maternal health

Warning Signs All Mothers Need to Know- Part I

When you’re having a baby, the focus tends to be on the new life you’re bringing into the world, but moms need to pay attention to their own health, too!

This informational campaign comes to you in partnership with the Stark County Community Action Agency.

It can be difficult to focus on anything other than your growing bump or new baby when you’re in the early stages of motherhood. Baby’s heartbeat, first breath, and first-year milestones are your focal point. But ignoring your pain, struggles, or medical red flags does not do you or your baby any good. Pay attention to these warning signs during pregnancy and in the year following birth.

Maternal Health Warning Signs

  • Headaches
    Headaches that feel worse than anything you’ve experienced and come on suddenly and strongly should not be ignored. Especially if you’ve tried hydration and medication with no relief.
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Changes to your vision
    Blurriness, blind spots, and flashes of light are all red flags.
  • A high fever (over 100.4º)
  • Swelling in hands and face
    While slight swelling is expected with moms toward the end of pregnancy, extreme swelling in the hands and face, making it difficult to wear jewelry or see, is not healthy. Similarly, swelling in your lips or mouth requires immediate attention.
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
    Feeling sad or hopeless, violent, or extremely worried all the time are key signs of postpartum depression and anxiety. Seek medical advice if these feelings arise.
  • Difficulty breathing
    Tightness in your chest or throat, feeling sudden shortness of breath, and not being able to breathe deeply enough into your lungs are all signs there might be something wrong.
  • Fast heartbeat or chest pain
    A pounding heart or irregular heartbeat is cause for concern, as is tightness or pain in your chest, neck, back, or arms.

Check back next week for more warning signs and red flags expecting and new mothers need to watch out for. And check out the SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB for available resources for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services.

Audrey Mattevi

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