- Overcoming Exhaustion in the 1st Trimester
- What causes 1st trimester exhaustion?
- Trail mix
- Supplements During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Not
- Energy Foods During Pregnancy
- More About Healthy Pregnancy Snacks
- Fatigue During Pregnancy
- Fatigue During Pregnancy First Trimester
- Fatigue During Pregnancy Second Trimester
- Fatigue During Pregnancy Third Trimester
- When does pregnancy fatigue start and end?
- Pregnancy fatigue remedies and tips
- More About Pregnancy Sleep
- What causes pregnancy fatigue?
- Can fatigue hurt my baby?
- When to call the doctor
- Why Your Energy Tanks During Pregnancy—and How to Get It Back
- The Best Natural Ways to Fight Pregnancy Fatigue
- 5 Ways to Fight Pregnancy Exhaustion
- 5 easy ways to boost energy in pregnancy
Overcoming Exhaustion in the 1st Trimester
If you’ve yet to be pregnant, it is difficult to fully wrap your mind around what its like. Your body is going through a wide range of internal and external changes in preparation for nurturing an additional life.
With these various changes, a lot of symptoms begin to appear.
One common symptom is extreme exhaustion.
This is not the same thing as just feeling really tired, but rather an all-consuming, no-escape type of fatigue.
What causes 1st trimester exhaustion?
During the first trimester, your body is literally creating an additional life-support system, heavily-taxing your energy levels.
While the biggest building process involves making the placenta, the following life changes can also contribute to your exhaustion:
- Mood swings
- Frequent nightly bathroom visits (due to high progesterone levels and a growing uterus)
- Body aches making it hard to fall asleep
- Nausea and vomiting keep you up at night
Yes – the first trimester of pregnancy is often the most exhausting. However, there are some things you can do!
Apply these seven tips to effectively manage fatigue and combat first trimester exhaustion:
Schedule more time to sleep
Simply giving yourself more time to sleep can help keep you energized throughout the day.
Listen to your body. Take a power nap if you need to, but try to limit the length to one hour, at most. Napping for too long may leave you feeling more sluggish.
Teresa Ann Hoffman, M.D. is an OB-GYN at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. Teresa suggests napping between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. to avoid having problems falling asleep at night.
Take advantage of your burst of energy and, if possible, take a power nap when you are feeling sluggish. It’s all about balance.
Not convinced? Check out WebMD’s article on the Secrets of Power Naps.
Drinking plenty of water should always be a priority. However, dehydration during pregnancy will lead to increased fatigue. Avoid the heat if possible as this can increase the chances of becoming dehydrated.
According to The Institute of Medicine, a pregnant woman residing in a temperate climate should aim to consume about 100 ounces of water over the course of a day (approx. eight 12oz glasses).
Spread out your intake of water, making sure to not drink too much in the few hours before bed.
Trying to get it out of the way by drinking large amounts of water at one time will leave you feeling overly full. Instead, keep a water container with you and take sips throughout the day.
Don’t resist help
Did someone offer their help but you declined? Why? Take advantage of this precious opportunity to squeeze in a nap while your significant other, family, or friends do housework, run errands, or whatever lifesaving task they have offered to take on for you.
You don’t have to be super woman.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You may be shocked at how many people will jump up to help you when asked.
Taking daily naps may seem far more appealing than exercise, but staying active will help you to feel better. The increased oxygen intake and circulation keep you from feeling fatigued.
However, avoid adding a late-night gym regiment to your to-do list. This can lead to insomnia. The earlier you can exercise during the day, the better.
If you were active prior to becoming pregnant, it’s okay to scale down your duration and intensity. Don’t worry about pushing yourself to the absolute limit. You want to end your activity feeling energized, not more exhausted.
If you weren’t as active as you’d have liked prior to pregnancy and don’t know where to start, check out these great pregnancy approved workouts!
Giving your body proper nutrition should always be a priority, but it is even that much more important when you are pregnant.
As long as you are a healthy weight during the first trimester there isn’t a need to change your calorie count. Instead, focus on foods that will provide rich sources of energy, such as protein and complex carbohydrates.
Also, make sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin, while avoiding processed foods. Foods with little nutritional value can leave you feeling sluggish.
Eat often, 6 mini meals a day, to keep your energy level high. Think of it like an opportunity to snack all day; win-win!
A study by Louisiana State University School of Medicine showed that female athletes with chronic energy deficit could cause musculoskeletal and reproductive dysfunction. So make sure that you ingest enough calories so that you’re not running on a deficit.
Many of us are used to reaching for coffee when needing a boost. However, first trimester exhaustion won’t necessarily be helped by a cup-of-joe. If you choose to consume caffeine during your pregnancy, but are having issues sleeping at night, limit your caffeine intake to the morning.
Sugar and caffeine may seem like a quick fix, but could lead to a big energy crash later on.
We understand that for some, a morning cup of coffee is non-negotiable, so be aware of the effects it may have on your body as well as your developing baby.
If you are seriously addicted and need some options for healthy and safe alternatives, check out this article by Care2.
Manage your stress
Sometimes, stress can be good.
Seriously. It helps to motivate and get us chasing dreams. It can even boost your immune system and sharpen your focus, but only to a point.
Too much of anything is never good. Significant stress can cause lasting damage on your body and increase your feelings of exhaustion.
The Journal of Midwifery published a study about pregnant women who were experiencing exhaustion. They concluded that fatigue and psychological variables (such as depression, anger, anxiety, and confusion) are connected.
Interestingly however, fatigue was not connected to environmental variables, such as number of hours at work or the number of children at home. The final data suggests that this particular exhaustion cannot be resolved with rest, but rather with relieving your stress levels.
Finding your go to stress-relieving activity is a lifesaver. This applies well beyond the duration of your pregnancy.
If you’re still searching for your activity, try any of the following:
- Progressive relaxation
- Take a Yoga class
- Breathe deeply, using your abdominal muscles
- Listen to music
- Make yourself a cup of tea
- Enjoy some light exercise
- Prayer or participation in a spiritual/religious community
- Get a massage
- Keep a journal
- Get lost in a good book
Saltines are a pregnant girl’s best friend
As you may well know by now, morning sickness could be to blame if you’re experiencing first trimester exhaustion. All that time spent feeling nauseous and in front of the toilet can take a serious toll on your energy levels.
If you are suffering through morning sickness at all hours of the night, keep saltines on your nightstand. Saltines are a perfect snack to suppress midnight queasiness.
When you feel the nausea coming on, take a few nibbles of a saltine to try and calm your stomach, allowing you to hopefully get a solid night of sleep.
If you are experiencing first trimester exhaustion, know that you are not alone.
It can seem ridiculous at times, when you feel like nothing has changed, but it has. You are growing a human life in your body (!) and that takes more energy than you can imagine.
