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Common symptoms during pregnancy

Morning sickness


Morning sickness usually begins during the first month of pregnancy.

Some women can have nausea and vomiting throughout their entire pregnancy.

Morning sickness is very common and does not hurt the baby in any way.


The exact cause of morning sickness is unknown. However, it may be caused by either hormonal changes or lower blood sugar during early pregnancy. Emotional stress, traveling, or some foods can aggravate the problem. Nausea in pregnancy is more common and can be worse with twins or triplets.

Home Care

Try to keep a positive attitude. Remember that in most cases morning sickness stops after the first 3 or 4 months of pregnancy. To reduce nausea, try:

  • Separate food and drink by at least one hour.

  • Do not eat 1 hour before bedtime

  • Sleep on at least 2 pillows to keep your head elevated.

  • A few soda crackers or dry toast when you first wake up, even before you get out of bed in the morning.

  • A small snack at bedtime and when getting up to go to the bathroom at night.

  • Avoid large meals; instead, snack as often as every 1 to 2 hours during the day and drink plenty of fluids.

  • Eat foods high in protein and complex carbohydrates, such as peanut butter on apple slices or celery; nuts; cheese; crackers; milk; cottage cheese; and yogurt; avoid foods high in fat and salt, but low in nutrition.

  • Ginger products such as ginger tea, ginger candy, and ginger soda help prevent morning sickness. Try Sparkling Mamma's Fizzelixir or Preggie Pops.  

  • Peppermint products work well too.

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  • Acupressure wristbands or acupuncture may help. You can find these bands in drug, health food, travel, and boating stores. If you are thinking about trying acupuncture, talk to your doctor and look for an acupuncturist who is trained to work with pregnant women.

  • Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.

  • When you feel nauseated, bland foods like gelatin, broth, ginger ale, and saltine crackers can soothe your stomach.

  • Take your prenatal vitamins at night.

  • Increase vitamin B6 in your diet by eating whole grains, nuts, seeds, peas and beans (legumes). You can also buy over-the-counter vitamin B6 supplements in a dosage of 25 mg taken orally every eight hours (75 mg per day).

  • Doxylamine is another over-the-counter medicine.

  • DO NOT let yourself get too hungry or too full.

  • Drink plenty of liquids.

  • Seltzer, ginger ale, or other sparkling waters may help control symptoms.



What Else Can I Try?


Try changing how you take your prenatal vitamins.

  • Take them at night, since the iron they contain may irritate your stomach. At night, you might be able to sleep through this. Also take them with a little food, not on an empty stomach.

  • You may have to try several different brands of prenatal vitamins before finding one you can tolerate.

  • You can also try cutting your prenatal vitamins in half. Take half in the morning and the other half at night.

Some other tips are:

  • Keep your morning activities slow and calm.

  • Avoid poorly ventilated spaces that trap food odors or other smells.

  • DO NOT smoke cigarettes or be in areas where people are smoking.

  • Get extra sleep and try to lessen stress as much as possible.


Are There Any Drugs To Treat Morning Sickness?

Try this very safe, over-the-counter option:

-Vitamin B6: 25 milligrams (mg) every 8 hours IN COMBINATION WITH 25 mg of doxylamine (Unisom SleepTabs) at night.


-Diclegis, a combination of doxylamine succinate and pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating morning sickness.

-Bonjesta, is a prescription medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting of pregnancy in women who have not improved with change in diet or other non-medicine treatments.

-Sometimes stronger, prescription medication such as Zofran is needed.

-In severe cases, you may be admitted to the hospital, where you will receive fluids through an IV (into your vein).



Being tired is common during pregnancy. Most women feel tired the first few months, then again toward the end. Exercise, rest, and a proper diet can make you feel less tired. It may also help to take rest breaks or naps every day.


Problems With Urination


Early on in the pregnancy, you will likely be making more trips to the bathroom.

  • As your uterus grows and rises higher in your abdomen (belly), the need to urinate often may lessen.

  • Even so, you will continue to urinate more throughout pregnancy. That means that you also need to drink more water, and maybe thirstier than before you were pregnant.

  • As you get closer to delivery and your baby descends into your pelvis, you will need to pee much more, and the amount of urine passed at one time will be less (the bladder holds less due to pressure from the baby).

If you have pain when you urinate or a change in urine odor or color, call your health care provider. These could be signs of a bladder infection.

