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12 Times You Really Need to Call Your OB or Midwife

Photograph by Twenty20

Having a little human inside of me is a crazy experience.

On one hand, I’m in total awe over what my body is doing. I’m in love with this little one and think my body is pretty awesome for growing and adapting to new life. On the other hand, I’m totally freaked out. It’s weird to feel a person bumping around inside of me and the way my body reacts to pregnancy can set me down a never-ending path of worry.

Are those hiccups normal? Should I feel a pop there? Why am I short of breath? Did my baby move recently? Are my feet swollen to a normal level or swollen to the point of being problematic? Did I eat the wrong kind of cheese? What exactly is a hemorrhoid?

Sometimes I turn to Dr. Google—even though I know that can lead down a wild and often unfounded rabbit trail—and usually I text one of my friends who has recently been pregnant and run my question by them. Once or twice throughout my four pregnancies, I’ve called my midwife to share my concern and ask their advice.

But it’s hard to know the line.

I don’t want to call at the drop of a hat. After all, my midwife is busy with moms in labor and my question about Tylenol vs. Advil isn’t a huge priority (FYI, it's Tylenol). Then again, I don’t want a tiny issue to grow into something alarming because I was worried about being labeled the crazy, question-filled, bothersome mom.

Don't hem and haw too long if a question or concern presents itself.

While I'm no expert, after four rounds of pregnancy questions, I seem to have a handle on what warrants a call and what can wait until my next appointment. If you’re an anxiously pregnant mom who need their worries calmed, use this list as your guide to determine your next step.

Definitely call your OB or midwife ASAP if:

  • Abdominal pain that lasts longer than 20 minutes
  • You have chills or a fever
  • Painful, reddened area on your legs
  • A decrease in urination (not related to vomiting or lack of hydration)
  • Dizziness, blurry vision, or seeing spots
  • Persistent headaches that are not remedied by drinking water, sleep, or massage
  • Unresolved swelling in hands, face, or feet that isn’t helped by drinking water and resting
  • Severe nausea or inability to keep fluids down
  • Concern about baby’s movement frequency
  • Any vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Signs of labor like low back pain or abdominal cramps that don’t dissipate
  • You think your water has broken

That’s the must-call list. I even ran it by my midwife and she agreed.

Everything else, you can probably just use your best judgement to decide when to call. But, truly, if you have any worries or feel you’re experiencing an urgent medical need, call!

Midwife Terri Chi-Lee agrees, saying, " It's good to keep your care provider in the loop of any changes that may have happened to you or your baby." You hired your OB or midwife to guide you through pregnancy and it’s their job to take care of you—first, physically, but also, emotionally.

Don't hem and haw too long if a question or concern presents itself. A healthy mind free of worry will result in a healthier pregnancy overall. And that's the only thing that matters to your OB and midwife, too.

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