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Health & Pregnancy

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First Trimester of Pregnancy

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What to Expect: Changes in Your Body continued...

Discharge. It's normal to see a thin, milky white discharge (called leukorrhea) early in your pregnancy. You can wear a panty liner if it makes you feel more comfortable, but don't use a tampon because it can introduce germs into the vagina. If the discharge is foul-smelling, green, or yellow, or if there's a lot of clear discharge, call your doctor.

Fatigue. Your body is working hard to support a growing fetus, which can wear you out more easily than usual. Take naps or rest when you need to throughout the day. Also make sure you're getting enough iron (too little can lead to anemia, which can cause excess fatigue).

Food cravings and aversions. Although you may not want a bowl of mint chip ice cream topped with dill pickles, as the old stereotype goes, your tastes can change while you're pregnant. More than 60% of pregnant women experience food cravings, and more than half have food aversions, according to research. Giving in to cravings from time to time is OK, provided you are generally eating healthy, low-calorie foods. The exception is pica -- a craving for non-foods like clay, dirt, and laundry starch, which can be dangerous for you and your baby. If you experience this kind of craving, report it to your doctor right away.

Frequent urination. Your baby is still pretty small, but your uterus is growing and it's putting pressure on your bladder. As a result, you may feel like you constantly have to go to the bathroom. Don't stop drinking fluids -- your body needs them -- but do cut down on caffeine (which stimulates the bladder), especially before bedtime. When nature calls, answer it as soon as you can. Don't hold it in.

Heartburn. During pregnancy, your body produces more of the progesterone hormone which relaxes smooth muscles -- including the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus that normally keeps food and acids down in your stomach. This muscle relaxation can lead to acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn. To avoid the burn, eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day; don't lie down right after eating; and avoid greasy, spicy, and acidic foods (like citrus fruits). You can also try raising your pillows when you sleep.

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