You can find more great pregnancy tips and information on your upcoming adventure on our website. If you have any other tricks for expecting mothers to help combat first trimester exhaustion, share with us below or post on our Facebook page! We always love hearing what works for our readers!
Keep our tips in mind and just keep pushing on. If you have any concerns, make sure that you discuss them with your doctor.
When your energy is low, it’s tempting to give in to cravings for caffeine and sugar – anything to help get you through the day. Instead, choose foods that are rich in protein or fiber to give your body the fuel it needs to keep going. Here are 10 of our favorites.
At just 78 calories and 6 grams of protein, the egg is a protein powerhouse. And it’s loaded with other nutrients as well, especially in the yolks, says Jonny Bowden, author of The 150 Most Effective Ways to Boost Your Energy. “People avoid the yolk because they’re worried about cholesterol, but egg yolks contain choline, which is critical for memory.”
Loaded with stress-reducing B vitamins and soluble fiber, oatmeal is the perfect choice for an energy boost. Dietary fiber fills you up without weighing you down, keeps blood sugar levels in check, and helps prevent the overwhelming desire to snooze at 3 p.m. Add a few nutrient-rich berries on top, and you’ve got the snack of champions.
“Not only are fiber-rich apples an excellent choice for a mid-afternoon snack, they’re also disease-fighting powerhouses,” says Pamela Nisevich, sports nutrition consultant at Swim, Bike, Run, Eat! What’s more, apples contain boron, a mineral that helps keep you alert.
Pumpkin is loaded with potassium, which helps your heart and muscles function better, says Bowden. Plus, it’s packed with fiber (which helps stabilize blood sugar levels) and vitamin A (which helps keep your immune system strong enough to fight off energy-draining infections). Add canned pumpkin to rice for a quick, healthy risotto.
How many other foods help protect your heart, boost brainpower, and make you feel happy to boot? Salmon is packed with vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 essential fatty acids which research suggests can boost your mood. Plus, it’s lower in fat and calories than most other protein sources. If you’re pregnant, make sure your salmon is fully cooked – seared, smoked, or raw fish is not recommended.
While peanuts are high in calories, they’re also more filling than other foods, and they naturally curb your calorie intake throughout the day. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that when people consumed 500 calories of peanuts daily for 19 weeks, their resting metabolic rate increased by 11 percent – even without added exercise.
“Trail mix is quite possibly the world’s perfect energy booster,” says Nisevich. “It’s packed with enough carbs and protein to get you up the trail or over the mountain.” To avoid added sugar and fat, make your own mix with nutrient-rich dried cranberries or apricots and heart-healthy nuts like pistachios and almonds.
These quick-cooking legumes are a great source of soluble fiber, which gives you steady, slow-burning energy while stabilizing your blood sugar. That fiber – along with folate and magnesium – also helps protect your heart. Finally, lentils are a healthy source of iron, a nutrient you need more of when you’re pregnant or lactating. Serve them with whole grains for a complete protein – meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids.
Yogurt boasts higher concentrations of protein, calcium, and vitamin D than milk. Plus many brands of yogurt have live active cultures, which can aid digestion. Try organic or Greek yogurt since it’s less likely to be loaded with artificial ingredients, sugar, and preservatives.
This yummy spread is made from chickpeas, sesame seeds, lemon, and olive oil. It’s a great source of protein and fiber, as well as iron, vitamin C, and folate. Use it as a dip for carrots, peppers, and whole wheat pita strips.
Supplements During Pregnancy: What’s Safe and What’s Not
Just like medications, all micronutrient and herbal supplements should be approved and supervised by your doctor to ensure that they are necessary and taken in safe amounts.
Always purchase vitamins from a reputable brand that volunteers to have their products evaluated by third-party organizations like the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP).
This ensures that the vitamins live up to quality standards and are generally safe to take.
1. Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are multivitamins that are specially formulated to meet the increased demand for micronutrients during pregnancy.
They are intended to be taken before conception and during pregnancy and lactation.
Observational studies have shown that supplementing with prenatal vitamins reduces the risk of preterm birth and preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a potentially dangerous complication characterized by high blood pressure and possibly protein in the urine (12, 13).
While prenatal vitamins are not meant to replace a healthy diet, they may help prevent nutritional gaps by providing extra micronutrients that are in high demand during pregnancy.
Since prenatal vitamins contain the vitamins and minerals that pregnant women need, taking additional vitamin or mineral supplements may not be necessary unless suggested by your doctor.
Prenatal vitamins are often prescribed by doctors and also available over-the-counter.
Folate is a B vitamin that plays an integral role in DNA synthesis, red blood cell production and fetal growth and development (14).
Folic acid is the synthetic form of folate found in many supplements. It gets converted into the active form of folate, L-methylfolate, in the body.
It is recommended that pregnant women take 600 ug of folate or folic acid per day in order to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and congenital abnormalities like cleft palate and heart defects (15).
In a review of five randomized studies including 6,105 women, supplementing with folic acid daily was associated with a reduced risk of neural tube defects. No negative side effects were noted (16).
Although adequate folate can be obtained through diet, many women don’t eat enough folate-rich foods, making supplementation necessary (17).
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all women of childbearing age consume at least 400 mg of folate or folic acid per day.
This is because many pregnancies are unplanned, and birth defects from a folate deficiency can occur very early in pregnancy, even before most women know they are pregnant.
It may be wise for pregnant women, especially those with an MTHFR genetic mutation, to choose a supplement that contains L-methylfolate to ensure maximum uptake (18).
The need for iron increases significantly during pregnancy, as maternal blood volume increases by nearly 50% (19).
Iron is critical for oxygen transport and healthy growth and development of the fetus and placenta.
The prevalence of iron deficiency in pregnant women in the US is around 18%, and 5% of these women are anemic (20).
Anemia during pregnancy has been associated with preterm delivery, maternal depression and infant anemia (21, 22).
The recommended intake of 27 mg iron per day can be met through most prenatal vitamins. However, pregnant women with iron deficiency or anemia need higher doses of iron, managed by their doctor.
Pregnant women that are not iron deficient should not take more than the recommended intake of iron to avoid adverse side effects. These may include constipation, vomiting and abnormally high hemoglobin levels (23).
4. Vitamin D
This fat-soluble vitamin is important for immune function, bone health and cell division.
Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of cesarean section, preeclampsia, preterm birth and gestational diabetes (24).
The current recommended intake of vitamin D during pregnancy is 600 IU per day. However, some experts suggest that vitamin D needs during pregnancy are much higher (25).
All pregnant women should speak with their doctor regarding screening for vitamin D deficiency and proper supplementation.
Magnesium is a mineral involved in hundreds of chemical reactions in your body. It plays critical roles in immune, muscle and nerve function (26).
