Pregnancy Health (cont.)

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Pregnancy Causes

Pregnancy occurs with the fertilization of a woman's egg by a man's sperm. Fertility drugs may improve a woman's odds of achieving pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of pregnancy include the following:

When to Seek Medical Care

If a woman suspects that she is pregnant or has a positive home pregnancy test, she should make an appointment with a health care professional, which could be a doctor, an obstetrician (women's health specialist), a midwife, or a nurse practitioner. Early care (prenatal care) is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

A woman who is pregnant should call her health care professional if any of the following conditions develop:

  • Labor or rupture of membranes (leaking fluid)
  • Abdominal or vaginal pain
  • Bright red vaginal bleeding
  • Vomiting more than three times a day or vomiting blood
  • Severely elevated blood pressure (above 140/90)
  • Sudden and rapid weight gain
  • Severe headache or changes in vision
  • Severe leg or chest pain

Seek care in a hospital's emergency department if pregnant and experiencing any of these conditions:

  • Fainting
  • Vaginal bleeding through more than one pad per hour
  • Having severe pain in the abdomen or shoulder or the sensation of being about to pass out
  • Passing pink, gray, or white material from the vagina that does not look like a blood clot (The woman who is pregnant should take the material to the hospital.)
  • Having a bloody discharge or gush of water from the vagina late in pregnancy (The woman who is pregnant may be going into labor.)
  • Having a seizure but without a history of epilepsy (This may indicate eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy.)
  • Having an injury, such as a fall, a blow to the stomach or pelvis, or a car accident

Lower abdominal pain late in pregnancy may be labor pains, which are contractions of the uterus. The woman may try to drink a quart of water, lie on her side, and see if the symptoms resolve over two hours. If the symptoms do not resolve, she should see a doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/9/2013

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Pregnancy - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe usual or unusual experiences you had with your pregnancy, food cravings, morning sickness, edema (etc.)
Pregnancy - Questions Question: What questions did you have for your doctor about your pregnancy?
Pregnancy - Symptoms Question: What pregnancy symptoms did you, or have you experienced?
Pregnancy - Tests Question: What tests did you take to confirm you were pregnant?
Pregnancy - Medications Question: If you have preexisting conditions that required medication, how was this managed during your pregnancy?
Pregnancy - Lifestyle Changes Question: What lifestyle changes have you made during your pregnancy?