6 Times You Probably Don't Need to Call Your Doctor During Pregnancy

It’s normal to have questions and concerns while pregnant, especially if you’ve had a miscarriage or stillbirth before. But how do you decide which questions warrant a call to your doctor in the middle of the night and which ones can wait until your next appointment—or at least until morning?

The simple answer is that if you feel anxious about what’s happening to you, it’s always better to call your provider. To help ease your mind, though, below, you’ll find a list of common concerns that pregnant people have, what the likely causes are, and when to worry.

This page is no substitute for medical advice, so always seek a doctor’s opinion if you have more questions. Your provider will tell you if you need immediate medical attention.

Remember, a simple call can usually give you the answers you need, and most pregnancy concerns don’t require a trip to the emergency room.


You've Had a Few Contractions

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Unfortunately, cramping and contractions are a part of every pregnancy. Every person experiences them differently, and many variables affect them, even for the same person. In the first trimester, you’ll most likely experience some cramping as your uterus begins to grow.

As you move through pregnancy, you’ll probably have Braxton-Hicks contractions, which can be quite painful at times. They may even have a pattern from time to time. Still, contractions usually aren’t anything to worry about unless they occur at regular intervals and get closer together as time goes on or are very painful.

You should call your doctor and go to the hospital for assessment if you have contractions accompanied by the following signs of preterm labor:

  • An urge to bear down or push with your contractions
  • Bright red blood from your vagina
  • Intense pelvic pressure
  • Low, dull backache
  • A sudden gush of clear, watery fluid from your vagina

You're Sick or You've Been Around Someone Sick

Some infections are associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death. But just because you’ve caught a cold doesn’t mean your pregnancy is at risk.

Pregnant people do need to take care of themselves if they get a seasonal cold or flu, including getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and using saline nose spray (not over-the-counter meds) to help relieve any congestion.

The same is true for gastrointestinal (GI) viruses. It may be miserable to have diarrhea or vomiting when you’re pregnant, but most GI viruses last only a day or two. You should be fine as long as you’re able to keep down small amounts of fluid throughout the day.

However, if you are sick with a viral illness and you have any of the following symptoms, call your doctor for instructions:

  • Difficulty breathing and/or shortness of breath
  • Fever greater than 101 degrees that​ doesn’t respond to Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Inability to keep even water down
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Vomiting or diarrhea that lasts longer than three days

If you are experiencing what you think are symptoms of COVID-19 during pregnancy, or you've been exposed to someone with COVID-19, contact your doctor or midwife right away. Pregnant people are at an increased risk of severe illness and possibly other adverse incomes like preterm birth.


Spotting After Sex

During pregnancy, your cervix goes through hormonal and physical changes that may allow it to bleed more easily. Some pregnant people have small amounts of bleeding when their cervix is disturbed, such as after a transvaginal ultrasound or pelvic exam.

Another common cause of spotting is sexual intercourse. It’s not unusual to see a small amount of bleeding on toilet paper or in your underwear if you’ve recently had sex. Bleeding may be pink, red, or brown. It’s usually nothing to worry about and will go away on its own.

If you have been diagnosed with placenta previa or vasa previa, however, you’ve likely already been advised not to put anything in your vagina while you’re pregnant. With these conditions, bleeding can be extremely dangerous to both the pregnant person and the fetus. Even those without a placental problem should contact their doctor if bleeding increases to a flow similar to your period or heavier.


You Haven't Felt Your Baby Move

The first time you feel your baby move is exciting, but it can often be hard to identify. Typically, people who have had babies before will feel movement earlier than first-time moms.

If this is your first pregnancy, it’s not unusual to be well into your second trimester before you feel movement. If you haven’t felt any movement yet, it’s not necessarily a sign of anything wrong, no matter how far along you are. Some people have difficulty feeling movement throughout their pregnancy.

However, if you have already started to notice movement and it decreases or disappears suddenly, you should notify your doctor quickly. Decreased fetal movement is one of the signs of stillbirth and may require immediate treatment to prevent a fatal outcome for your baby.


You've Reached the Same Week You Miscarried Last Time

Trying for another pregnancy after a loss is a difficult decision. Many people experience anxiety as they go through another pregnancy. They wonder if it will happen again and wish there was some way to prevent another miscarriage.

While it’s true that some people who have recurrent miscarriages tend to have them at that same stage of pregnancy, if you’ve had only one loss, there is no reason to assume it will happen again at the same time in another pregnancy. Talk with your doctor during a regular visit about the cause of your first loss (if it’s known) and your chances of having a second miscarriage.

If you are experiencing any of the same symptoms as your last pregnancy loss, you should definitely contact your doctor.


You've Had a Positive Pregnancy Test But No Morning Sickness

Morning sickness may be awful, but some people appreciate it because they know that they have a statistically lower chance of miscarriage with morning sickness. That doesn't mean you need to worry if you're one of the lucky ones who don't experience nausea.

Even if you had morning sickness earlier in your pregnancy and now it's gone, it doesn't mean your pregnancy is at risk. Morning sickness can change and usually goes away completely at 14 weeks of pregnancy.

On the other hand, if you don't have morning sickness (or it stops) and you also have the following signs of miscarriage, you should contact your provider.

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Backache or back pain
  • Sudden and complete loss of pregnancy symptoms
  • Vaginal bleeding
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6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. How to tell when labor begins. Updated May 2020.

  2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Preterm labor and birth. Updated June 2020.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, and caring for newborns. Updated May 13, 2021.

  4. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Bleeding during pregnancy. Updated September 2019.

  5. Gold KJ, Leon I, Boggs ME, Sen A. Depression and posttraumatic stress symptoms after perinatal loss in a population-based sampleJ Womens Health (Larchmt). 2016;25(3):263–269. doi:10.1089/jwh.2015.5284

  6. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting. Updated May 2020.