Pregnancy Symptoms: Seeking Medical Care

If a woman suspects that she is pregnant or has a positive home pregnancy test, she should make an appointment with a health care provider, which could be a doctor, an obstetrician (women's health specialist), a midwife, or a nurse practitioner. Early care (prenatal care) is essential for a healthy pregnancy.

A woman who is pregnant should call her health care provider if any of the following conditions develop:

Labor or rupture of membranes (leaking fluid)

Abdominal or vaginal pain

Bright red vaginal bleeding

Vomiting more than three times a day or vomiting blood

Severely elevated blood pressure (above 140/90)

Sudden and rapid weight gain

Severe headache or changes in vision

Severe leg or chest pain

Seek care in a hospital's emergency department if pregnant and experiencing any of these conditions:


Vaginal bleeding through more than one pad per hour

Having severe pain in the abdomen or shoulder or the sensation of being about to pass out

Passing pink, gray, or white material from the vagina that does not look like a blood clot (The woman who is pregnant should take the material to the hospital.)

Having a bloody discharge or gush of water from the vagina late in pregnancy (The woman who is pregnant may be going into labor.)

Having a seizure but without a history of epilepsy (This may indicate eclampsia, a complication of pregnancy.)

Having an injury, such as a fall, a blow to the stomach or pelvis, or a car accident

Lower abdominal pain late in pregnancy may be labor pains, which are contractions of the uterus. The woman may try to drink a quart of water, lie on her side, and see if the symptoms resolve over two hours. If the symptoms do not resolve, she should see a doctor.