Dr Zoe reveals the 13 warning signs all mums-to-be should watch out for

EXPECTING a baby can be scary, especially when it’s your first time.

But Britain has some of the best maternity services, making this one of the safest places in the world to be pregnant and have your baby.

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However, sometimes bad things happen and mistakes are made. In these cases it is right that investigations are launched and vital that lessons are learned.

The Care Quality Commission finding that 38 per cent of maternity services were “not safe enough” is a huge worry.

Factor in the pandemic and it might seem natural to feel scared. But there are ways to manage that fear.

Mums-to-be can learn and get to understand the signs that could indicate something is wrong.

Make sure you attend every appointment scheduled with your doctor and midwife.

As part of its Help Us Help You campaign, the NHS is urging pregnant women to turn up to all appointments, amid concerns some are avoiding them for fear of catching Covid-19.

But the risks from missed appointments are much higher than any risk of catching coronavirus.

The hope is that every mum will have a straightforward pregnancy and a safe delivery. But some women will experience complications.

Things such as gestational diabetes are common and require treatment to keep mother and baby safe.

We also know pregnant women can be more susceptible to stress, so regular contact with your midwife is important to maintain good mental health.


They can advise on what supplements to take, remind you of the importance of continuing to exercise – and everything in between.

They will ask you about physical symptoms, check if you have had swelling or headaches and how you are coping emotionally.

Women are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse while pregnant, plus they are more isolated from colleagues and friends, especially in this strange year.

These appointments offer a chance for healthcare professionals to check in – another reason they are so important.

Mums experience so much physical and mental change, it can be hard to know what is normal and what isn’t.

In many cases, symptoms are easily treated and won’t be a sign of serious complications.

Women can be made to feel neurotic, like they are worrying for no reason.

But sometimes they are evidence of something more serious, which is why mums-to-be should always check.

The important thing is to make sure women feel they have the knowledge to understand what is happening and know when to ask for extra care.

If you notice any of the following symptoms, speak to your midwife or GP without delay:

  1. Stomach pain or cramps
  2. Bleeding
  3. Your baby is not moving as much as normal
  4. Vaginal discharge
  5. Severe itching
  6. Diarrhoea and vomiting
  7. Headaches
  8. A feeling of impending doom or that something just     isn’t right
  9. Swollen hands and feet
  10. Vision problems
  11. High temperature
  12. Your baby doesn’t appear to be growing
  13. Pain when you pee

As with lots of health conditions, the earlier any complications are picked up, the more likely they can be safely managed. In some cases, you will simply be monitored more closely by your midwife.

Or you might be put under the care of an obstetrician – a doctor who can work with your midwife to make sure you get the right care.

If women skip appointments, it could mean missing out on this important additional care.

Most complications can be safely managed, so mums-to-be should not be frightened to seek help. Please do not bury your head in the sand.

Women can be made to feel neurotic, like they are worrying for no reason. That is very dangerous.

All pregnant women must believe they will be listened to and their concerns taken seriously.

And they must feel empowered to seek help when they need it, for their sake and that of their unborn baby.

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