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It's natural for expectant mothers to worry whether they’re having a "perfect" pregnancy. And most pregnancies go smoothly.

However, there are some things to look out for during pregnancy. Depending on the condition, medical help should be sought immediately or as soon as possible.

In the first 12 weeks:


If any of these signs or symptoms occur, you should consult your doctor:
  • Vaginal bleeding: Light spotting or bleeding early in the pregnancy may be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (where the foetus is outside the womb).
  • Severe vomiting: If you are throwing up so badly that you cannot keep any food or drinks down. He may prescribe medication, or admit you to the hospital if you are severely dehydrated.
See your doctor immediately if you are suffering from:
  • Abdominal pain: Severe abdominal pain may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy and could be life threatening.

From 13 – 24 weeks:


Tell your doctor if you have:
  • ​Vaginal discharge: This is common during pregnancy because of hormonal changes. If there is an excessively large amount or if it changes in texture, colour and smell, tell your doctor.
See your doctor immediately for:
  • ​Vaginal bleeding: This could be due to a late miscarriage.

From 25 – 37 weeks:


See your doctor for:
  • Headache and swelling of limbs: If these are severe or associated with dizziness, vomiting, blurred vision or upper abdominal pain, it could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, which is dangerous if left unchecked. Attend your antenatal appointments faithfully and complete your blood pressure and urine assessment each time.
Go to the hospital as soon as possible for:
  • Abdominal pain: Regular, painful and persistent uterine contractions or tightening of the abdomen can be a sign of pre-term labour.
Go to the hospital immediately for:
  • Vaginal bleeding: If you spot blood stained mucus before you are due, this could be “show” – a mucus plug that is dislodged from the neck of the womb when it begins to dilate. If it is accompanied by painful contractions, you may be in pre-term labour! You will also need immediate attention if there is bright red bleeding (like menses). Potentially serious, this could be due to low placental placement or premature placental separation.
  • Reduced foetal movement: If you feel that your baby is moving less than usual, monitor your baby’s movement for a while. If you are worried, see your doctor or go to the hospital immediately.
  • Leaking of water: It could be a continuous flow or a sudden gush of clear fluid from the vagina. If you are not certain if your water bag is leaking, consult your doctor immediately, as you are at risk of infection and going into labour.
Knowing what to expect when you are expecting will not only ease your mind, it can also help ensure a safe pregnancy for you and your child.

Adapted from the booklet "Care for Your Pregnancy and Newborn”, courtesy of Singapore General Hospital.