Pregnancy can cause a lot of changes in your body. From the moment you get the good news of baby’s arrival you may start to notice common discomforts and early pregnancy symptoms. But don’t worry, it’s a sign that your body is creating a healthy environment so your baby can grow. "During the first trimester, from week one to around week 13, many women experience nausea, heartburn, back pain, leg cramps, and other pregnancy symptoms," said Rebecca Alicandro, MD, OBGYN at Rochester Regional Health. "But there are things women can do to reduce discomfort and help feel better."
Here are some common early pregnancy symptoms and tips to deal with discomfort.
Nausea (or morning sickness) is a common complaint of early pregnancy, and it’s usually caused by hormonal changes. Contrary to popular belief, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day or night. Since your sense of smell is more refined during pregnancy, you may find yourself feeling nauseous from things that normally wouldn’t bother you. For most women, nausea resolves or greatly improves after the first trimester.
Remedies and prevention tips for nausea
"Being constipated or having heartburn can make nausea worse, so be sure to address these issues separately if your nausea is not improving," said Dr. Alicandro.
Feeling tired is common in early pregnancy because your body needs more from you, like sleep. It’s important to take naps if you can and not stay up late. Even putting your feet up for a few minutes every hour or so can help reduce fatigue.
Heartburn is a burning feeling in your chest. During pregnancy, stomach acid can back up into your esophagus due to a change in your hormone levels.
How to help relieve heartburn:
*Check with your provider about an antacid that is safe to use. Do not drink lots of liquid with your meals, instead drink liquid in between meals.
Constipation occurs when you go too long without having a bowel movement or bowel movements become difficult to pass. It happens because of changes in your diet or routine and inadequate intake of fiber. The hormone changes in pregnancy also make it more likely you become constipated. Things that can help are:
During early pregnancy, you will notice that you have to go to the bathroom to urinate more often. This is due to hormone changes in your body and the growing uterus pushing on your bladder. Although this frequency in urination is normal, please notify your provider of any burning or pain.
Your breasts grow larger during pregnancy as the milk glands develop. Sometimes you feel a tingling or a throbbing sensation. The changes are normal. A good supportive bra that is not too tight will help.
The change in your hormone levels changes the cells in your vagina. This causes an increase in vaginal secretions. The discharge is usually clear or white in color with no odor.
Things that can make you feel more comfortable include:
Lower back pain can be caused by muscle strain from bending or lifting. Hormone changes during pregnancy and the shift in your center of gravity as your uterus expands can leave you more at risk for back pain.
How to reduce back pain
Hemorrhoids are painful, varicose veins around your rectum. They are common in pregnancy due to extra blood flow in the pelvis and pressure from the uterus. They can itch and sometimes bleed.
Reduce pain from hemorrhoids
Leg cramps or Charley horses are very common in pregnancy. These spasms are marked by uncomfortable muscle contractions. If the contracting muscles don’t relax for several seconds or more, the pain can be severe.
Here are some things you can do to prevent leg cramps and relieve pain:
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