Spotting, fatigue + all that morning sickness: 10 common pregnancy struggles

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The deal: Rhinitis is a fancy term for a perpetually stuffy nose—and it can be just plain annoying.

We actually don’t fully understand why this happens, though we suspect those pesky hormones again, and the general swelling that happens during pregnancy.

Try this: Sleep with a cool mist humidifier running, use saline drops and drink a lot of water. Some women need to be put on medications for this, so be sure to talk to your health care provider if it’s bad (you’ll also want to make sure that a sinus infection isn’t causing all of the yuckiness).


If you’ve had the thought, How is it possible that the tiny human I am growing has the ability to make me feel so sick?!—you’re not alone. Almost every pregnant woman experiences at least some unpleasant symptoms, especially in her first trimester.

How a woman’s internal organs move when she’s pregnant

Here are some of the most common pregnancy symptoms, why they happen and what you can do about them.

Milky white discharge

The deal: Vaginal discharge, or leukorrhea, is very normal during pregnancy. If it’s clear or milky white, odorless and you’re not experiencing pain or itching, it’s probably normal.

Try this: Just wear a pantyliner to help you stay comfortable (we also recommend cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing to help prevent problems). If you do have pain or itching, if the discharge smells bad (like fish), or if it’s green, yellow or looks like cottage cheese, you may have an infection that requires treatment by your midwife or doctor.


The deal: Cue “welcome to the next 18 years of your life” joke here (that’s not true, btw—you will sleep again, we promise).

But pregnancy fatigue is the real deal. It’s caused by the hormones and physical changes required to grow a baby (or in the words of Sofia Vergara on Modern Family, because you are “turning food into a human”).

Try this: To help combat fatigue, make sure you rest whenever you can, eat a healthy diet and get some exercise to increase your stamina and overall energy.


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The deal: Early pregnancy cramping can feel a lot like the cramps you get with your period. It’s caused by your growing uterus, and sometimes constipation or gas.

Try this: To decrease cramping, try lying down on your side or drinking more water. If the cramping lasts for a long time or is accompanied by blood, call your midwife or doctor.

Frequent urination

The deal: Women who are far along in their pregnancy often spend a ton of time in the bathroom because their growing baby puts pressure on their organs (and oh, those kicks to the bladder). But many women find that they start peeing frequently right from the start, thanks to hormones and kidneys that are now working extra hard.

Try this: It can be tempting to want to drink less water to avoid having a full bladder, but this can worsen your symptoms, because you can become dehydrated and even develop a UTI. So drink up (water and juice) and let your medical provider know if you experience burning with urination or have blood in your urine.


The deal: Headaches often happen when a pregnant woman is dehydrated, tired or has low blood sugar.

Try this: The best way to prevent or treat a mild headache is to drink plenty of water, rest and snack throughout the day. Talk to your doctor or midwife before you take any pain meds—some of the medications you’re used to taking aren’t safe during pregnancy. Severe headaches could be a sign of a bigger problem, so get medical care right away.


The deal: About 20% of women have a small amount of vaginal bleeding during early pregnancy.

It will probably make you pretty nervous to see the drops of blood, but know that many women who have spotting end up having totally normal pregnancies. Spotting can be caused by implantation of the egg, sex or a vaginal exam.

Try this: If you experience spotting, give your doctor or midwife a call—they’ll want to rule out something more serious, like a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or problem with the placenta.

Round ligament pain

The deal: This feels like a really intense cramp in your groin. It happens because of the normal changes and stretching happening to the ligaments in your lower abdomen and pelvis. You may experience round ligament pain when you change positions quickly (like when you get out of bed), sneeze or laugh, or if you spent a lot of time either sitting or walking.

Try this: Try changing your position frequently throughout the day, and stay well hydrated. If the pain lasts for longer than a few seconds, or if bleeding accompanies it, call your medical provider.

Back pain

The deal: Another very common pregnancy symptom, back pain happens for a number of reasons: Hormones loosen your joints, making them uncomfortable and more prone to injury; your growing belly is changing your posture; and it’s just harder to find a comfortable position.

This this: To help with back pain, get a massage, change your position often, apply moist heat, try prenatal yoga and get a massage (yes, we know that’s on the list twice). ?

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The deal: Morning sickness is probably the most famous (or infamous) symptom of pregnancy.

Morning sickness (which can actually strike anytime, day or night), is caused by the hormonal changes happening in your body. Women tend to feel worse when they’re hungry, so try eating small, frequent snacks throughout the day. One super-pro tip: Keep a box of crackers in the bathroom. When you wake up in the middle of the night to pee (see #9), pop a few crackers and fight the nausea before it begins.

