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spotting nausea fatigue

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.

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


Rhinitis

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).

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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.

Fatigue

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.

Cramping

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.

Headaches

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.

Spotting

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).

Nausea

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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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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