Deficiency in this mineral during pregnancy may increase the risk of chronic hypertension and premature labor (27).
Some studies suggest that supplementing with magnesium may reduce the risk of complications like fetal growth restriction and preterm birth (28).
Ginger root is commonly used as a spice and herbal supplement.
In supplement form, it’s most commonly used to treat nausea caused by motion sickness, pregnancy or chemotherapy.
A review of four studies suggested that ginger is both safe and effective for treating pregnancy-induced nausea and vomiting (29).
Nausea and vomiting are common during pregnancy, with up to 80% of women experiencing this in the first trimester of pregnancy (30).
Though ginger may help reduce this unpleasant pregnancy complication, more research is needed to identify the maximum safe dosage.
7. Fish Oil
Fish oil contains DHA and EPA, two essential fatty acids that are important for fetal brain development.
Supplementing with DHA and EPA in pregnancy might boost infant brain development and decrease maternal depression, though research on this topic is inconclusive.
Although observational studies have shown improved cognitive function in the children of women who supplemented with fish oil during pregnancy, several controlled studies have failed to show a consistent benefit.
For example, one study involving 2,399 women found no difference in the cognitive function of infants whose mothers had supplemented with fish oil capsules containing 800 mg of DHA per day during pregnancy, compared to infants whose mothers did not (31).
This study also found that supplementing with fish oil had no effect on maternal depression.
However, the study found that supplementing with fish oil protected against preterm delivery, and some evidence suggests that fish oil may benefit fetal eye development (32).
Maternal DHA levels are important for proper fetal development and supplementing is considered safe. The jury is still out on whether taking fish oil during pregnancy is necessary.
To get DHA and EPA through diet, pregnant women are encouraged to consume two to three servings of low-mercury fish like salmon, sardines or pollock per week.
With an increasing interest in gut health, many moms-to-be turn to probiotics.
Probiotics are living microorganisms that are thought to benefit digestive health.
Many studies have shown that probiotics are safe to take during pregnancy, and no harmful side effects have been identified, aside from an extremely low risk of probiotic-induced infection (33).
Additionally, several studies have shown that supplementing with probiotics may reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, postpartum depression and infant eczema and dermatitis (34, 35, 36, 37).
Research on probiotic use in pregnancy is ongoing, and more about the role of probiotics in maternal and fetal health is sure to be discovered.
Summary Supplements like folate, iron and prenatal vitamins are considered safe for pregnant women. It is important to always discuss any supplement, whether it is a vitamin, mineral or herb, with your doctor.
Energy Foods During Pregnancy
Too pooped to pop these days (or meet friends for dinner, or make it halfway down that to-do list, or actually stay up for a prime time special — never mind the late show)? Of course you are…you’re pregnant! And while there may not yet be any evidence on the outside that you’re busily building a baby, there’s plenty going on inside at 9 weeks pregnant — and it’s all hard work, the hardest work your body has ever done. To fuel the baby-making factory that’s in operation 24/7, you’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your metabolism is burning energy overtime (even when you’re lying down), and you’re using up more nutrients and water. What’s more, your body’s still in the process of manufacturing your baby’s placenta (which won’t be complete until the fourth month). It’s not surprising that you’re always fighting fatigue — and feeling like you’re fighting a losing battle.
So what’s an exhausted mom-to-be to do (other than crawl into bed at the first opportunity)? Thinking of reaching for a candy bar, a grande Caramel Frappuccino, or one of those jolt-in-a-can energy drinks to get your engine revved up again (at least revved up enough so you can make it through the afternoon)? You might want to think again…before you get caught Red-Bull-handed. While these popular energy boosters work, they work only briefly — and at a high cost to your energy. The sugar and caffeine combo they contain causes a sharp rise in blood sugar — followed by a quick, deep plummet, leaving you even more tired than when you first undid the wrapper or took a sip. Riding such a blood-sugar roller coaster is never a great idea (the highs and lows can be dizzying), but it’s a particularly poor strategy now that you have someone else along for the ride. For the baby’s sake and yours (and for the sake of all the work you have to get done), you need an energy boost that lasts — and one that, preferably, adds nutritional value to your day. You won’t find that in sugary and/or caffeinated snacks. (Excessive caffeine can be harmful to your baby for a number of other reasons — see Taming the Caffeine Habit for details.) But you will find it in high-quality energy-boosting foods. Here’s the lowdown on which foods will give you a lift that lasts:
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Pro-energy protein. Protein is nature’s ultimate pick-me-up. It provides you with the kind of energy that keeps you going — instead of leaving you flat (and flat on your back) in the middle of the day. Better still, the amino acids in protein-rich foods will also aid in the development of your baby’s rapidly reproducing cells. You need approximately 75 grams of it per day when you’re expecting — and luckily, most people get that much protein each day without even trying (especially if they picked up the high-protein habit while doing low-carb diets). You can pack it all in (and more) by eating just one 9-ounce steak, but that’s not the best way to get your protein high during pregnancy. First, it’s tough to chew your way through so much meat when you’re exhausted (and nauseated). Second, digesting a large amount of food (especially when it’s high in fat) takes energy you don’t have and can make you more fatigued. Third, it’s best to get your protein fixes (and all your nutrient fixes) in small bites, literally — grazing on five or six small meals a day is a much more efficient way of keeping your energy on an even keel. Happily, steak’s not the only game in town. You can find lower-fat sources of protein in:
- lean meat
- fish and seafood
- tofu and soy products (soy pasta, edamame)
- beans, lentils, split peas
- nuts and seeds
Complex carbs are calling. Has the word carb become a four letter one in your diet plan? Redefine it by choosing healthy complex carbohydrates that nourish your baby and fuel your energy needs. Check out this list of healthy carb options that reads like the roster of a nutritional all-star team (no Krispy Kremes in sight):
- fresh fruits
- dried and freeze-dried fruits
- fresh vegetables
- whole-grain breads, crackers, and cereals
- baked potatoes (with skins on)
- dried beans and peas
Introducing iron. Fatigue, especially if it’s really keeping a good pregnant woman down, can be related to iron-deficiency anemia, especially as pregnancy progresses and the demands of blood making start to take their toll. Making sure you get some iron-rich foods daily (as well as an iron supplement after week 20) will keep your irons stores elevated and help pump up your energy level. You can find iron from these healthy sources:
- iron-fortified cereals
- dried fruit
- soy products
- lean red meat
- cooked dried beans
And make sure you’re getting your pregnancy share of calories. Now that you’re making a baby, you need 300 extra calories to fuel his or her growth. Get less than that amount, and you’ll undercut the energy needed to grow a baby — as well as the energy you need to get through your day.
