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3 Tips If You’re Concerned About a Pregnancy Symptom

By Marielle Melling

“I’ve done something bad,” I admitted to my midwife. “I’ve googled, and now I’m worried.”

I generally choose not to worry about pregnancy symptoms because most ended up being normal for me (well normal for pregnant women, anyone else and it would definitely be cause for concern).

Vomiting every day? Normal. Food tasting like metal? Normal. One minute feeling like busting heads and the next minute ugly crying over a rerun of a Ross and Rachel break-up? Totally normal.

But what do you do if you feel like something in your pregnancy is really not normal?

My Pregnancy Worry

Into the third trimester with my fourth baby, I started to feel like things were off. Not in a major way, but I was noticing small differences. I was exhausted. (Ok, that’s a terrible way to begin my list of things feeling off during pregnancy.) But as much as every pregnant woman feels tired, I was suddenly feeling more tired, really tired, and this was my fourth rodeo so I felt I knew what to expect.

My pee was a very dark yellow, like that shade you’re not sure if it’s orange or brown but you call it yellow because it’s urine. (And if you’re not checking the toilet before flushing that is bowel and bladder health 101. Get over the awkwardness, and scan before you flush.)

Then one afternoon I was out watching my four-year-old ride his bike and had the thought, “Look up the itching.”

The itching.

Oh my crap, the itching was intense! Have you ever had athlete’s foot? The kind that causes you to dig your toes into the carpet so hard trying to soothe the itch that you end up breaking the skin? Laying in bed that kind of itch would start, keeping me awake before the strain of the day finally won out. Just on my feet, just at night. (Did I mention that some pregnancy symptoms are strange?)

So that afternoon sitting on the warm spring cement, I searched the internet for itchy feet during pregnancy. My heart sank as the first medical site that popped up displayed a list of symptoms that fit me far too precisely, along with an unfamiliar name: intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.

Every site agreed: the itching was beyond annoying, but much more important, this 1 in 1,000 disease carries an increased risk to the baby of stillbirth.

That’s when I called my midwife.

“I’ve done something bad,” I admitted to my midwife. “I’ve googled, and now I’m worried.”

My midwife laughed and then asked for the details.

I described my intense fatigue, dark urine, and itchy feet, and she scheduled a blood test that afternoon. I was indeed diagnosed with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and started on medication immediately.

So, what should you do when you’re worried about a pregnancy symptom?

I wish I could tell you definitively. Like so much from here on out, there is no easy answer. But here are three things I have learned for sure.

1. Never be afraid to learn more.

Rather than simply worry, look to reputable sources for further information. Most times, your research will teach you that your symptoms (even the weird nose bleeding one) are nothing to stress about. If there is cause for concern, you’ll be glad to know.

2. Your healthcare provider is there to help.

We don’t need to do this mom thing alone, and there is no such thing as a stupid question. If your healthcare providers are good at their job, they’ll take your concerns seriously and respectfully, reassure you as much as possible, and take all proper precautions when necessary. If not, find someone who does.

3. Follow through with those gut feelings.

Sometimes that mom-gut (or intuition or whatever you want to call it) will tell you to go check on the kids. Sometimes it will tell you to stop what you’re doing and be present. And sometimes it will tell you that something’s not quite right and to google itchy feet in pregnancy.

I am forever grateful for those times I listened to my gut and followed through. After a worrisome nonstress test, I was induced at 37 weeks, and our sweet baby girl made her healthy and joyful debut.

All these odd symptoms will eventually fade, but your body will be forever changed. The causes for worry will shift, but it doesn’t go away. The truth is that all of that is worth it. Insanely, unimaginably worth it.

Have you ever had your mom gut kick in when you were worried about a pregnancy symptom?

Tell us about it in the comments.

Our next recos: Pregnancy: When to Get Your Butt to the Doctor

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