Problems in pregnancy

Some pregnancies do develop complications along the way that may mean medical problems for you and your baby.

Some pregnancies are also considered higher risk than others, because of existing health needs you might have or because of other circumstances, such as expecting more than one baby.

Sometimes a baby is born too early, and the issues arising from this can depend on many factors, including the level of prematurity. Sometimes, sadly, a pregnancy ends with the death of the baby.

If you have a pregnancy-related problem, you may need extra time off work for medical appointments, or you may need to be off sick at home or even in hospital. Your employer should be supportive during this time and ensure that work is not an additional stress for you.

When to seek help

It’s important to speak to your doctor or midwife if you have any of the following symptoms. If you can’t get in touch with your doctor or midwife, call the maternity unit of your hospital, who can advise you on the best course of action:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bleeding or spotting
  • Vaginal discharge that smells unpleasant or is green, brown or red
  • Leaking fluid that is not urine
  • Swollen fingers or legs
  • Persistent headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Your baby's movements slow down.

After the 28th week, if you don’t feel your baby move as much as normal, seek medical advice immediately. Your baby should continue moving as normal right up until labour and birth. They do not slow down at the end of pregnancy. The hospital can monitor your baby’s heartbeat to check everything is okay. If you’re worried about this before 28 weeks, contact your doctor or midwife.

If you’re worried about anything else, or are concerned about something that feels out of the ordinary for you, including feeling generally unwell, contact your doctor or midwife.


The death of a baby before or during labour is a devastating experience. Each person copes with the grief differently and you will need time and support to come to terms with your baby’s death.

Find out more about stillbirth

Premature birth

A premature baby (or preemie) is one born earlier than usual, before 37 weeks of pregnancy. You may already have been told that your baby is likely to be born early, or it may come as a complete shock.

Find out more about premature birth


Miscarriage, which is the loss of a baby up to 24 weeks of pregnancy, is more common than many people realise. This is especially true of ‘early’ miscarriages, which occur in the first 12 weeks.

Find out more about miscarriage

If you need help

If you are worried about, or have been affected by, any of the issues raised in this section of the website, you can contact the Tommy’s PregnancyLine on 0800 0147 800 and speak to a Tommy’s midwife. You can also email us at [email protected].

If you have an urgent concern about your pregnancy, always contact your midwife, doctor or local labour ward.