Pregnancy Complications & Questions: When Your Regular Doctor Isn't In

Written by Sarah Thebarge, Physician Assistant

Finding out you’re pregnant can be one of the most exciting times in your life. But it can also be one of the most overwhelming, leading to a whole host of questions and potential worries. These feelings are normal, especially for first-time moms.

Most pregnancies progress without any major complications. In fact, only about 8% of pregnancies lead to incidences that, if left untreated, can be harmful to the mother or baby. Some of these health problems during pregnancy are a result of preexisting conditions, but others occur without a specific cause.

Let’s take a look at this pregnancy complications list to see what some of the most common problems are.

Preventing and Treating Problems During Pregnancy

To make pregnancy as healthy as possible for the over 6 million U.S. women who deliver babies annually, institutions like the Center for Disease Control and Prevention conduct continuous research aimed at better understanding pregnancy-related problems. Their findings: complications during pregnancy are exacerbated by health issues like diabetes and obesity before pregnancy.

Thus, if you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s important to have a conversation with your healthcare provider and take action to ensure you’re in optimal health. Then, once you become pregnant, the best thing you can do is receive regular prenatal care, since 

Outside of scheduled prenatal visits, you may experience pregnancy symptoms that leave you wondering what’s going on and whether what you’re experiencing is typical. After all, your body is undergoing several changes as you prepare to give birth to another human being!

If in doubt, get in touch with a trusted healthcare provider. While your first thought might be to make an appointment with your OB/GYN, there are times when he or she might not be able to get you in as fast as you would prefer. For cases like these, or if you’re having issues in the evening or over the weekend, an urgent care center can offer safe and efficient treatment or advice.

Urgent care practitioners are trained to help answer some of your most pressing first-trimester pregnancy questions:

Is this much nausea and vomiting normal, even for a pregnant person?

There could be several reasons for constant nausea and vomiting Thanks to hormonal fluctuations, most pregnant women experience “morning sickness” at some point during their first trimester. However, if you can’t seem to keep fluids down and are severely dehydrated, it’s possible you could have

I’m spotting... Am I having a miscarriage?

Light spotting or bleeding during pregnancy is not uncommon. If you’re experiencing heavy bleeding accompanied by cramping or abdominal pain, however, it could be a sign of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Don’t jump to any conclusions though – see a provider for an exam as soon as possible.

I have a fever while pregnant. Should I be concerned?

Temperatures over 101

What’s causing this pain when I pee?

A burning sensation or pain when you urinate is likely the result of a urinary tract infection (UTI), which is particularly common during pregnancy because of changes in your urinary tract. If left untreated, a UTI can lead to a more serious kidney infection or preterm birth.

It’s irritated down there. What should I do?

Increased vaginal discharge and irritation should be expected during pregnancy. But should these symptoms not subside, it’s possible you could have a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, or a sexually transmitted disease. Talk to your doctor about treatment based on a diagnosis.

Like many walk-in clinics, GoHealth Urgent Care offers pregnancy tests (at minimal or no cost depending on your insurance) to verify at-home test results. Additionally, we can easily arrange for an ultrasound at a nearby outpatient radiology facility or affiliate hospital should you require one.

Continuing prenatal checkups with your OB/GYN during the second and third trimesters helps ensure you and your baby are progressing normally through pregnancy. Between weeks 18 – 22, an ultrasound will be performed to measure for proper growth and assess the functioning of key organs. If your baby isn’t developing at a normal rate, he or she may be diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR).

Toward the end of the second trimester, your doctor will perform a glucose test for gestational diabetes to make certain your body reacts properly to sugar during pregnancy. You’ll also be monitored for gestational hypertension (high blood pressure), a complication that can be a precursor to a more serious condition called preeclampsia. Third-trimester screenings for protein in your urine will also help to determine whether you have preeclampsia.

Between weeks 35 – 37, you’ll receive a pregnancy strep test for Group B strep. This type of bacteria can be a threat to newborns if passed on during pregnancy, so if it’s determined you have Group B strep, you’ll be given antibiotics during labor to prevent your baby from getting it.

While screenings for certain conditions can help to diagnose or prevent some pregnancy complications, there are other complications that might appear without warning. Preterm labor can occur before 37 weeks. Statistics show that women carrying twins or multiples or who’ve had previous preterm birth are more likely to deliver early, but there are other unpredictable factors like Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) or cervical incompetence that can lead to preterm labor.

If you experience bleeding during the third trimester, it could be a sign of a rare pregnancy complication like placenta previa or placental abruption. Depending on how profuse the bleeding is and how far along you are, your doctor may choose to perform an immediate c-section or wait until your baby is more near-term.

Complications can occur during pregnancy, but they might not be as common as you think. By going to regular appointments with your OB/GYN and checking in, if necessary, with experts at urgent care centers like GoHealth Urgent Care, you can ensure you’re on the right track to doing everything you can to give your baby a healthy start in life. When you hold your little one for the first time, you’ll be really happy you prioritized taking care of both of you throughout pregnancy.

GoHealth Urgent Care partners with these regional healthcare providers: