, especially if your pregnancy is before the 37 week point. Your obstetrician will determine whether you are in labor and may prescribe medication or bed rest as well as decide whether to admit you to the hospital for delivery.

Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding, especially when accompanied by cramps or abdominal pain, should be reported immediately. According to LIVESTRONG, this may be a sign of placenta abruption (separation of the placenta from the uterus), a condition that may deprive the baby of oxygen. Your obstetrician may decide to schedule an early delivery, especially if the placenta is more than 50 percent detached.

Vaginal Discharge

Any abnormal discharge should be reported to your doctor, especially if there is an odor or it is accompanied by cramps, fever or headache. This may be signs of an infection or other medical condition that could affect your baby, either before or after birth. Your doctor will check the discharge and decide if it warrants specific treatment; it may also be the beginning of the first stage of labor.

Blurred Vision and Headaches

Blurred vision and headaches may be a sign of preeclampsia (toxemia), the effects of high blood pressure during pregnancy. While your blood pressure is checked at each prenatal visit, during pregnancy, it may spike without warning. Preeclampsia is more common in multiple births, teenage mothers and women over the age of 40. Your obstetrician may decide to put you on bed rest or schedule an early delivery if she feels your baby is big enough for an early induction, as this condition can deplete the blood supply to the placenta.

About the Author

Robin Hewitt began her writing career in 2008. She is the coauthor of several books, including "The Joyous Gift of Grandparenting," which covers the nutritional and fitness needs of both grandchildren and grandparents.

Photo Credits

  • pregnant woman image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from Fotolia.com