Traps for the unwary

November 2010

FocusTraps for the unwary

Does it matter if I’m ‘just’ pregnant?

Volume 39, No.11, November 2010 Pages 814-819

Ines Rio


The time before a woman has confirmed her pregnancy is an important time for both the woman and her unborn baby’s wellbeing. With the period of organogenesis largely occurring between the third and eighth week of development, early pregnancy is a time when a woman may have problems related to the pregnancy itself, or where diseases have a higher risk of morbidity in the woman or the fetus. Yet, the woman and her doctor, may be unaware of the pregnancy.


This article outlines presenting complaints where a doctor should specifically explore the possibility of early pregnancy in a woman in her reproductive years, as pregnancy may have an impact on the management, and ultimately the wellbeing, of both the woman and the fetus.


Identification and appropriate management of the coexisting pregnancy and presenting condition allows the general practitioner to provide the most appropriate care in this clinical situation.

This article considers the first few weeks after conception when the possibility of early pregnancy has implications on the differential diagnosis and management of a range of issues with which a woman may present. This article explores some of the issues the general practitioner should consider if a woman in her reproductive years presents with:

  • a potential problem of early pregnancy
  • a medical problem that may be managed differently in early pregnancy
  • an exposure that takes on a different significance in early pregnancy.

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