Common Concerns During Pregnancy (2023)


Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also bring on stress and fear of the unknown. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’ve had one before, many people have questions about it. Below are some answers and resources for common questions.

When should I tell people I am pregnant?

Most miscarriages occur during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, so you may want to wait until this critical period is over before telling others of your pregnancy. However, it may be difficult to keep such a secret to yourself. If you have an ultrasound at 8 weeks of pregnancy and see a heartbeat, your chance of miscarriage is less than 2 percent, and you may feel safe sharing your news.

What foods should I avoid?

You should have at least three well-balanced meals every day. In general, you should eat foods that are clean and well-cooked. Avoid:

  • raw meat, such as sushi
  • undercooked beef, pork, or chicken, including hot dogs
  • unpasteurized milk or cheeses
  • undercooked eggs
  • improperly washed fruits and vegetables

Foods or beverages containing aspartame, or NutraSweet, are safe in moderation (one to two servings per day), if you don’t have a disease called phenylketonuria.

(Video) Common Pregnancy Complications Explained

Some women develop a condition known as pica, giving them unusual urges to eat chalk, clay, talcum powder, or crayons. Discuss these cravings with your doctor and avoid these substances.

If you have diabetes or are diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, you should follow the American Diabetes Association (ADA) diet, and avoid fruits, juices, and high-carbohydrate snacks, like candy bars, cakes, cookies, and sodas.

Should I drink coffee during pregnancy?

Some doctors suggest you don’t drink any caffeine during pregnancy and others advise limited consumption. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it increases your blood pressure and heart rate, which is not recommended during pregnancy. Caffeine use can also lead to dehydration, so be sure to drink plenty of water.

Caffeine also crosses through the placenta to your baby and can affect them. It can also affect your sleep patterns, and the baby’s. There has been no definitive research linking moderate caffeine use, defined as less than five cups of coffee a day, to miscarriage or birth defects. The current recommendation is 100 to 200 milligrams per day, or about one small cup of coffee.

Can I have alcohol?

You should not drink any alcohol during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a serious condition. It’s unknown how much alcohol consumption causes it — it might be a glass of wine a day or a glass a week. However, with the onset of early labor pains at the end of pregnancy, your doctor may suggest you drink a little wine and take a warm shower, also known as hydrotherapy. This may help ease your discomfort.

(Video) Common problems in pregnancy | Dr Arpita Gangwani

What can I take for headaches and pain?

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is generally safe to use during pregnancy, although you should consult your doctor first. You can take as much as two extra-strength tablets, 500 milligrams each, every four hours, up to four times a day. Maximum consumption per day should be limited to 4,000 mg or less. You can take acetaminophen to treat headaches, body aches, and other pains during pregnancy, but if headaches persist despite maximum doses of acetaminophen, contact your doctor immediately. Your headaches may be a sign of something more serious.

Aspirin and ibuprofen should not be taken during pregnancy unless you are specifically instructed to by your doctor. There are medical or obstetrical conditions that require aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents during pregnancy, but only under the strict supervision of your doctor.

Should I take progesterone supplements?

Progesterone production in the ovaries is critical until about the 9th or 10th week of pregnancy. Progesterone prepares the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, for implantation of the pre-embryo. Soon after, the placenta will produce enough progesterone to maintain the pregnancy.

Measuring progesterone levels can be difficult, but levels below 7 ng/ml are associated with miscarriage. These levels are rarely found in women who don’t have a history of at least three miscarriages. If you have a history of miscarriage and a low progesterone level, extra progesterone as a vaginal suppository, intramuscular injection, or pill may be an option.

Are hot tubs safe?

You should avoid hot tubs and saunas during pregnancy, particularly during your first trimester. The excessive heat may predispose your baby to neural tube defects. Warm showers and tub baths are safe and are often quite soothing for body aches.


What about cats?

If you have a cat, particularly an outdoor cat, let your doctor know so you can be tested for toxoplasmosis. You should not change your cat’s litter box. Also be meticulous about washing your hands after close contact with your cat or with dirt from working in the garden.