Best Foods to Eat While Pregnant
- What to Drink During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Weight Gain
Between “morning” sickness that can last all day, exhaustion and the myriad of aches and pains that can happen during pregnancy, sometimes eating healthy foods, exercise and rest aren’t enough or even doable.
Although prenatal vitamins are necessary, supplements may be just what your body needs to quickly feel better.
Before taking any kind of supplement however, talk to your doctor to make sure it’s compatible with your prenatal vitamin, how much you should take and how to find a reputable brand.
Here are nine of the most common pregnancy complaints and the best vitamin and mineral and supplements to relieve symptoms.
1. Morning sickness
Between 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women will experience nausea and vomiting, especially during the first trimester when hormones are in full force.
Although you can try things like ginger, bland crackers or acupressure, one of the most effective and safe supplements you can take is vitamin B6. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends between 10 to 25 milligrams taken three or four times a day.
Although it’s common to feel tired when you’re pregnant— you’re growing a human after all— certain supplements can give you a boost of energy.
Iron is a good one to start with since many women are already iron deficient when they become pregnant because of menstruation or a lack or iron in the diet, said Dr. Arielle Levitan, a board-certified internal medicine physician in Chicago, Il., co-author of “The Vitamin Solution,” and co-founder of Vous Vitamin.
The deficiency can worsen during pregnancy because your baby depletes your iron stores further, which also lowers your energy.
Ask your doctor to check your iron levels and recommend a type of iron that won’t cause upset stomach and constipation such as carbonyl iron, Levitan said.
Other supplements that can help include B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids and iodine. Iodine supports the thyroid gland, which regulates energy and metabolism.
3. Acid reflux
Acid reflux is common during pregnancy and up to 45 percent of women complain of heartburn, indigestion and belching. Eating small meals throughout the day, avoiding large meals before bedtime as well as spicy and acidic foods can help. Yet if acid reflux persists, digestive enzymes taken with your meal can also help ease the burn.
Pregnancy hormones coupled with food aversions to vegetables and cravings for carb-heavy fare can make it hard to go. What’s more, although it’s important to get enough iron during pregnancy it can also make you constipated.
Vitamin C can help improve iron absorption, which may mean you can take less iron. Higher doses can also work as a stool softener when needed, said Helen Saul Case, the Lockport, NY-based author of “Vitamins & Pregnancy: The Real Story.” Or consider magnesium citrate because it also acts as a laxative.
Constipation, straining and the pressure from your baby on your rectum and perineum can cause hemorrhoids or make them worse. Although the best way to prevent hemorrhoids is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, high-fiber foods, and drink water, vitamin E applied topically can help reduce the pain, burning and itching.
Pain in your lower back, muscle aches and round ligament pain are all common during pregnancy and one of the best supplements that can alleviate the pain is magnesium.
“Magnesium is such an extremely important mineral for absolutely everybody about half of us aren’t getting half of the recommended dietary allowance of magnesium in our diets,” Saul Case said.
That’s because it’s nearly impossible to get enough through diet alone since only about 50 percent of what you eat is absorbed.
Another way to get your dose of magnesium is to soak in a warm bath with Epsom salt to relax sore, tense muscles.
Vitamin C, which strengthens ligaments and tendons, also eases pain. Saul Case recommends 4,000 milligrams a day during the first trimester, 6,000 milligrams during the second trimester and 10,000 to 15,000 milligrams in the third trimester.
This high-dose vitamin C therapy pioneered by Dr. Frederick R. Klenner, has been shown to prevent postpartum hemorrhages, cardiac fetal distress, shorten labor and reduce labor pain.
7. Leg cramps
A magnesium supplement is also the best supplement for leg cramps. Other supplements to consider include vitamin C, calcium, selenium and zinc. Studies show vitamin E may also help ease leg cramps but high doses should be avoided, Levitan said.
The intense pain, nausea, and sensitivity to light and sound can make migraine headaches during pregnancy downright miserable and they may be due to vitamin deficiencies.
In fact, research recently presented at the annual scientific meeting of the American Headache Society found that people who suffer from frequent migraines were more likely to have low levels of vitamin D, riboflavin (B-2) and CoQ10.
Niacin (vitamin B3), taken at the onset of pain is one of the most effective ways to ward off a migraine, although it can create a “flush,” and make your skin red and itchy.
“I have found that niacin is not only effective at getting rid of the migraine, the side effect is less uncomfortable than getting a full-blown migraine,” Saul Case said.
9. Bleeding gums
Although it’s common for your gums to bleed a bit when you brush or floss, vitamin C can help prevent it altogether.
“If the capillary walls weaken they tend to bleed and vitamin C strengthens the bond and holds cells together,” Saul Case said.
Fatigue During Pregnancy
Fatigue is a common symptom during pregnancy. Some women may feel exhausted throughout their pregnancy, while some may hardly feel tired at all. Although experience with fatigue tends to vary, most women will feel more tired than usual during their pregnancy. Fatigue during pregnancy is most common during the first trimester. It tends to go away during the second trimester, but will usually return in the third trimester.
Fatigue During Pregnancy First Trimester
During early pregnancy, hormonal changes are likely the cause of fatigue. Your body is producing more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby. Your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower. Hormones especially increased progesterone levels, are responsible for making you sleepy. In addition to the physical changes occurring in your body, emotional changes can contribute to decreased energy.
Whether the pregnancy is planned or unplanned, you may experience anxiety about motherhood, worry about the baby’s health, or even experience conflicting feelings about your pregnancy. It is important to understand that your emotions do play a part in how you feel physically, and all of these things are a natural and normal part of pregnancy.
Fatigue During Pregnancy Second Trimester
During your second trimester, there is a good chance your energy level will increase and you will start to feel more like your old self. Many women take advantage of this time during the pregnancy to accomplish important tasks, as energy levels will likely decrease again in the third trimester. This is often called “The Happy Trimester.” Now don’t be alarmed if during this trimester you still experience fatigue. More than likely it will be less obvious, but unfortunately, fatigue during pregnancy is still possible during the second trimester.
Fatigue During Pregnancy Third Trimester
In late pregnancy, you will most likely begin to feel tired again. At this point you will be carrying extra weight from the baby, maybe having trouble sleeping, and dealing with frequent urination more often. The following are a list of ways to cope with the fatigue you may be experiencing.
Coping Steps for Fatigue During Pregnancy
- Rest– Make sure you allow yourself to get extra bed rest during the times you feel fatigued. This can be accomplished by going to bed earlier or taking a nap during the day, if possible. Avoiding fluids several hours before bed is also a good way to cut down on the number of times you have to get up at night to use the bathroom.
- Adjust Schedule – If your current commitments or activities prove to be too draining during pregnancy, you may have to temporarily adjust your schedule to be less busy. This can include cutting back your hours at work, if possible, or asking friends and family to assist you with housework/errands.
