5. Other Changes You May Notice

In early pregnancy, you may need to go to the bathroom a lot. This can continue during most of your pregnancy. It may really get annoying near delivery because your uterus gets bigger and puts pressure on your bladder.

You may also notice breast changes. Tingling or soreness in the breasts or nipples is common. You may see a darkening of the areola or a lifting of the glands around the nipple. See Week 13 for more information on how breasts are affected by pregnancy.

Another early symptom of pregnancy is tiring easily, which may continue through pregnancy. See the discussion below. Take your prenatal vitamins and any other medications prescribed by your healthcare provider. Get enough rest. If you’re tired, stay away from sugar and caffeine; either can make the problem worse.

6. Fatigue in Pregnancy

You may feel exhausted early in pregnancy. It may be hard to get out of bed in the morning, or you may find yourself falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon. Don’t worry—this is normal, especially in early pregnancy. Your body uses a lot of energy as your baby grows.

Take time to deal with your fatigue. Do what you can. Rest during the day, if possible. To help fight fatigue, follow the 45-second rule—if it takes 45 seconds or less to take care of something, do it. This helps reduce fatigue and stress.

You may want to try some other things to help you feel better. Lavender can help you feel calm. One whiff may do the trick. Experts believe the smell helps you feel calmer. You may feel less stress if you keep a bouquet of pretty flowers on your desk or at home.

If You’re Absent from Work with Morning Sickness

If morning sickness causes you to be absent from your job, you may be interested to know the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) states you do not need a healthcare provider’s note verifying the problem. Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy is classified as a “chronic condition” and may require you to be out occasionally, but you don’t need treatment.

Nearly 80% of all pregnant women have trouble sleeping at some time in pregnancy. Some reasons include hormone changes and the size of your tummy. A short nap in the middle of the afternoon can pep you up and help make up for lost sleep.

Many moms-to-be wake up five or more times a night, which can cause fatigue during the day. Baby’s movements, leg cramps and shortness of breath may also keep you up later in pregnancy. It’s important to get enough rest during the night, especially late in pregnancy. Research shows women who slept fewer than 6 hours at night were four times more likely to have a Cesarean delivery.

7. How Your Actions Affect Your Baby’s Development

When Should You Visit the Healthcare Provider?

One of the first questions you may ask when you suspect you’re pregnant is, “When should I see my healthcare provider?” Good prenatal care is necessary for the health of the baby and mother-to-be. Make an appointment for your first prenatal visit as soon as you’re reasonably sure you’re pregnant. This could be as early as a few days after a missed period.

Getting Pregnant while Using Birth Control

If you’ve been using some type of birth control, tell your healthcare provider. No method is 100% effective. Occasionally a method fails, even oral contraceptives. Don’t panic if this happens to you. If you’re sure you’re pregnant, stop taking the pill and make an appointment as soon as possible.

Pregnancy can also occur with an intrauterine device (IUD). If this happens, see your healthcare provider immediately. Discuss whether the IUD should be removed or left in place. In most cases, an attempt is made to remove the IUD. If left in place, the risk of miscarriage increases slightly.

Home pregnancy-test kits were first introduced in 1976; in 1999 the average price for an at-home pregnancy kit was between $15 and $20. Today, a test averages $6 to $10. Some even cost as little as $1—and they’re accurate. A study compared pregnancy tests from dollar stores with tests used in doctors’ offices and clinics. The study found the dollarstore tests were just as sensitive as more expensive tests.

You may be using a spermicide, sponge or diaphragm when pregnancy occurs. They have not been shown to be harmful to a developing baby.

8. Your Nutrition

As discussed above, you may have to deal with nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. If you experience morning sickness, try some of the following suggestions.

• Eat small meals frequently to keep your stomach from being overfull.

• Drink lots of fluid.

• Find out what foods, smells or situations nauseate you. Avoid them when possible.

• Avoid coffee because it stimulates stomach acid.

• A high-protein or high-carbohydrate snack before bed may help.

• Ask your partner to make you some dry toast in the morning before you get up; eat it in bed. Or keep crackers or dry cereal near you to nibble on before you get up in the morning to help absorb stomach acid.

• Keep your bedroom cool at night, and air it out often. Cool, fresh air may help you feel better.

• Get out of bed slowly.

• If you take an iron supplement, take it an hour before meals or 2 hours after a meal.

• When you feel queasy, eat some soda crackers, cold chicken, pretzels or ginger snaps.

• Nibble on raw ginger, or pour boiling water over it and sip the “tea.”

• Salty foods help some women with nausea.

• Lemonade and watermelon may also relieve symptoms.

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