Some pregnant women also leak urine when they cough or sneeze. For most women, this goes away after the baby is born. If this happens to you, start doing Kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.


Vaginal Discharge


You may see more vaginal discharge while pregnant. Call if the discharge:

  • Has a foul odor

  • Has a greenish color

  • Makes you feel itchy

  • Causes pain or soreness




Having a hard time moving the bowels is normal during pregnancy. This is because:

  • Hormone changes during pregnancy slow down your digestive system.

  • Later in your pregnancy, the pressure from your uterus on your rectum may also worsen the problem.

You can ease constipation by:

  • Eating raw fruits and vegetables, such as prunes, to get extra fiber.

  • Eating whole grain or bran cereals for more fiber.

  • Using a fiber supplement regularly.

  • Drinking plenty of water (8 to 9 cups daily).




While you are pregnant, food stays in your stomach and bowels longer. This may cause heartburn (stomach acid moving back up into the esophagus). You can reduce heartburn by:

  • Eating small meals

  • Avoiding spicy and greasy foods

  • Not drinking large amounts of liquid before bedtime

  • Not exercising for at least 2 hours after you eat

  • Not lying down flat right after a meal


Nosebleeds and Bleeding Gums


Some women have nose and gum bleeding while they are pregnant. This is because the tissues in their nose and gums get dry, and the blood vessels dilate and are closer to the surface. You can avoid or reduce this bleeding by:

  • Drinking lots of fluids

  • Getting lots of vitamin C, from orange juice or other fruits and juices

  • Using a humidifier (a device that puts water in the air) to decrease dryness of the nose or sinuses

  • Brushing your teeth with a soft toothbrush to decrease bleeding gums

  • Maintaining good dental hygiene and using floss every day to keep your gums healthy

Swelling, Varicose Veins, and Hemorrhoids

Swelling in your legs is common. You may see more swelling as you get closer to giving birth. The swelling is caused by your uterus pressing on the veins.

  • You may also notice that the veins in your lower body are becoming larger.

  • In the legs, these are called varicose veins.

  • You may also have veins close to your vulva and vagina that swell.

  • In your rectum, veins that swell are called hemorrhoids.

To reduce swelling:

  • Raise your legs and rest your feet on a surface higher than your belly.

  • Lie on your side in bed. Lying on the left side is better if you can do it comfortably. It also provides better circulation for the baby.

  • Wear support pantyhose or compression stockings.

  • Limit salty foods. Salt works like a sponge and makes your body hold more water.

  • Try not to strain during bowel movements. This can worsen hemorrhoids. 

Breathing Problems


Some women feel short of breath at times while they are pregnant. You may notice that you're breathing more rapidly than usual. It happens more often in the early part of the pregnancy due to the changes in your hormones. It may also happen again toward the end of your pregnancy because of pressure from the baby. Mild shortness of breath from exercise that quickly gets better is not serious.

Severe chest pain or shortness of breath that does not go away can be a sign of a serious medical complication. Call 911 or go to an emergency room right away if you have these symptoms.

You may get short of breath again in the later weeks of pregnancy. This is because the uterus takes up so much room that your lungs do not have as much space to expand.

Doing these things might help with shortness of breath:

  • Sitting up straight

  • Sleeping propped up on a pillow

  • Resting when you feel short of breath

  • Moving at a slower pace

Vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy


Spotting is when you notice a few drops of blood every now and then on your underwear. It is not enough to cover a panty liner.

Bleeding is a heavier flow of blood. With bleeding, you will need a liner or pad to keep the blood from soaking your clothes.

Bleeding in the 1st trimester is not always a problem. It may be caused by:

  • Having sex

  • An infection

  • The fertilized egg implanting in the uterus

  • Hormone changes

  • Other factors that will not harm the woman or baby

More serious causes of first-trimester bleeding include:

  • A miscarriage is the loss of the pregnancy before the embryo or fetus can live on its own outside the uterus. Almost all women who miscarry will have bleeding before a miscarriage.

  • An ectopic pregnancy may cause bleeding and cramping.

  • A molar pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants in the uterus that will not come to term


Most of the time, the treatment for bleeding is rest.

  • Stay off your feet

  • Not have sex

  • Not douche (NEVER do this ever)

  • Not use tampons

Very heavy bleeding may require a hospital stay or surgical procedure.


If something other than blood comes out put it in a jar or a plastic bag and bring it with you to your appointment.



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