Fatigue is by far the most common complaint during the first trimester, says Roger Harms, MD, editor of The Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Aside from the simple fact that building a baby uses a tremendous amount of your body's resources, you can also blame a steep increase in the hormone progesterone, which is known to have a sedating effect. The extreme sleepiness usually tapers off by eight to 10 weeks and rarely lasts beyond 13 weeks.
Feel better fast: The most important thing is to slow down. Take naps, go to bed early, and let the housecleaning slide for now. You should also continue to exercise -- though you may need to cut back on the intensity of your workouts. In addition to helping you tolerate pregnancy and labor better, exercise can actually increase your energy level, says Terry Hoffman, MD, an ob-gyn at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Not used to working out? Ask your doctor if it's okay to start a simple routine, such as walking for 20 minutes a day.
For most women, nausea tends to rear its ugly head early in the day -- hence the term "morning sickness" -- but you can also feel sick in the afternoon or even all day long. Increased levels of estrogen in early pregnancy seem to stimulate a part of the brain that triggers nausea and vomiting. Estrogen also affects your gastrointestinal tract, relaxing smooth muscle tissue and causing your food to digest at a slower pace, which can result in an upset stomach. Generally, the queasiness settles down around 13 or 14 weeks.
Feel better fast: Doctors advise eating frequent, small meals and staying away from fatty, fried, or spicy foods. "Plain saltine crackers cured me every time," says James Mowery-Bromberg, a New York City mother of three. Keep some by your bed and eat a few before sitting up in the morning. Ginger ale or ginger tea can also help. For a severe case, talk to your doctor.
Frequent urination is another common complaint of the first trimester. It partly has to do with anatomy: As your uterus grows during early pregnancy, it puts more pressure on your bladder, making you feel like you have to pee more often. Also, the amount of blood in your body increases dramatically in pregnancy, which means your kidneys process more fluid that ultimately winds up in your bladder. The situation usually improves by 14 to 16 weeks, when the weight of your growing uterus pulls it forward so it's resting more on your abdominal wall and less on your bladder. But don't be surprised if you're urinating frequently again at the end of your pregnancy, when your baby drops deeper into your pelvis and again puts pressure on your bladder.
Feel better fast: There's not much you can do beyond going when you need to go. Don't cut back on liquids: Your body needs more water, not less, to sustain your increased blood levels and amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Tender, swollen breasts or sore nipples are typical in early pregnancy, as surging hormones prompt them to begin preparing to make milk. "Mine got so big I named one Everest and the other Kilimanjaro," says Lori Richmond, of Brooklyn, who grew into an E cup when she was pregnant with her son, Cooper. Your breasts will keep growing throughout the nine months, but the soreness should subside by week 12.
Feel better fast: Look for a bra made with soft, stretchy fabric: Avoid restrictive underwires, which can dig painfully into your tender breasts. If you're a D cup or larger, you might also want wide, padded straps for extra support. At night, try wearing a snug-fitting tank top or a soft cotton sleep bra.
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