- Eat a Balanced Diet– Eating nutritious meals will go a long way toward supporting your energy levels. Make sure you get enough iron, protein, and calories. Fatigue can become worse if you are not getting the proper nutrients. Also, you will need to ensure you stay hydrated during your pregnancy.
- Moderate Exercise – Although you may feel like you do not have the energy to exercise, if you incorporate moderate activity, such as a 30-minute walk, this will actually make you feel more energized. Exercise is beneficial in pregnancy unless your healthcare provider has advised otherwise.
Last updated: October 15, 2019 at 19:52 pm
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Roger W. Harms, M.D., E.-I.-C. Mayo Clinic: Guide to a healthy pregnancy. USA: American Academy of Pediatrics.
Before I even realized I was pregnant with my third child there were a few weeks when I thought something was seriously wrong with my body.
Was someone slipping me a sleeping pill?
Was I eating too many carbs?
Was my body starting to reject caffeine?
I would lie on my floor and let my two toddlers climb on me telling them I was a jungle gym just so I could shut my eyes and be semi-conscious while knowing they were close. There was no other way to get through the day and I had to give in.
I had never felt such a heavy tiredness in my life until I realized, oh yes I have — the first trimesters during my other two pregnancies — and ran out to get a test.
Pregnancy fatigue comes on hard and fast in your first trimester. You literally cannot keep your eyes open past 8 p.m. and getting out of bed is impossible without walking into things.
Lying down means you are sure to be asleep in two seconds flat so binge-watching Netflix is a thing of the past.
My ex-husband used to get upset every night as I was drifting off on the sofa during the evening news since it was the only alone time we had together after working all day. But the truth is, I didn’t have a choice — the first trimester of pregnancy takes every damn thing out of you.
My midwife told him to shut it during one of our appointments after he’d mentioned how tired I was. She reminded him I was growing a set of legs, a brain, a heart, and a liver in my uterus and yeah, something that epic tends to wear you out a bit.
It’s a shame we can’t sleep right through those first three months.
And if you’re pregnant and have little ones running around, your days consist of thinking of ways you can stay awake. It’s a matter of survival so forget about signing up to be the snack mom or offering to volunteer for the annual Christmas craft fair.
Going out for errands takes a different kind of strength when you are in your first trimester and have kids to tote along with you.
You get take out all the damn time because all your energy is focused on surviving and who has the energy to cook at a time like this?
And the house? Forget about it. There is no reason to kill yourself trying to keep it clean, because picking up while you are growing a human really does feel like self-harm.
Between your growing body and lack of energy, plans get canceled all the time — your mind and body simply cannot go out to socialize and show up the way it used to.
Falling asleep mid-conversation with a seltzer water in your hand isn’t your idea of a good time. All you want is a night in bed with a body pillow and a dozen cookies. That’s the fuel you need to manage tending to our lives the next day.
Not to get too scientific on you, but we’re about to get more scientific on you: This extreme fatigue you feel in early pregnancy is not in your head, so don’t fight it. It’s caused by hormonal changes, and the fact your body is producing more blood to give your growing baby the nutrients they need. All that extra blood means your heart is working overtime, leading to higher heart rate. Coupled with lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, lower iron levels, and a spiked production of progesterone, you are basically sleep walking your way through the first 13 weeks of your pregnancy. Women with symptoms of morning sickness and nausea may feel especially drained as so much effort goes into projectile vomiting your nutritious meals (or, you know, a bagel and a heaping serving of schmear). Not to mention any stress or emotion you feel about the life change bringing a new person into the family will create.
There is planning to be done, new clothes and supplies to buy. Thinking about how you are going to juggle it all can wipe out any energy you have left.
The good thing is, for a lot of women, your energy will return a bit during the second trimester — this is when I’d nested hard and felt like I could get things done. But don’t get used to it. You might crash again during your third trimester since your belly has grown enough to make it hard to get comfortable during sleep. And when your do enter dreamland, you will be up every 5 minutes to pee.
Let yourself be tired during the first trimester and don’t worry about the dirty dishes in the sink or getting everything in order for the new baby.
Make sure to ask for help, take those sick or personal days, and start skipping outings at the park or story hour at the library if you need to. Your body (and new baby) are sending you signals it’s time to rest up because all your energy is going into making a human being and it’s one of the most awesome things your body will ever do.
So, by all means, take the extra nap if you can, delegate more cleaning and cooking to your partner, download all your favorite fast food apps on your phone. Lie down and shut your eyes whenever your life allows.
You have a free pass, don’t waste it.
Related: Early Pregnancy Symptoms: The Very First Signs You Might Be Pregnant
You’re having trouble lifting your head off the pillow, you’re dragging your feet all day, and you can’t wait to crawl into bed as soon as you arrive home at night. Sound familiar?
If it does, you’re in good company. It’s normal to feel tired when you’re pregnant — and pregnancy fatigue can be especially pronounced during the early months and in the weeks before birth.
When does pregnancy fatigue start and end?
Fatigue is an early sign of pregnancy nearly all women experience in the first trimester that can begin in the weeks after conception and implantation.
Fatigue during early pregnancy typically gets better around the start of the second trimester. Pregnancy fatigue often returns in the third trimester, though it varies from pregnancy to pregnancy.
Pregnancy Fatigue Explained
Pregnancy fatigue remedies and tips
Fatigue during pregnancy is a sensible signal from your body that you need to take it easier these days. So listen up, and get the rest you need. You may be able to recapture some of that get-up-and-go with the following tips:
- Baby yourself. If you’re a first-time mom, enjoy this chance to focus on taking care of yourself. If you already have kids at home, you’ll have to divide your focus. This isn’t the time to strive for super-mom-to-be status. Let the dishes wait until later sometimes, and try not to worry about constantly cleaning. If you’re able to hire someone to do it for you, all the better. Enlist help with checking off your to-do’s, and don’t book too many activities all at once if you can avoid it. If you’re tired, try to rest when you can and pace yourself. Not much of a napper? There’s never been a better time to try!
- Ask for help. You’ll be doing plenty of heavy lifting in the coming months, so let your partner, family and friends know how sapped you are so they can take on a fair share. If anyone in your circle asks about giving you a hand, say yes! Having someone else pick up the groceries can mean you might have enough energy left to get yourself out for a walk (before getting yourself into bed).
- Push up your bedtime. This may be stating the obvious, but if you’re perpetually sleepy, getting even an hour more sleep at night when you’re pregnant can pick you up in the morning. Just don’t overdo the dozing, since too many Zzzs can actually leave you feeling more tired.
