9 Subtle, Early Signs Of Birth Complications That You Shouldn't Ignore

There's a lot going on in your body when you're pregnant. After all, you're creating and nurturing a whole new human being (or beings) who will soon brave the outside world. As you progress through your pregnancy, things continue to change. Most of what happens will likely be completely normal and nothing to worry about. There are, however, some subtle, early signs of birth complications that you shouldn't ignore.

Many of these signs aren't all that unusual in pregnant women, making them even more likely to be overlooked. Additionally, some of these signs may appear earlier in the pregnancy experieince, while while others can happen at any time over the nine plus months. Unfortunately, because they can be signs of potentially serious complications, you want to make sure to take note if something feels even slightly wrong. If you're concerned about any symptoms or changes during any stage of pregnancy, however, be sure to reach out to your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to determine if something might be wrong and more evaluation is needed or if everything is A-OK.

To give you a little more specific guidance, however, here are a handful of early signs of birth complications that warrant your attention.



If you experience any bleeding during your pregnancy, notify your doctor right away. OB-GYN Dr. Rodolfo Saenz tells Romper that your physician will likely be concerned about placenta previa, the potential for pre-term labor, or placental abruption, all of which are very serious.

2Pain Of Any Kind


For many women, pregnancy isn't exactly comfortable, but if you're feeling pain of any kind, anywhere, it's worth mentioning to your doctor. It might be nothing or it could be totally unrelated to pregnancy, but tell them anyway. "We always worry about pregnancy that’s not in the uterus, it’s in the fallopian tubes," Dr. Alison Zimon, a board-certified OB-GYN and reproductive endocrinologist tells Romper. "That’s called an ectopic pregnancy, so, it would be really important for patients to know that if they have pelvic pain they should let their doctor know." It's better to be safe than sorry.

3Change In Baby's Movement


Kick counts can measure a baby's movements and help reassure Mom that things are OK. That being said, if you're worried about a change in fetal movement, tell your doctor. "It could be that the baby’s not growing well and with bedrest or with extra monitoring or evaluation or even early delivery, we could make sure baby stays healthy and that’s why doctors want to know earlier rather than later," Zimon says.

4Unexpected Or Unexplainable Weight Gain


It's unlikely that many pregnant women would see weight gain as a potential symptom of a problem. But Zimon says rapid or unexplained weight loss that doesn't seem to stem from what you're eating could be a sign that something's amiss. It could be a sign of a blood pressure issue, so inform your doctor right away.

5Swelling Of Arms And Legs


Like rapid weight gain, swelling of the arms and legs can be linked to preeclampsia, Zimon says. If you notice that your body is retaining water, talk to your doctor.

6Calf Pain


Pregnant women are at higher risk for blood clots than non-pregnant women and calf pain, especially paired with swelling of the leg, can be a sign that there's a blood clot present. "Maybe it’s muscle strain, maybe it’s those cramps you get at night that are very common for women when they're pregnant, but if it persists and there’s swelling associated with it, let your doctor know and they’ll rule out blood clots in the legs," Zimon says. "Checking in on those earlier can really save a woman from having a blood clot leave the leg and go into a lung which is called pulmonary embolism, which is very dangerous."

7Increased Thirst And Increased Urination


Wait, what? That sounds like a normal thing during pregnancy. It is, and that's the issue. It can be hard to detect that your thirst level has increased or that you're peeing more often since you're likely doing that by virtue of being a pregnant lady. According to Zimon, however, these can also be signs of pregnancy-induced diabetes. It's important to address and treat this complication as soon as possible, so if you feel like your habits are abnormal, tell your doctor at your next check-up (or even sooner).

8Facial Swelling Or Headaches


Your headaches might get worse in the second trimester or you might get them more frequently. According to Saenz, if taking a safer medication such as Tylenol doesn't help alleviate the pain, talk to your doctor right away. Facial swelling can also be a concern, like swelling in the rest of your body.

9Symptoms You Can't Explain


There are just some things that happen and you can't figure out what caused them. If it happens while you're pregnant it's a good idea to give your doctor a heads-up. "Pain in the belly, headaches, those are things that could be a number of problems and in general [during] pregnancy, you’re at risk for some other medical issues, so don’t hesitate, anything that’s significant and doesn't go away and persists, that would be good to check with the doctor," Zimon says. Symptoms that might normally seem like no big deal can be a sign of more serious issues while you're pregnant, so leave it up to your doctor to sort out if it's problematic or not. Even if it isn't, you'll have some peace of mind knowing that you spoke up.