Physical Health English

What’s normal during pregnancy – and when should I go to the clinic?

Many mothers are worried about their pregnancies and COVID-19. Here is some information about what is normal for pregnancy, what could be due to anxiety or a cold, what could be a pregnancy complication and what could be symptoms of COVID-19.

  • Heart palpitations: these are usually from a lot of stress and worry or could be due to a fever causing your heart to beat faster. If you do not have a fever, this is probably not COVID-19.
  • Shortness of breath: in pregnancy, your womb grows bigger and can make you feel a little short of breath. Sometimes if your red blood cell levels are low, this can also make you breathless. But, if your breathing is very fast and you are struggling to breathe, this could be caused by an infection – and you need to get medical attention urgently.
  • Blocked nose, stuffy, heavy feeling in the head: these are signs of a ‘cold’ or hayfever and are not common with COVID-19. You can take paracetamol to relieve symptoms
  • Headaches: in pregnancy, many women have headaches. They do not need to go to a clinic if the headache gets better if they drink fluids and take simple painkillers (paracetamol). But, headaches that don’t go away or are severe, can mean there is a serious problem like high blood pressure or COVID 19 (if also have fever and cough). You should go to the clinic immediately, and inform the nurse when you arrive, if the headache does not go away, is severe or comes with swelling of the hands or face, lights flashing in front of the eyes, painful belly, or you know you have a high blood pressure condition, or fever.

Contact your maternity unit if:

  • you have any bleeding from your vagina
  • you have pain in your belly
  • the baby is not moving as much as usual

None of these is likely to be caused by COVID-19. When you go to the clinic, wear a cloth mask, go straight to the person who is organising the screening when you arrive. Difficulty breathing is an emergency, and you or your relative should phone the clinic or hotline to see if you need to call an ambulance to take you to hospital.

If you are not sure what a symptom means, or are unsure how urgent it is, phone your clinic or the hotline (0800 029 999) for advice.

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