What does that pain you're feeling mean? Should you call the doctor? Here are three medical issues to seek help for.

One of the things that doctors will tell you when you get pregnant is to be aware of changes within your body. The good news is that most of these changes are natural and should not have any long-term effects on you and your baby.

However, there are some changes that require immediate medical attention. At week 17, in your second trimester, these are the potential issues to watch out for.

Vaginal Discharge

It's not uncommon to experience
vaginal discharge during pregnancy, which comes in the form of thin, white fluid. This harmless acidic discharge is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria. However, if the discharge becomes strong smelling, is green or yellowish, or if it's accompanied by pain, soreness or itching, give your doctor a call.

Vaginal Bleeding

Vaginal bleeding at this stage may be caused by anything from minor cervical erosions or polyps, early labour, and placenta problems. Keep in mind that vaginal bleeding is an important condition that needs to be assessed early, so seek attention from your doctor as soon as possible.

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Some mothers may experience intermittent shooting pains that start from the lower back or hip and down through the legs. Doctors are still not sure what causes sciatic nerve pain, but it could be due to the pressure your growing baby is putting on the nerve itself. These pains usually go away pretty soon. However, if it seems to get worse, call your doctor to make sure nothing else is going on. They may also be able to give you some medication for pain relief.

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By Associate Professor TAN Thiam Chye Head & Senior Consultant, Dr Janice TUNG Senior O&G Resident, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

Sources:The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore

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