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Major concerns during pregnancy

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If you experience any of the symptoms below, contact Origins immediately on (09) 630 8270. If the situation is very urgent, call an ambulance on 111.

  • Abdominal pain, cramps or painful contractions before your baby is due
  • Contractions associated with vaginal discharge
  • Low down pelvic pressure or backache that comes and goes before you are 36 weeks pregnant
  • Watery leakage from the vagina
  • Any vaginal bleeding
  • A noticeable decrease in baby movements
  • Facial puffiness or swelling
  • Feeling hot, feverish and unwell
  • Unusual or severe headaches
  • Visual disturbances such as blurriness, flashing lights or dark patches
  • Pain when passing urine, or offensive smelling urine
  • Any other urgent concerns about your pregnancy
ExpandThreatened miscarriage

Miscarriage is the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks. Almost one in five pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Most occur within the first 12 weeks. The most common cause of early miscarriage is a chromosomal abnormality in the baby. These abnormalities occur around the time of fertilisation and usually do not indicate a problem with either of the parents. Miscarriages that occur after 12 weeks can be caused by a physical problem with the uterus or cervix or an infection, such as listeria.

Types of bleeding during pregnancy:

  • If the bleeding is fresh, painless and lighter than a period, it is likely that your pregnancy is healthy and will continue. Contact Origins for an ultrasound to confirm that everything is OK
  • If the bleeding is heavier than a period and associated with crampy period-like pain, it is more concerning. Please contact Origins
  • If the bleeding is old, brown blood and painless, the situation is less certain. Please contact Origins

Pre-eclampsia is a condition specific to pregnancy and occurs in about 8% of expectant mothers. Pre-eclampsia is diagnosed when your blood pressure becomes high and protein is detected in your urine. You may have no symptoms at all in the early stages. Symptoms you might notice include headches, feeling 'jittery', visual disturbances, abdominal pain and vomiting, and facial swelling. In rare cases, pre-eclampsia can lead to seizures and other major health problems for both mother and baby. Your Origins obstetrician may advise that you be admitted to hospital for monitoring and observation.


Listeria is a common bacterium found in soil, water, plants and faeces. Most people are exposed to listeria on a regular basis, with no ill effects. However, for pregnant women, listeria infection can cause miscarriage, pre-term labour or stillbirth.

Good information about safe food choices can be found here.

Foods to avoid:

  • Uncooked, smoked or ready-to-eat fish or seafood, including oysters, smoked ready-to-eat fish, sashimi or sushi *
  • Paté, hummus-based dips and spreads
  • Ham and all other chilled pre-cooked meat products including chicken, and fermented or dried sausages such as salami *
  • Pre-prepared or stored salads (including fruit salads) and coleslaws
  • Raw (unpasteurised) milk and any food that contains unpasteurised milk *
  • Soft-serve ice creams
  • Soft, semi-soft or surface-ripened soft cheese (e.g., brie, camembert, feta, ricotta, roquefort) *

* These foods are safe to eat if heated to above 72°C, where appropriate.


Toxoplasmosis is a common disease that can be caught from raw or undercooked meat and cat faeces. For an unborn baby, it can cause blindness, deafness, mental retardation or even death. Toxoplasmosis is difficult to diagnose and treat, so prevention is best.

How to avoid toxoplasmosis:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat or wear gloves
  • Eat only well-cooked meat
  • Wear gloves while gardening and wash your hands carefully afterwards
  • Wash fruit and vegetables, especially if they come from a home garden
  • Avoid getting a kitten if you are pregnant
  • Get someone else to change the cat's litter box