Toxoplasmosis is transmitted to humans from infected cat feces or poorly cooked meat from an infected animal. The infection can be transmitted to your unborn baby and lead to devastating complications, including miscarriage. The treatment for toxoplasmosis is complicated and requires obtaining special permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a medication that isn’t readily available in the United States. Fortunately, most women are already immune to toxoplasmosis from prior exposures in childhood and therefore can’t be reinfected.

Where can I find help if I am in a violent relationship?

Domestic violence affects almost 1 in 6 pregnant women in the United States. Domestic violence increases complications during pregnancy, and can double the risk of preterm labor and miscarriage.

Many women who have been abused don’t show up for their prenatal appointments, and this is especially true if you are bruised or injured at the time of the appointment. It’s also common for a woman who is at risk for or being abused to bring her partner to her prenatal visits. An abusive partner will rarely leave a woman unaccompanied and typically attempts to take control of the meeting.

Reporting abuse

If you are in a violent relationship, it’s important to report your situation. If you have been battered before, pregnancy increases the likelihood that you will be battered again. If you are experiencing abuse, tell someone you trust to get support. Your regular checkups with your doctor may be a good time to tell them about any physical abuse you may be experiencing. Your doctor can give you information about support services and where to go for help.

Despite ongoing abuse, many women are unable or unwilling to leave an abusive partner. The reasons are complex. If you have been abused and choose to stay with your partner for whatever reason, you need an exit plan for you and your children in case you find yourself in a dire situation.

Find out what resources are available in your community. Police stations, shelters, counseling avenues, and legal aid organizations provide help in emergency situations.


If you need help or want to talk to someone about an abusive situation, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence helpline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY). These numbers can be reached from anywhere in the United States.

Other web resources:

Pack some needed supplies and leave them at a friend or neighbor’s home. Remember to pack clothes for you and your children, toiletries, documents for school enrollment or to obtain public aid, including birth certificates and rent receipts, an extra set of car keys, cash or checkbook, and a special toy for each child.

Remember, every day you remain in your home you are at risk. Talk to your doctor and friends and plan ahead.

(Video) 5 common complications during pregnancy according to a leading obstetrician


(Video) Common Problems During Pregnancy | Dr. Megha

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. Above are answers and resources to some common questions people have about pregnancy, and there are plenty of other resources out there as well. Be sure to read books, do research on the internet, talk to friends who’ve had kids, and as always, ask your doctor any questions.


Common Concerns During Pregnancy? ›

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that first occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia happens if you previously had normal blood pressure and suddenly develop high blood pressure and protein in your urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

What is the common problem during pregnancy? ›

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Gestational hypertension is high blood pressure that first occurs after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia happens if you previously had normal blood pressure and suddenly develop high blood pressure and protein in your urine or other problems after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

What are the 6 common complaints of pregnancy? ›

Common complaints during pregnancy
  • Morning sickness.
  • Constipation.
  • Pain management during pregnancy.
  • Skin changes and rashes.
  • Swollen ankles, feet and fingers.
  • Teeth and gums.
  • Varicose veins.
  • Vaginal discharge.

What are 4 signs of serious complications during pregnancy? ›

If any of the following signs occur, the woman should be taken immediately to the hospital or health centre.
  • vaginal bleeding.
  • convulsions/fits.
  • severe headaches with blurred vision.
  • fever and too weak to get out of bed.
  • severe abdominal pain.
  • fast or difficult breathing.

What are pregnant needs and concerns? ›

Eat breakfast every day. Eat foods high in fiber, and drink fluids (particularly water) to avoid constipation. Avoid alcohol, raw or undercooked fish, fish high in mercury, undercooked meat and poultry, and soft cheeses. Do moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 150 minutes a week during your pregnancy.

