STORIES 5 Pregnancy Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore For some, pregnancy can unearth some unpleasant side effects. Most of the time they are completely normal and part-and-parcel of being pregnant. Occasionally, they are warning signs that can indicate a potential problem. It's always good to know what to look out for, so here are 5 symptoms you should never ignore. ITCHING According to UK charity ICP Support, around 20% of women itch during pregnancy. Most of the time the itching is caused by your skin stretching as baby grows. However, if you have persistent itching, usually on the hands and feet, then you need to call your midwife. Itching can be an indicator of a condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, also called Obstetric Cholestasis. ICP is a liver condition specific to pregnancy which affects around 5,500 women in the UK each year. Most women with ICP also say that the itching tends to be worse at night. PERSISTENT HEADACHES, VISUAL DISTURBANCES AND EXCESSIVE SWELLING Due to hormone changes during pregnancy, headaches aren't uncommon. However, if you are experiencing persistent headaches, especially if they aren't helped by paracetamol, it's time to speak to a midwife. Bad headaches, along with visual disturbances and excessive swelling are common symptoms of a condition called Pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia is a disorder of blood pressure in pregnancy. Many cases are mild, but the condition can lead to complications if left untreated. If you have any of the symptoms, always discuss them with a midwife. SEVERE VOMITING In the first trimester, most women experience sickness. Sadly, some women suffer with sickness to a debilitating degree. The sickness can be so severe that it's impossible to keep even fluids down. This is a condition called Hyperemesis Gravidarum and sufferers often need hospital treatment. If you experience excessive nausea and vomiting, don't suffer in silence, let your hospital know. YOUR BABY'S MOVEMENT PATTERN CHANGES/REDUCES Your baby moving is a magical experience and something most women never forget. It's also a key indicator or your baby's wellbeing. If there is anything that "doesn't seem quite right" you should discuss it with your midwife or maternity unit. Most babies are found to be just fine! Sometimes, though, the baby is found to be conserving energy while in distress. Remember, never use a home doppler to reassure yourself, speak to your Maternity Unit, they are open 24/7. VAGINAL BLEEDING OR SPOTTING Early on in your pregnancy, it can be normal to find you're spotting. This is usually an implantation bleed. Conditions such as placenta previa or infections can also be a cause of bleeding. If you experience bleeding, especially with stomach pain too, it's important to speak to a midwife. Most of the time, the above symptoms are found to be nothing to worry about. Regardless, it's important to make that call if you experience any. If you're in doubt, trust your instincts, you're never wasting anyone's time.