- Try to relax more. Exhausted at the end of the day? Spend evenings relaxing, preferably with your feet up, instead of stepping out. And don’t wait until nightfall to take it easy. If you can squeeze in a nap or a rest during the day, by all means go for it. If you’re having trouble sleeping, at least try to lie down and rest or take brief cat naps. If you’re working, a snooze at the office may not be an option (unless you have a flexible schedule and access to a sofa), but putting your feet up at your desk or in a break room during lunch or downtime may be possible.
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- Get your other children involved. Pregnant and have other children at home? You may be extra tired, for obvious reasons. Or fatigue may be less noticeable, since you’re already accustomed to it (or too busy to pay attention). Either way, it’s not easy to make yourself a priority when you have kids clamoring for your attention. But try. Explain to them that growing a baby is hard work and it’s leaving you sleepy. Ask for their help around the house and with letting you get more rest. Spend more time at quite pursuits together, like reading, doing puzzles, playing doctor where you’re the patient (or house when you’re the napping child!), and watching movies. Squeezing in extra shut-eye may be difficult, but if you can time your rest with their naptime or quiet time, you may be able to swing it.
- Eat well. To keep your energy up, you need a steady supply of premium fuel. Follow the guidelines for a good pregnancy diet, focusing on healthy, long-lasting energy boosters, such as protein and complex carbohydrates. Also make sure you’re getting enough calories (which may be easier said than done if you’ve got some morning sickness — but is definitely worth the effort). A well-balanced, healthy diet is key to a healthy pregnancy. And scale back on some favorite ways to get a quick energy boost. Caffeine or sugar (or both) may seem like the perfect quick fix for a slump, but don’t be fooled into reaching for that chocolate bar or caramel frap — the jolt they’ll give you may be followed by a bit of a crash, making you feel more tired.
- Eat often. Like so many other pregnancy symptoms, fatigue responds well to the six-meal solution. Keeping your blood sugar on an even keel will help keep your energy steady, too — so resist meal skipping, and opt for healthy, frequent mini-meals and snacks comprised of protein, complex carbs and other important nutrients to sustain you.
- Get a move on. Sure, the couch has never looked more inviting — but paradoxically, the right amount of the right kind of exercise can be more rejuvenating than a sofa break. So take a simple hike in the woods, a slow jog around the block or park, a prenatal yoga class, or even a short brisk walk to the grocery store when you can. Not only will you feel peppier (and happier thanks to those mood-elevating hormones, endorphins), but you’ll sleep better at night. Plus exercise is good for both you and your baby, in more ways than one. Just don’t overdo it — you want to finish up your workout feeling energized, not enervated.
Consider This: A Healthy Snack
When you want to reach for a bag of chips, grab these crunchy chickpeas instead. You’ll still get to indulge in a salty snack without a lot of added fat. Plus, each serving has a good amount of fiber and protein to keep you going throughout the rest of the day.
More About Pregnancy Sleep
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Why We Love Them: Roasted chickpeas are a tasty alternative to chips or crackers during pregnancy. Unlike more common salty snacks, two servings of The Good Bean Crispy Crunchy Chickpea Snacks 10g of protein (that’s 13.34% of your daily recommended value). And since chickpeas are also complex carbohydrates, just two servings of these roasted goodies serve as a complete snack.
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What causes pregnancy fatigue?
Pregnancy is sort of like running a marathon while carrying a backpack that weighs a little more every day. In other words, it’s hard work! Causes of fatigue during early pregnancy may include:
- Building the placenta. During the first trimester, a huge amount of energy goes into building a life-support system for your baby, namely the placenta, which is why you might be feeling extra sleepy.
- Your hormones. Also to blame: hormone changes, which in turn can cause mood upheaval. Riding the physical and emotional roller coaster of pregnancy can be tiring.
- An increase in metabolism coupled with a decrease in blood sugar and blood pressure. Your body’s metabolism has risen significantly while your blood sugar and blood pressure tend to be lower.
By the end of the first trimester, your body will have completed the Herculean task of manufacturing the placenta and grown a bit more used to the hormonal and emotional changes that have occurred, which means the second trimester is usually a time of renewed energy levels.
In the third trimester, that tiredness from early pregnancy could return with a vengeance. Causes of fatigue during later pregnancy may include:
- Your growing baby bump. You’re carrying extra weight than you were earlier on in pregnancy. Carting around all those pounds can be exhausting.
- Pregnancy insomnia and other symptoms. Your burgeoning bump along with pregnancy symptoms including heartburn, backache and restless leg syndrome may make sleep more elusive than ever.
- The stress of having a baby. Your baby-overloaded life, which may be jam-packed with shopping lists, to-do lists, baby-name lists, and other decisions to be made, could also be costing you sleep and energy.
- Multi-tasking. Add responsibilities like a job and other kids to the mix, and the fatigue factor multiplies.
That said, if at any point during pregnancy your fatigue is severe and persistent, or if lasts throughout your entire pregnancy, talk to your practitioner, especially if you experience additional symptoms like weakness, extreme breathlessness or even fainting spells (which may mean you have iron-deficiency anemia, a common but treatable condition that most practitioners test for at your first visit, and again in month 7).
And if you’re feeling sad or apathetic, are experiencing panic or anxiety, or have changes in appetite, you may be going through prenatal depression, another condition your doctor can help you cope with and treat.
Can fatigue hurt my baby?
For the vast majority of women, fatigue during pregnancy is a bit tough on them, but it’s not harmful to baby. After all, your body is in the process of the monumental task of making another human being, so it’s normal to feel more tired. But it won’t affect the little person growing inside of you.
When to call the doctor
Though pregnancy fatigue is a totally normal symptom, if you’re feeling unrelentingly tired or are otherwise concerned about your health, don’t hesitate to check in with your health care provider. He or she can rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing your symptoms.
Your doctor may take a sample of your blood to check for anemia (a.k.a. iron deficiency), a condition that, left untreated, can cause problems. Fortunately, iron deficiency is very treatable. Your practitioner may suggest changing your diet and/or taking an iron supplement.
In more rare cases, extreme fatigue may be a sign of chronic fatigue syndrome, which usually isn’t harmful to a fetus, but may be linked to a more serious form of morning sickness or nausea known as hyperemesis gravidarum.
Either way, seeing your doctor can help ensure you get the treatments you need, as necessary, to feel better.
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Increased energy when pregnant
Although fatigue is a more common symptom of pregnancy, some expectant moms report feeling great boosts of energy towards the end of the third trimester. Many women who do not experience outright increases in energy may still notice a heightened sex drive during all, or some parts of their pregnancy. In addition, because pregnancy fatigue is so common during the first trimester, women may notice a relative increase in energy during the second trimester as you exert less energy in building the placenta.
What causes it?
