How can you determine whether your baby in the womb is healthy or unhealthy? In this blog, we will discuss the signs of a healthy pregnancy and an unhealthy pregnancy. If you observe any unhealthy pregnancy symptoms listed here, kindly consult your doctor and minimize your chances of a miscarriage.
What Are The Signs Of A Healthy Baby During Pregnancy?
Every parent wishes to have a healthy baby and make every possible effort for the same. However, lack of adequate information can sometimes lead to an unexpected outcome. So, understanding the signs of a healthy fetus becomes essential. Following are some of the signs of a healthy baby:
- Movement: A baby starts moving after five months of conception. In medical terms, the first fetal movement is referred to as "quickening". A 6-month fetus reacts to sound through movement. Around the 7th month, the fetus responds to stimuli, including sound, light, or pain. By the 8th month, a baby begins changing its position and kicks more often. Studies suggest that by the 9th month of pregnancy, movement tends to reduce because of less space. All these are indications that your unborn baby or the fetus is healthy.
- Heartbeat: A baby’s heart starts beating at around the 5th week of pregnancy. However, its revelation becomes much easier at the end of the first trimester through electronic fetal monitoring. To validate your baby’s heart health, your healthcare provider may take a non-stress test. This test checks the heart rate of the fetus and gives information about prospective threats if any. On the other hand, some doctors can even count the heartbeat by touching your stomach. A heartbeat rate between 110 and 160 beats per minute is considered to be healthy.
- Normal growth: There are numerous ways to evaluate the growth and development of the baby in the womb.
- Position at the time of pre-labor: During the ninth month of pregnancy, the movement of the baby developing in the fetus becomes minimal or comes to an end. A healthy baby acquires a head-first position and begins progressing towards the birth canal.
- Weight gain and belly of mom: Weight gain during pregnancy is a vital sign of a healthy pregnancy. You may ask your doctor or gynecologist to check your weight frequently and keep you updated on whether your baby is developing well inside the womb. With passing months, your belly should also grow in size.
What Are The Signs Of An Unhealthy Fetus?
During the fifth month of pregnancy, the fetus becomes more sensitive to light, sound, and pain. This is the same period when they get exposed to several threats that can affect growth and development, either directly or indirectly.
If the issues become noticeable, corrective measures can be taken to cope with it. But how can you determine an unhealthy fetus inside your womb? There are several signs which indicate an unhealthy fetus. Some of them are listed below:
- Abnormal fundal height: Fundal height helps your doctor to determine whether your uterus is developing. To measure the fundal height, your doctor will ask you to lie down. By using a tape, he will then evaluate the length from the top of your uterus to the pubic bone. Generally, after about 16 weeks of pregnancy, fundal height aligns with the progression of the pregnancy. In case your uterus height isn’t as expected, you may have a problem with your pregnancy. Too much or too little amniotic fluid or a breech baby can be the reason behind this problem. It may also signify that your uterus is not developing as it should.
- Lack of or no heartbeat: As we have discussed in the previous section of this article, a baby’s heart starts beating after the fifth week of pregnancy, but the detection only becomes easier after the tenth week. Electronic fetal monitoring helps to detect the fetal heartbeat, or the doctor may just count the number of heartbeats per minute by touching your stomach. In some cases, detection of the heartbeat of the baby inside the womb becomes difficult due to the change in the baby’s position or placental issues. In such a case, the doctor will evaluate the heartbeat of the baby during your next visit to the clinic. If there is a problem with the heartbeat detection in your next visit also, the doctor will recommend an ultrasound test to identify the issue. Lack of heartbeat usually suggests an obstruction in fetus development or a lifeless fetus (in worst cases).
- Intrauterine growth restriction: Intrauterine growth restriction obstructs the development of the fetus. If your test results come up positive for IUGR, it means that your fetus is ten percent smaller than its gestational age. You may experience certain complications, including high blood sugar, breathing difficulty, and high body temperature, which may persist even after pregnancy.
- Low hCG level: Placenta produces hCG hormone during pregnancy. The level of this hormone tends to fluctuate throughout the pregnancy, depending upon the trimester. During 9-16 weeks of pregnancy, hCG levels are usually very high. The standard level of hCG differs from person to person, so you don’t need to panic if your hCG levels are low. However, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, or a blighted ovum may drop your hCG level and is a threat to your pregnancy.
- Excess cramping during pregnancy: Pain and aches are extremely common during pregnancy. However, extreme aches and pains resembling menstrual cramps are yet another warning sign.
- Bleeding during pregnancy: Early in the pregnancy, it can be caused because of inadequate blood flow, but if it lasts, you may need to consult your healthcare provider.
- Vaginal discharge during pregnancy: Vaginal discharge is a common symptom experienced by most pregnant women, and it tends to enhance as the pregnancy progresses. Generally, the vaginal discharge of pregnant women is transparent, colorless, whitish, and odorless. However, if you experience greenish or yellowish discharge with a strong odor, consult your doctor immediately. Abnormal vaginal discharge may be caused due to cervical inflammation, signaling a miscarriage.
- Extreme back pain: Pregnant women usually experience back pain as the developing baby in the womb puts immense pressure on the spine and the lower back. This pain aggravates when you are expecting twins or multiples. However, if your back pain gets severe or if it starts at the front and extends to your back, discuss with your doctor about the same. It could be an indication of an unhealthy pregnancy.
- Sudden discontinuation of morning sickness: Pregnancy and morning sickness are correlated. This problem generally gets recovered on its own by the end of the first trimester or even earlier without causing any effect to the fetus. However, some women may experience sudden discontinuation of morning sickness due to low hCG levels. This may indicate a miscarriage and so consult your doctor to know if there’s an issue with your pregnancy.
- Contraction of breast size: During pregnancy, a woman undergoes a series of hormonal changes. Breasts also tend to transform and become more sensitive. They begin to feel fuller and heavier as the pregnancy advances. However, if you experience a sudden reduction in your breast size, consult your doctor without further delay. A sudden contraction of breast size may indicate a miscarriage.
- Fever during pregnancy: It's a crucial sign that shouldn’t be ignored. It may signify a viral or bacterial infection to the fetus.
- A sudden increase in blood sugar level: The blood sugar and blood pressure levels of women may rise during pregnancy, and it's not unusual. However, if there’s a sudden spike in your blood sugar level, it may result in preeclampsia and can induce preterm delivery.
- No fetal movement: Fetal movement could be sensed around the 18-week mark of the pregnancy as the fetus begins responding to light, sound, and pain. Researchers believe that a pregnant woman must experience nearly ten kicks every two hours during this period. If the fetus is in trouble, the count decreases. It’s a clear warning to consult your healthcare provider for suitable treatment. Any further delay in seeking medical assistance may lead to an unfortunate event.
- Changes in placental position: Changes in the placental position is also one major sign of an unhealthy pregnancy. When the placenta disconnects prematurely from the uterus, the pregnancy gets abandoned. So, make sure to get frequent checks of your placental position.
Tags: Symptoms of healthy baby in pregnancy, Signs of an unhealthy baby in the womb, Healthy baby signs
Taylor writes for the Pregnancy and Baby Care section of the blog and has a knack for everything creative. She holds a Diploma of Medicine in Nursing & Paramedical and is known to add innovation in everything she does. An ardent lover of coffee, Taylor makes sure to go at a coffee tasting spree at least twice a month.