Try this: Check out our list of healthy first trimester snack ideas, like bananas with nut butter and air-popped popcorn.

When nausea becomes severe (vomiting every day and losing 5% of your pre-pregnant body weight), it’s called hyperemesis gravidarum, and it seriously sucks. This condition requires medical attention because it’s easy to become dehydrated and experience an electrolyte imbalance. If you spend an entire day vomiting, can’t keep down water, feel dizzy, have a racing heart or vomit blood, head to the emergency room.

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It's time to go shopping for your little ones mama. Not long ago we shared the super sale on Hunter boots for us moms, and now the super colorful and water proof boots are on sale for kids! Perfect timing as Spring is approaching and there will be a lot of puddle jumping in our futures.

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Jessica Simpson's life seems perfect. She has three beautiful kids, a wildly successful career, a seemingly solid marriage...she has it all, at least as far as we can see. But recent revelations prove that no one really knows what anyone else is secretly dealing with—and Jessica, by her own admission, has been struggling with alcohol issues.

The singer-turned-business-woman recently sat down with TODAY's Hoda Kotb, and it will air on NBC's TODAY Wednesday morning.

"I had started a spiral and I couldn't catch up with myself…and that was with alcohol," Jessica explained. "I would say it openly to everyone. 'I know. I know, I'll stop soon. I'll cut back'," Jessica continued when asked if she realized things were getting out of control. "For me to cut back, like I'm an all or nothing girl, and so I didn't know it was a problem until it was...I completely didn't recognize myself…I always had a glitter cup. It was always filled to the rim with alcohol."


She's hardly alone. The rise of #winemom phenomenon is well documented and many parents struggle with substance abuse problems. But Simpson's story proves there is a way to get your life back.

Simpson quit drinking in 2017 after she found herself unable to get her kids ready for a Halloween party. She says she'd started drinking before 7:30 in the morning, before accompanying her husband, Eric Johnson, to a school assembly for their oldest daughter. Later that night she was unable to get her kids dressed in their Halloween costumes. The next morning she was so ashamed. Feeling like she had failed her kids she slept until they left the house, then got up and drank some more.

That episode was her tipping point. She quit drinking (as did her husband, Eric Johnson, who supports her in her sobriety.)

As parents, we know how overwhelming the demands can be...and how easy it is to sink into habits that don't ultimately serve us well. For Jessica, the way to heal was to sever her relationship with alcohol.

"I had to give [drinking] up," Jessica said. "I'm not going to miss another day. I'm not going to miss another Halloween. I'm not going to miss another Christmas. I'm going to be present."


Babies come with a lot of stuff. And when you're out and about, a roomy, comfy diaper bag is the place for everything you need to be prepared for whatever the day throws your way. But is a cute, trendy diaper bag that doesn't scream, well... DIAPER BAG, too much to ask? It's not, mamas.

We've rounded up our favorite diaper bags that don't actually look like diaper bags, but instead like the cute, super stylish bags you might have carried before the days of finding crushed up puffs at the bottom of your purse.

These bags prove you can get the job done, mama—and look darn good while doing it.

Freshly Picked City Pack

Freshly Picked City Pack

This simple, modern backpack can easily take you from a day at work to dinner with the kiddos. We love the hardware details, the lightweight design, and the hidden back pocket.


Vogshow Waterproof Bag

Vogshow Waterproof Diaper Bag

A sleek look, plus a padded laptop compartment, anti-theft and insulated pockets and magnetic buttons instead of zippers. 🙌


Skip Hop Travel Bag

Skip Hop Travel Bag

With a large zippered main compartment, there's plenty of room to keep all of the things. We love the adjustable straps—you can wear as a backpack, cross-body, messenger bag, or attach to the stroller.


Companion Quilted Backpack

companion quilted backpack diaper bag

Are you off to sit on the beach for a few hours, or taking your toddlers to the zoo? No one will be the wiser, mamas. We love the quilted look, padded straps, and roomy interior.


Mommore Diaper Backpack

Mommore Diaper Backpack

With a water resistant exterior, wet clothes pocket and a main compartment that completely opens up, you'll love having this to tote around.


JJ Cole Brookmont

JJ Cole Cognac Diaper Bag

As stunning as it is functional. It has 15 pockets and a removable liner on the inside so you can easily clean up messes in no time.