Surging hormones are the most likely cause for an increased sex drive throughout pregnancy, and also explain the elevated energy levels towards the end of gestation, as a surge in adrenaline towards the end of pregnancy is likely. Besides biological factors, pure emotion and the excitement of expectation could also be reasons for the increased energy.
If you are experiencing great surges in energy level and feel like you can single-handedly conquer the world, try to remember that you’re still pregnant! Don’t over-exert yourself even if you find yourself jumping out of your skin, and try to get plenty of rest.
Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Why Your Energy Tanks During Pregnancy—and How to Get It Back
Photo: Johner Images / Getty Images
If you’re a mama-to-be, you can *probably* relate to this: One day, exhaustion hits you hard. And this isn’t the regular kind of tired you feel after a long day. It comes out of nowhere, and it’s a never-felt-anything-like-it, can-barely-make-it-through-the-day kind of tired. But while it might stink (and make going to work or taking care of other kids seriously challenging), just know that being exhausted is totally normal.
“Fatigue, as well as nausea and emotional fragility, are the three most common complaints in early pregnancy,” says Jenna Flanagan. M.D., an ob-gyn at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. One study published in the journal PLOS One found 44 percent of women felt totally gassed in the early months. (Just to play things safe, make sure to mention your fatigue to your ob-gyn. Sometimes, tiredness can be a sign of other issues, such as anemia.)
You can blame being so darn tired on a whole slew of changes, the first of which is hormonal. One hormone in particular, progesterone, which rises throughout pregnancy, can lower blood sugar levels, decrease blood pressure, and cause sleepiness, explains Dr. Flanagan. (Related: Shop Everything That Got Me Through My First Trimester of Pregnancy)
Feeling nauseated-another lovely symptom of the first trimester!-and emotional, coupled with problems sleeping can exacerbate fatigue even more, notes Frederick Friedman, Jr., M.D., director of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive services at the Mount Sinai Health System in New York.
Then there’s the whole creating a life thing. “In order to optimize baby’s growth, mom’s activity might slow down,” he says. After all, developing new tissue and life in your uterus is no easy task and can deplete your energy.
The good news? Fatigue tends to peak in the first trimester when your body is going through rapid changes (maybe for the first time), says Dr. Flanagan. And while not operating at your usual speed can be frustrating, there are ways to combat tiredness. Here, what ob-gyns suggest.
1. Don’t push yourself *too* hard, but definitely keep exercising.
If you’re extremely tired, your body’s trying to tell you something-likely that it’s time to rest. So, first and foremost, don’t overdo it.
That said, if you’re used to daily Spin classes or long runs and suddenly stop your exercise routine in its tracks, it could cause your overall energy levels to sink, and you might notice your mood take a dip thanks to a change in endorphin levels, says Dr. Friedman. “It’s important to stay active in pregnancy if you’re accustomed to it,” he says. (Related: 4 Ways You Need to Change Your Workout When You Get Pregnant)
A few things to remember: With a baby on the way, your heart rate’s going to be higher than normal, which means you’ll feel the effects of exercise (you’re out of breath, you’re sweating) sooner and from lower intensities. This will continue as your baby grows, too. (Working out pregnant is pretty much comparable to doing everything with a bag of weights.)
This is all to say that you can still go to your Spin classes or out for a jog, but you might just have to crank down the resistance or cut back your mileage. As for strength training, Dr. Friedman suggests decreasing weight and increasing reps. Fortunately, research finds that even low- to moderate-intensity exercise can quash fatigue and improve energy in pregnancy.
2. Give in to your desire to sleep.
Here’s the other side of the coin: If you’re craving your bed or feel your eyelids closing, it’s probably best to make time for shut-eye, says Dr. Friedman. In fact, the National Institutes of Health notes that pregnant women could need a few more hours of sleep every night or a few naps during the day. Look at it as helping your baby: “You don’t want to do anything that stresses you physically,” he says (like being sleep deprived). “Resting can help maximize blood flow to the uterus.”
3. Snack frequently on easy-to-digest, energizing foods.
If you’re a breakfast, lunch, and dinner kind of gal, consider eating smaller, more frequent meals, suggests Dr. Friedman. While you might not *want to*, keeping your stomach full can help fend off nausea. And it’s probably better physiologically and for energy levels than three set meals, helping you to avoid fluctuating blood sugar levels that can mess with energy, he says.
“The size of the stomach is also compressed with the baby pushing on it, so, really, it is better to eat four to five smaller snacks a day as opposed to trying to stuff it all into bigger meals,” adds Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., R.D., a senior dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.
Super nauseated? Energy can come in the form of more appealing foods that are easy on the stomach: pineapple, berries, whole grains, hummus, whole-wheat crackers, and non-gassy vegetables such as zucchini, says Hunnes.
4. Fill up on plant-based proteins.
You might be nibbling at bagels or feeling like you can only stomach toast. But if you’re able, protein will give you more energy than carbs, says Dr. Friedman. Plant-based options are your best and healthiest bets, says Hunnes. Aim for protein options that don’t smell (buh-bye hard-boiled eggs) if you’re sick to your stomach. Instead, go for peanut butter, hummus, or avocado. (Related: 5 Weird Health Concerns That Can Pop Up During Pregnancy)
5. Consider vitamin B6.
Feel like nausea is what’s draining you? Pick up some vitamin B6. The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends 10 to 25 mg of the vitamin three or four times a day to ease nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (something that can *seriously* drain your energy). The vitamin can even help improve your mood and sleep. Just make sure to touch base with your ob-gyn before starting any supplements.
The Best Natural Ways to Fight Pregnancy Fatigue
There’s tired, and then there’s pregnancy tired. It’s normal to feel like you’ve got the world’s worst case of jet lag when you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester. In fact, for some women, this early pregnancy fatigue is even more of an adjustment than morning sickness. Even though it’s frustrating, being tired is actually a good sign, since (like nausea) it indicates that your pregnancy hormones are circulating and your body is hard at work helping your baby grow. There are many reasons why you feel tired all the time now, including:
- You’re not sleeping as well these days.
- Chronic morning sickness is exhausting and makes it hard for you to eat, which is how you get re-energized.
- Increased levels of the hormone progesterone can make you extra sleepy.
- Your heart is pumping harder to accommodate an increase in blood volume.
- Sharing vital nutrients (like iron) with your baby can leave you deficient and fatigued.
- Carrying extra weight is tiring (this is mainly in the third trimester).
The good news is that you can increase your energy levels with a few simple steps, according to Andrew Weil, M.D. Here are some natural ways to combat pregnancy exhaustion, giving you more energy to conquer your everyday tasks.