What are 10 serious complications of pregnancy? ›

Some examples of health conditions or diseases that may cause complications during pregnancy are:
  • Diabetes.
  • Cancer.
  • High blood pressure. ...
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Kidney problems.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Anemia.
Nov 14, 2022

What is the most critical in pregnancy? ›

The first trimester is the most crucial to your baby's development. During this period, your baby's body structure and organ systems develop. Most miscarriages and birth defects occur during this period.

What are 6 danger signs in pregnancy? ›

Download the Urgent Maternal Warning Signs poster.
  • Headache that won't go away or gets worse over time.
  • Dizziness or Fainting.
  • Changes in your vision.
  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher.
  • Extreme swelling of your hands or face.
  • Thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Chest pain or fast-beating heart.

What are five high risk pregnancy? ›

High blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, thyroid disease, heart or blood disorders, poorly controlled asthma, and infections can increase pregnancy risks. Pregnancy complications. Various complications that develop during pregnancy can pose risks.

What are 5 common illness during pregnancy? ›

During pregnancy, some common infections that may occur are influenza, vaginal yeast infections, eczema, herpes, uterine infections, group B streptococcus (GBS), bacterial vaginosis (BV), and listeria.

What are the red flags of pregnancy? ›

They include occasional headaches, dizziness, fatigue, sudden mood changes, sleep disturbances, nasal congestion, slight nosebleeds and gum bleeding, nausea, vomiting, heartburn ('acidity'), indigestion, pica (craving for non-food items like dirt or clay), slight shortness of breath, breast tenderness, skin ...

What age is high-risk pregnancy? ›

If you're 35 years old or older and pregnant, you're considered to be of advanced maternal age, or AMA. This can put your pregnancy in the high-risk category for a number of reasons, including an increased risk of complications for you and your baby.

Why is week 10 of pregnancy the worst? ›

Your nausea and vomiting may be worse than ever: Morning sickness peaks around 9 or 10 weeks of pregnancy for many women. That's when levels of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are highest (morning sickness is thought to be linked to rises in hCG and estrogen).

What are the 7 most common concerns during pregnancy? ›

Some common complications of pregnancy include, but are not limited to, the following.
  • High Blood Pressure. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, occurs when arteries carrying blood from the heart to the body organs are narrowed. ...
  • Gestational Diabetes. ...
  • Infections. ...
  • Preeclampsia. ...
  • Preterm Labor. ...
  • Depression & Anxiety.
Apr 20, 2021

What are 3 things to avoid while pregnant? ›

However, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces (168 grams) a week.
  • Avoid raw, undercooked or contaminated seafood. To avoid harmful bacteria or viruses in seafood:
  • Avoid undercooked meat, poultry and eggs. ...
  • Avoid unpasteurized foods. ...
  • Avoid excess caffeine.

What can accidentally cause a miscarriage? ›

Certain uterine conditions or weak cervical tissues (incompetent cervix) might increase the risk of miscarriage. Smoking, alcohol and illicit drugs. Women who smoke during pregnancy have a greater risk of miscarriage than do nonsmokers. Heavy alcohol use and illicit drug use also increase the risk of miscarriage.

What is a high-risk pregnancy examples? ›

A woman's pregnancy might be considered high risk if she:
  • is age 17 or younger.
  • is age 35 or older.
  • was underweight or overweight before becoming pregnant.
  • is pregnant with twins, triplets, or other multiples.
  • has high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, or another health problem.

What percentage of pregnancies are high risk? ›

For the vast majority of women, pregnancy follows a routine course. Some women, however, have medical difficulties related to their health or the health of their baby. These women experience what is called a high-risk pregnancy. High-risk complications occur in only 6 percent to 8 percent of all pregnancies.

Who is most at risk for pregnancy complications? ›

A teenage mother. A woman older than 40. A woman with high blood pressure, diabetes, and/or kidney disease before she became pregnant. A woman who is obese with a BMI greater than 30.

What week is the hardest in pregnancy? ›

What pregnancy trimester is the hardest? For many women, the first trimester of pregnancy is often the hardest. During this period, your body is going through a major transformation and needs time to adjust to the changes.