Little Unicorn Boardwalk Tote

If you're looking to keep things simple + stylish, mamas, this is the bag for you. It's versatile, functional, and will get tons of use well past the diaper days.


Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

Presidio Vegan Leather Diaper Tote

This stunning tote would make the perfect on-the-go bag. It comes with a changing page and a couple pockets on the inside to keep everything organized. Don't forget to personalize it!


Ticent Tote

Ticent Diaper Bag

With nearly 500 reviews, this one has incredible ratings. It offers multiple pockets, including an insulated one for snacks or bottles. The waterproof cotton material is ideal for those inevitable spills.


Fawn Design Original

Stylish and versatile, this bag can be worn as a cross body or as a backpack. It's roomy without being bulky, and has a total of 10 pockets for awesome storage.


Skip Hop Greenwich Backpack

No one would ever know this bag is packed full of baby's items. 😉


Rosie Pope Highbury Hill

Highbury Hill Diaper Backpack

If you're looking to up your style, this chic backpack will help you get there. Lots of inner pockets and zippered compartments make it simple to organize your stuff, and the top flap and wide opening make for quick + easy accessibility.


Babymel Robyn

Babymel Robyn Diaper Backpack

We love everything about this effortlessly stylish faux leather backpack. It's easy to wipe down, converts to a cross body bag, and even comes with a changing pad and drawstring bottle holder.


Petunia Pickle Bottom Pathway

Petunia Pickle Bottom Diaper Tote

This two-tone canvas bag could not be prettier. We love that it easily stands upright when set down, and that it's super functional as a diaper bag yet super stylish as an everyday purse.


Skip Hop Duo

Skip Hop Duo Diaper Bag

The timeless stripes on this 11-pocket bag means it will never go out of style, and the durable cotton canvas means it will stand up to years of use.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Frustrations and emotions were at an all time high for both us. I was worried that my lack of patience would get the best of me, leaving her feeling let down and frustrated with me on her new journey of becoming a “big girl." And selfishly, I was tired of washing wet underwear. For her part, my daughter was tired of being asked for the hundredth time if she needed to use the potty.

We both were feeling a little defeated in this new adventure.

I have found too often as a mother that I expect my child to respond new things, like to potty training, as fast and as close to the last blog post, book or opinion I heard or read. What I have learned is that no two children are alike and the moment I release my expectations for where mine should or should not be, we are both brought back to peace and patience.


So maybe a break was all we needed to start fresh the next day. We headed to our favorite spot by the lake and had a picnic. My daughter munched on popcorn and chatted away about the weather and pinecones, and listened for the sounds of helicopters—which you hear quite often living on an aviation military base.

Sometimes in the daily struggles of motherhood I have noticed that I can forget who I am and the strength we possess as mothers. It may not come easily at first, but I grow with each new day. Even potty training—this mundane human activity that is emotional and (quite literally) messy, teaches me much about the meaning and purpose of motherhood.

Potty training has taught me a huge lesson on patience. Patience to be present, to pay attention to what is right in front of me. To be encouraging, to not rush the process, to not place expectations on timing or play the comparison game we often play as mothers.

Patience is needed in every area of parenting and potty training is just one way where we can see as parents where our patience is wearing thin.

I have found that it's when I come from a place of patience and presence that I can then glean wisdom from those messy, mundane, time-consuming tasks of potty training, and find that the waiting, sitting and hours of time spent in the bathroom gives me an opportunity to be present in my child's world.

Whether it be the grocery line, a traffic jam, or cleaning up wet bedding, I learn the art and joy in the small and big moments in motherhood. Giving our children space to fail and try it again as many times as it takes encourages them that they too can cultivate the gift of patience in there own tiny lives.

My daughter speaks to me everyday, inviting growth that sometimes feels really hard and frustrating, she provokes patience to be felt and sensed through every minute of the day. And for this I am grateful. Because to truly live and be present in my child's world means “I learn from her, and she learns from me." Even in potty training.

Our children have so much to offer to who we are as individuals and they have so much to teach us. In fact, I have come to live for these exhausting, beautiful, and downright messy moments in time. When I push myself to embrace them, rather than just find them frustrating, I stretch and grow and evolve. I become the mother I hope to be.

And to you mama, whether in the midst of sleepless newborn nights or toddler tornados or the midst of potty training, may you find strength as a mother, as a wife, and as a person to let go of any expectations or judgements you place upon yourself.

May love and gratitude fill our hearts and peace be with all of us on the journey that motherhood is.

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