When to call a health care professional during weeks 1 to

It's normal to have fears and worries about the physical changes you're experiencing with your pregnancy. Things aren't always clear-cut. Is a little spotting normal for early pregnancy, or is it a sign of an early miscarriage? Is a nagging headache just the result of increased blood circulation, or is it something more serious? It can be difficult to tell when you should grin and bear it and when you should take action. If this is your first pregnancy, you may be even more uncertain.

In making these judgments, look to your doctor, nurse-midwife or other health care provider as your primary resource. When you have your first office visit, ask for a list of the signs and symptoms he or she wants to hear about right away. That will give you a good idea of what your health care provider considers to be an emergency.

The bottom line? When in doubt, call. It's better to be safe than sorry.

This month, you may also be interested in:

• "Decision guide: Choosing your health care provider for pregnancy," page 277

• "Complications: Maternal health problems and pregnancy," page 507

When to call

Here's a guide to possibly troublesome signs and symptoms and when you should notify your health care provider in the first month.

Signs or symptoms

When to tell your health care provider

Signs or symptoms

When to tell your health care provider

Vaginal bleeding or spotting

Slight spotting that goes away within a day

Next visit

Any spotting or bleeding lasting longer than a day

Within 24 hours

Moderate to heavy bleeding

Immediately

Any amount of bleeding accompanied by pain, cramping, fever or chills

Immediately

Passing of tissue

Immediately

Pain

Occasional pulling, twinging or pinching sensation on one or both sides of your abdomen

Next visit

Occasional mild headaches

Next visit

A moderate, bothersome headache that doesn't go away after treatment with acetaminophen (Tylenol, others)

Within 24 hours

A severe or persistent headache, especially with dizziness, faintness, nausea or vomiting, or visual disturbances

Immediately

Moderate or severe pelvic pain

Immediately

Any degree of pelvic pain that doesn't subside within four hours

Immediately

Pain with fever or bleeding

Immediately

Vomiting

Occasional

Next visit

Once every day

Next visit

More than three times a day or with inability to eat or drink between vomiting episodes

Within 24 hours

With pain or fever

Immediately

Other

Chills or fever (102 F or higher)

Immediately

Painful urination

Same day

Increased frequency of urination

Next visit

Inability to urinate

Same day

Mild constipation

Next visit

Severe constipation, no bowel movement for three days

The Complete Compendium Of Everything Related To Health And Wellness

The Complete Compendium Of Everything Related To Health And Wellness

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