What week is the highest risk of miscarriage? ›

Most miscarriages - 8 out of 10 (80 percent) - happen in the first trimester before the 12th week of pregnancy. Miscarriage in the second trimester (between 13 and 19 weeks) happens in 1 to 5 in 100 (1 to 5 percent) pregnancies. Pregnancy loss that happens after 20 weeks is called stillbirth.

When does miscarriage risk drop? ›

More than 80% of miscarriages occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. After 12 weeks, the rate decreases rapidly (Dante et al, 2013; Houry and Salhy, 2014).

When does preeclampsia start? ›

Pre-eclampsia is a condition that affects some pregnant women, usually during the second half of pregnancy (from 20 weeks) or soon after their baby is delivered.

How do you know if you're overdoing it while pregnant? ›

Whatever activity doing and whatever stage of your pregnancy you are at, stop straight away and see your doctor or midwife if: you are having trouble catching your breath. you feel dizzy. you have chest pain.

How do you know if something is wrong during pregnancy? ›

changes to your vision, flashing lights or blurry eyesight, which are signs of pre-eclampsia. sudden, severe swelling in your hands, feet or face. an extreme itchiness of your skin, including hands and feet. a large amount of swelling in your legs (which is also painful)

What does 5 5 mean in pregnancy? ›

5/5. This is the least engaged position; your baby's head is sitting above the pelvic brim. 4/5. Baby's head is just beginning to enter into the pelvis, but only the very top or back of the head can be felt by your doctor or midwife.

How many ultrasounds are high-risk pregnancy? ›

You will have at least two ultrasounds during your early and middle pregnancy, and in the later parts of your high-risk pregnancy, you may have ultrasounds as often as once a week based on your health needs and situation.

Can stress cause high-risk pregnancy? ›

High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems, like high blood pressure and heart disease. During pregnancy, stress can increase the chances of having a baby who is preterm (born before 37 weeks of pregnancy) or a low-birthweight baby (weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces).

What are 10 minor disorders of pregnancy? ›

12.1 Digestive and food-related disorders
  • 12.1. 1 Nausea, vomiting and hyperemesis gravidarum. ...
  • 12.1. 2 Food dislikes and food cravings. ...
  • 12.1. 3 Heartburn. ...
  • 12.1. 4 Constipation. ...
  • 12.2. 1 Varicosities (varicose veins) ...
  • 12.2. 2 Haemorrhoids (piles) ...
  • 12.3. 2 Joint pain. ...
  • 12.3. 3 Leg cramps.

How can I protect my unborn child? ›

Commit to Healthy Choices to Help Prevent Birth Defects
  1. Plan ahead. Get 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. ...
  2. Avoid harmful substances. Avoid alcohol at any time during pregnancy. ...
  3. Choose a healthy lifestyle. Keep diabetes under control. ...
  4. Talk with your healthcare provider.

What causes problems in pregnancy? ›

Health issues, such as chronic diseases, in the mother that can also increase risk for pregnancy loss include: Chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) Problems with the immune system, such as an autoimmune disorder.

What is quickening? ›

Quickening is when a pregnant person starts to feel their baby's movement in their uterus (womb). It feels like flutters, bubbles or tiny pulses. Quickening happens around 16 to 20 weeks in pregnancy, but some people may feel it sooner or later. Appointments 216.444.6601. Request an Appointment.

What causes preeclampsia? ›

Pre-eclampsia is thought to be caused by the placenta not developing properly due to a problem with the blood vessels supplying it.

Can you wipe your bum after giving birth? ›

Keep the anus clean by wiping carefully after each bowel movement. Gently wipe from the front to the back. Baby wipes or hemorrhoid pads are usually more gentle than toilet paper. If you use toilet paper, use only soft, undyed, unscented toilet paper.

What week is baby gender developed? ›

Boys' and girls' genitals develop along the same path with no outward sign of gender until about nine weeks. It's at that point that the genital tubercle begins to develop into a penis or clitoris. However, it's not until 14 or 15 weeks that you can clearly begin to see the differentiated genitalia.

How easy is it to miscarry at 10 weeks? ›

The risk of miscarriage drops significantly as pregnancy progresses. In one study, researchers found a miscarriage rate of 9.4 percent at 6 weeks of pregnancy, 4.2 percent at 7 weeks, 1.5 percent at 8 weeks, 0.5 percent at 9 weeks and 0.7 percent at 10 weeks.

What does 3 months pregnant belly feel like? ›

A small baby bump will be visible. Breasts will also swell up. You might notice pregnancy glow or skin pigment changes, such as a dark line on the abdomen or dark patches on the face. You may notice light stretch marks on the stomach area and breasts due to the skin stretching during pregnancy.

What are the six things a pregnant woman needs more of? ›

During pregnancy you need folic acid, iron, calcium, vitamin D, choline, omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, and vitamin C. See the below table for recommended amounts. Fortified cereal, enriched bread and pasta, peanuts, dark green leafy vegetables, orange juice, beans.

How many pregnancies are healthy? ›

Most pregnancies progress without incident. But approximately 8 percent of all pregnancies involve complications that, if left untreated, may harm the mother or the baby. While some complications relate to health problems that existed before pregnancy, others occur unexpectedly and are unavoidable.

When should I stop bending during pregnancy? ›

Even in your third trimester of pregnancy, bending is still considered safe for your baby. You'll probably find it becomes increasingly difficult for you, though, if not impossible. Apart from your extra body weight, the size of your belly is increasing.

What bad habits should I stop during pregnancy? ›

Drugs, alcohol and cigarettes– All three of these bad habits have proven to cause birth defects, developmental impairment and health issues for baby and mom. Even partaking in alcohol just once can have dire consequences.

Which sleeping position can cause miscarriage? ›

Many physicians advise pregnant women to sleep on their left side. Previous studies have linked back and right-side sleeping with a higher risk of stillbirth, reduced fetal growth, low birth weight, and preeclampsia, a life-threatening high blood pressure disorder that affects the mother.

What should I avoid at 6 weeks pregnant? ›

Do not eat raw or undercooked meat, chicken, or fish (such as sushi or raw oysters). Do not eat raw eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, such as Caesar dressing. Do not eat raw sprouts, especially alfalfa sprouts. Do not eat soft cheeses and unpasteurized dairy foods, such as Brie, feta, or blue cheese.

What are signs of miscarriage at 6 weeks? ›

What are the symptoms of early miscarriage?
  • Bleeding – light bleeding early in pregnancy is fairly common, and does not mean you will have a miscarriage. ...
  • Passage of tissue through the vagina.
  • A gush of clear or pink vaginal fluid.
  • Abdominal pain or cramping.

What are common pregnancy stressors? ›

What causes stress during pregnancy?
  • Dealing with the discomforts of pregnancy, like morning sickness, constipation, being tired or having a backache.
  • Changes in your hormones, which can cause your mood to change. ...
  • Feeling worried about what to expect during labor and birth or how to take care of your baby.

What are three high-risk pregnancies? ›

Risk factors for a high-risk pregnancy can include: Existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or being HIV-positive. Overweight and obesity. Obesity increases the risk for high blood pressure, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth, neural tube defects, and cesarean delivery.

What is Type C pregnancy? ›

Category C

Animal reproduction studies have shown an adverse effect on the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled studies in humans, but potential benefits may warrant use of the drug in pregnant women despite potential risks.


1. Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy - Common Pregnancy Concerns
(Mayo Clinic)
2. 8 Common Pregnancy Complications to Watch Out For
(FirstCry Parenting)
3. The surprising effects of pregnancy
4. Common GI Problems During Pregnancy. Discussed by Dr. Stefka at Lahey Medical Center, Peabody.
(Lahey Hospital & Medical Center)
5. Pregnancy Complications Explained | Pregnancy Complications | Pregnancy Explained
(Neelkanth Hospitals: Best IVF Clinic)
6. Sleeping Problems During Pregnancy – Reasons & Solutions
(FirstCry Parenting)


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