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Easing early pregnancy symptoms: Part 1

Ask any mom, and she can tell you all about what her pregnancy was like. Some had an easy nine months, and some struggled as their bodies tackled the monumental task of forming the new life inside them.

Today we’re sharing “Part 1” of the expected changes and tips taken from the Bright Course classes that we offer to new moms. You may experience some of these common symptoms as you progress in your pregnancy.

Disclaimer: Because each pregnancy is different, be sure to contact your medical provider if you have any concerns. Your medical team is there to help you navigate the many changes your body will be going through.


Have you noticed that your breasts are tender and getting bigger? Perhaps this was one of the signs that made you suspect you were pregnant. By six to eight weeks of pregnancy, your breasts will be noticeably larger. But there are other changes going on in your breasts as they prepare for breastfeeding.

The fat layer of your breasts is thickening, and the number of milk glands is increasing. Your breasts will continue to grow in size and weight throughout the first trimester. Your breasts will feel firm and tender.

What May Help:

  1. Wearing a more supportive full coverage bra will help by lifting the breast and helping to relief pressure. Some women find wearing a larger size or even a sports bra can help. Wearing a bra while sleeping can also help you feel more comfortable at night.

  2. Cold compresses may help. Placing a light-weight towel over the chest and using an ice pack or even a bag of frozen peas can offer some relief.

  3. Others have found that a warm shower helps by easing the tension of the surrounding muscles.


One of the most common complaints from pregnant women is “morning sickness,” which is caused by changing hormones. Women feel nauseous and sometimes vomit the first thing in the morning when the stomach is empty. While “morning sickness” usually lasts for a short time during the day, some women feel nauseous for longer periods of time and sometimes later into pregnancy.

What May Help:

  1. Eat saltine crackers, pretzels, or dry toast before getting out of bed and wait 15 minutes before getting out of bed.

  2. Eat smaller but more frequent meals. Avoid spicy, greasy, and acidic foods. Eating bland foods is best.

If nausea or vomiting becomes severe, notify your doctor. Always check with your doctor before you take any medication or herbal remedies.


During the first three months, you may feel exhausted much of the time, no matter how much you sleep. This will pass, but while you are feeling this way, take a nap when possible. What May Help: Eating well, staying hydrated, and exercising can help you get through this time in your pregnancy.


At least half of all pregnant women have problems with constipation. One of the reasons for this may be the changes in hormones that slow the movement of food through the digestive tract. During the last part of the pregnancy, pressure on your rectum from your uterus may add to the problem. Pregnant women who are constipated often also have hemorrhoids which are swollen veins in the rectum.

What May Help:

  1. Drink plenty of fluids, at least eight glasses each day. Include fruit juices, such as prune juice.

  2. Eat high-fiber food, like raw fruits and vegetables and bran cereals.

  3. Exercise daily.


In the last trimester, you may find that you have leg cramps. The pains are most common between 18 and 24 weeks. As the uterus grows, the round ligaments are pulled and stretched. Stretching ligaments can cause a sharp pain in your abdomen, usually on the side, or a dull ache.

What May Help:

  1. Stretching your legs before going to bed can help relieve cramps. If you get a cramp, flex your toes toward your knee to stretch the muscle and relieve the cramp.

  2. When you feel a pain in your abdomen, bend toward the pain to relieve it.

Contact your medical provider if you are experiencing severe pain that does not go away, pain accompanied by contractions or bleeding, or pains in the shoulder or neck.


An active bladder is caused by pressure from the growing uterus on the bladder, which holds the urine. As your uterus grows and rises higher into your abdomen, the symptoms usually disappear. However, they will probably recur toward the end of your third trimester when the baby drops into the pelvis and again presses against the bladder. You may find that you leak urine when you sneeze or cough.

What May Help:

  1. Avoid beverages and foods that contain caffeine which can make you need to pee more often.

  2. Limiting the amount of liquids you consume just before going to bed will help to keep you from having to wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

For more pregnancy symptoms and ways to ease them, see Part 2 next week.

At Life’s Choices we offer many resources to help you prepare for and manage the changes your body will be going through in the months ahead. Our Bright Course classes allow you to learn about pregnancy, parenting, and relationship issues.

These simple classes are available in our office or virtually and allow you to earn points to spend on baby items in our boutique. If you are interested in learning more, contact our office, and we will be happy to help you get started.


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