When to Call the Doctor During Pregnancy

It's normal to have anxiety during your pregnancy about the physical changes you're experiencing.

So many of these sensations during pregnancy can seem ambiguous:

Is light spotting during early pregnancy normal, or is it a sign of an early miscarriage?

Is a nagging headache just from stress, or is it something more serious?

How can you tell the difference between what is normal during pregnancy and when you should take action?

Is my weight gain during pregnancy normal, or is it due to OHSS during pregnancy?

Symptoms During Pregnancy

When to Call the Doctor?

Vaginal Bleeding or Spotting During Pregnancy


Slight spotting that goes away within a day

Next visit

Any spotting or bleeding that lasts more than a day

Same day

Moderate to heavy bleeding during pregnancy


Any amount of bleeding during pregnancy accompanied by pain, fever, or chills


Pain During Pregnancy


Occasional pulling, twinging, or pinching sensation on one or both sides of the abdomen

Next visit

Occasional mild headaches

Next visit

Moderate, bothersome headache that won't go away

Same day

Severe or persistent headache, especially with dizziness, faintness, or visual disturbances


Moderate or severe pelvic pain


Any degree of pelvic pain that doesn't subside


Pain with fever or bleeding


Vomiting During Pregnancy



Next visit

Once every day

Next visit

More than two or three times a day


With pain or fever


Other Symptoms During Pregnancy


Chills or fever (temperature of 102 degrees Fahrenheit/38.8 Celsius or higher)


Painful urination


Steady or heavy discharge of watery fluid from the vagina


Sudden swelling of face, hands, or feet


Visual disturbances (dimness, blurring)


In making these judgments, your doctor is your primary resource.

At your very first visit, ask for a list of the symptoms that she or he wants to hear about right away. Then you'll have an idea of what your doctor considers an emergency.

If you're still unsure about other symptoms, you can rely on the other care providers in your doctor's office.

At your office visits, learn the names of the nurses, nurse-practitioners, physician assistants (PAs), and other staff you see most often.

Then, if something comes up that has you worried, you can ask for someone by name or by title. The staff will know from your symptoms whether to consult your doctor.

The bottom line, though, is this:

When in doubt, call your doctor.

It's better to have a needless worry eased than to have a real source of concern ignored out of embarrassment or fear.



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