What could be causing unusual weight gain and swelling during pregnancy? A doctor answers

If you are experiencing symptoms like persistent abdomen pain, severe headache, changes in eyesight, unusual weight gain, among others, see a doctor at the earliest.




By Dr Alka Kriplani

The constant buzz about social distancing and stay-at-home has been keeping us worried about stepping out from the home and visiting a doctor. The fear doubles when you are expecting, because nobody wants to harm their child. But there are certain symptoms that can be life-threatening for both mother and the child, for which she needs to visit a doctor immediately. Even the recent guidelines from the World Health Organization suggested pregnant mother to continue their regular check-ups in the unlock situation.

One should not fret over visiting the hospital because most of the hospitals are taking extra precaution in their premises as per as the checklist suggested by the various health bodies. So, it’s completely safe to visit hospital if you are experiencing symptoms like persistent
abdomen pain, severe headache, changes in eyesight, unusual weight gain, among others. Some of these symptoms may be normal symptoms of pregnancy, but they may also be signs of something more serious, so visit your gynecologist.

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Here are the lists of few conditions, which you should not take lightly:

Persistent abdominal pain: Discomfort associated with round ligament pain, for example, may be perfectly normal, but abdominal pain, with early pregnancy and fainting attacks, may be a sign that there’s something wrong.

Severe headache: Headaches during pregnancy can be caused by many factors, including hormonal changes, stress, and fatigue, but if headache feels severe, it may be a sign of high blood pressure or the high blood pressure disorder called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a
serious condition that requires medical treatment to protect mother’s health and the health of her baby.

Changes in eyesight: Changes in vision, such as temporary loss of vision, blurred vision, or light sensitivity, may be linked to complications like gestational hypertension or preeclampsia.

Fainting or dizziness: Feeling lightheaded can be a normal symptom of early pregnancy. You might also feel dizzy later during pregnancy due to things like circulation problems or low blood sugar levels. But, if this feeling of dizziness persists, if you feel faint or actually do faint, or if your dizziness is combined with other symptoms like blurred vision, vaginal bleeding, headaches, or pain in your abdomen, consult your doctor so that a cause can be identified and treated.

Unusual weight gain and swelling or puffiness: Sudden, large weight gain is linked to the possibility of preeclampsia. You may notice this weight gain is combined with swelling of the face and hands.

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Burning sensation while you urinate: If you feel an increased urge to pee, but find only a few drops come out, or if you have a burning sensation while you urinate, it may be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Other symptoms of a UTI can include fever, chills, or blood-tinged urine. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your symptoms and treat the bacterial infection to avoid complications.

Severe pain above the stomach, under the rib cage: This pain (especially if it’s combined with other symptoms like blurred vision, severe headaches, or nausea) may be a sign of high blood pressure and an associated condition called preeclampsia. Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure during prenatal visits, but if you notice any of the signs of preeclampsia, then contact your doctor right away.

Vaginal bleeding: Early on in the pregnancy, it can be normal to experience spotting that’s known as implantation bleeding, but bleeding could be due to placenta praevia or a cervical lesions. If in doubt, tell your doctor if you notice any spotting or bleeding during your pregnancy.

(The writer is the Director & Head, Centre for Minimally Invasive Gynecology, Obstetrics & ART, Paras Hospital)

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