5 Ways to Fight Pregnancy Exhaustion
1. Follow a Healthy Diet
Dr. Weil suggests following a satisfying and nutritious anti-inflammatory diet to fight against pregnancy fatigue. Eat a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Also, you should steer clear of rapidly-digesting carbohydrates like white bread, because these cause you to “crash” and feel more sleepy. Eating a low-fat diet that’s high in iron and protein (if you can stomach it) may also help. And be sure to stay hydrated!
- RELATED: How to Sleep When Pregnant
2. Exercise Daily
Commit to daily exercise even when you feel tired. Dr. Weil says aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, almost always makes you feel better. Exercise also promotes better sleep, and it improves your mood by releasing endorphins.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Accept your need for more sleep by going to bed at a time that enables you to get eight to nine hours per night. Don’t hesitate to nap whenever you can—catnaps of 15 to 20 minutes can be rejuvenating, according to Dr. Weil. But be careful about oversleeping, which can make you feel even more tired.
4. Limit Caffeine
The American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists concluded that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 milligrams or 1½ cups of coffee per day) doesn’t contribute to miscarriage or preterm birth. Even so, Dr. Weil doesn’t recommend regularly drinking caffeinated beverages during pregnancy or using natural stimulants, such as rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) or ginseng. Their stimulant effects might adversely affect your sleep and moods.
- RELATED: Your Pregnancy Symptoms Week by Week
Pregnancy takes a toll on your body and mind. You’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up, and you’re using up more water and nutrients. There’s also the flood of emotion surging through your mind, which can make you feel overwhelmed. Take the opportunity to kick back and relax – before a crying baby keeps you up all night. You might need to adjust your schedule and cancel plans occasionally, and that’s perfectly OK!
Speak with your doctor if you’re pregnant and experiencing persistent fatigue—he or she might want to run tests to make sure you’re not suffering from anemia or hypothyroidism.
- By Nicole Harris and Andrew Weil, M.D
5 easy ways to boost energy in pregnancy
The stresses and strains of daily life can be draining enough, add to that the physical, mental and emotional demands that making a new baby places on your body and pregnancy can be a very tiring time indeed. Your energy levels will naturally fluctuate during pregnancy, and you may find yourself feeling tired a lot of the time and sometimes thoroughly exhausted. If this applies to you then read on for ideas on how to get some of the zing back, or at least give you enough energy that you feel you can cope.
If you feel constantly tired then do speak to your doctor or midwife about it, particularly if following the below tips doesn’t help, you may need a blood test to rule out anaemia.
It may seem counter-intuitive when you’re struggling to summon up the energy to simply get up in the morning, but there really is nothing like exercise to give you an energy-boost. Exercise improves your circulation, delivering more oxygen to your body’s cells and so directly raising your energy levels. Through exercise you also produce more feel-good endorphins which will help you cope with the stresses and strains of pregnancy.
We’re not talking about power-walking yourself into the ground, just gentle exercise is enough to clear your head and perk up your body and it’s important that you don’t over-do it when pregnant. Walking, swimming and pregnancy yoga are all great ways of exercising during pregnancy, for other ideas see here. Try and get thirty minutes of gentle exercise every day and if you can exercise in the fresh air then all the better.
Get started idea: Go for a brisk twenty-minute walk in the park this lunchtime and see how much better you feel afterwards.
2. Eat well
When you’re tired and low on energy it’s common to be drawn to the high-sugar, low-nutrition foods that will deliver a quick sugar rush. But it’s exactly these kinds of sugar peaks and lows that tax your system and ultimately tire you out further, so think again before you reach out for that sugary snack. What your body really needs right now are the foods that sustain your energy levels over the course of the day. Choose complex carbs like brown rice and pasta over the bleached varieties, eat as many fresh rather than processed foods as you can, try eating handfuls of nuts or an avocado to replace sweet snacks, and get as much variety in your diet as possible. There’s plenty more information on pregnancy nutrition here.
Get started idea: Try a fresh fruit salad (eg: banana, pineapple, blueberries, apple and melon) with low-fat yogurt and maybe a little unsweetened muesli for breakfast. If time is short then simplify things with one piece of fruit but do always eat breakfast.
3. Sleep and rest
It isn’t always easy when you’re pregnant, but getting plenty of sleep and rest is important to maintaining your energy levels. Most people need about eight hours of sleep a night and when you’re pregnant you may feel the need to nap in the day-time too.
It’s important that you listen to your body and take rests when you need them while pregnant, don’t think that you’re being lazy! If you’re having difficulty sleeping at night then have a read of these ideas for a better night’s sleep and comfortable sleeping positions. You may need to talk to your partner about how you divide up household chores to make sure that you’re not over-burdened.
Get started idea: Aim to get at least eight hours’ sleep each night. Record any late-night telly you’re interested in and if you have a morning grooming routine, consider ditching part of it for an extra ten minutes in bed.
4. Drink plenty of water
Water makes up two thirds of our body weight and is needed for every single bodily function, yet most of us are under-hydrated most of the time, and this zaps energy. When you’re pregnant your daily water intake requirement increases, in part due to your increased blood supply, processing waste from your baby and constantly replenishing amniotic fluid. So it’s all the more important to make sure you’re taking on enough fluids at this time and the World Health Organisation recommends that pregnant women have 4.8 litres of water a day.
Simple water is tone of the best way to take on fluids although you might also find some naturally decaffeinated teas refreshing and good for combatting morning sickness, indigestion and other pregnancy discomforts. Cut back on caffeinated, sugary and carbonated drinks (which may worsen wind). Bear in mind that there’s also water in your fruit, veg, dairy products and other foods, so you don’t need to actually drink all 4.8 litres. There’s more information on getting your daily water intake here.
Get started idea: Keep a bottle of plain water on your desk and drink steadily throughout the day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty. Try adding a little lemon juice or herbal teas (one safe for use in pregnancy) if you prefer some flavour.
5. Clear your mind
Any anxieties you may have about the health of you and baby, your relationship, finances, how you’ll cope as a mum, and your career progress are all another drain on your energy. Worrying about these things during pregnancy is, of course, perfectly normal (within reason!) but do try to keep worries in proportion and stay as calm as you can.
Setting aside a few minutes every day for breathing exercises and/or meditation may help. Try focusing your mind on a particularly restful or relaxing mental image and inhaling deeply and slowly, conscious of replenishing your body’s energy supplies with oxygen and breathing in calm. As you exhale, think of breathing out your anxieties and anything negative that’s preying on your mind.
Sharing concerns will usually help. Your partner and friends should be a good source of support, and if feel you’re talking about pregnancy a little too much with them, or you want the support of people going through similar experiences then try finding support from your due-date club on the ThinkBaby forum where there’s plenty of humour to see you through.
Get started idea: Set aside some regular time each day that’s just for you, even if it’s only a few minutes, and use that time to unwind and relax however you prefer. We’ve got a few ideas here on pregnancy relaxation.