Worried? When to Contact your Health Professional

Your body has a great deal to do during pregnancy. Sometimes the changes taking place will cause irritation or discomfort, and on occasions they may seem quite alarming.

There is rarely any need for concern but you should mention anything that is worrying you to your doctor or midwife.

Pregnancy experiences that may be of concern

Contact Birthing, or your CMP or CatCH midwife, if you're experiencing any of the following:

All vaginal bleeding

The possible reasons are:

  • Threatened or complete miscarriage - when bleeding occurs prior to 20 weeks. Although nature will take its own course it is advisable after any bleeding, to refrain from heavy lifting and sexual intercourse for a week.
  • After intercourse - It is not unusual for some women to experience blood 'spotting' after intercourse. This bleeding usually comes form the cervix when it is touched during lovemaking. After being checked you should refrain from intercourse for a few days. When you resume experiment with positions that avoid deep penetration.
  • Placenta- Occasionally bleeding comes from the placenta which may be lying close to the opening of your uterus (cervix). This needs immediate investigation usually an ultrasound.

Leak or gush of fluid

The possible reasons are:

  • Urine - You may wet yourself when you sneeze, laugh or in your sleep. This may indicate a need to increase your Pelvic Floor Exercises (PFE) and may necessitate referral to a physiotherapist. Ask a Midwife if you are not sure what PFE are. Also ask your Midwife to confirm that you are doing them correctly.
  • Heavy vaginal discharge - In pregnancy your vaginal secretions may get much heavier than usual and it is not uncommon that women need to wear pads.
  • Waters around the baby have broken. This fluid tends to have a sweet smell. If you are unsure whether it’s urine, vaginal discharge or your waters have broken, put on a pad and call your Midwife.

Swelling of hands, ankles and feet

During pregnancy it is common to retain fluid particularly at the end of a busy day and during warmer weather. Dramatic increase in swelling may indicate blood pressure problems so we need to know about this as soon as possible.

All severe headaches or blurred vision

This can be a symptom associated with a condition known as pre-eclampsia (blood pressure problems). Contact the midwives immediately. Do not drive.

Contractions before 37 weeks of pregnancy

  • After 20 weeks of pregnancy it is common to experience occasional hardening of the abdomen called Braxton-Hicks contractions. Although these may feel uncomfortable they are generally not painful.

Period-like pain, lower back pain and or painful contractions that come and go regularly may indicate premature labour starting. The earlier you are admitted to hospital, the better chance of stopping a premature labour.

Decrease in baby movements

You will have noticed that your baby has active phases and quiet (sleep) phases during the day and night. If you feel at any time your baby is not well or not moving as you would expect it to, eat and drink something then sit quietly and concentrate on your baby. If after this you are concerned call your midwife.

Severe pelvic or abdominal (tummy) pain

If you experience a fall, minor car accident or sudden pain in your abdomen, call your midwife so she may evaluate the need for you to be assessed.

If you are less than 20 weeks pregnant and have any concerns, please contact your GP or present to the Emergency Department for care.

Contact us

Birthing Suite

Phone (02) 6174 7444 (24-hour service)

Antenatal Clinic

Phone (02) 6174 7625 (Monday - Friday business hours service only)

Canberra Midwifery Program

Phone (02) 6174 7341

CatCH Program

Phone (02) 6174 7341

Contact phone numbers are available on the back of your Maternity Record booklet.