You would be more excited about your pregnancy if you weren’t so busy trying to keep your head from hitting the pillow. Fatigue is one of the first symptoms to hit you during pregnancy, and it can hit you hard.
It’s no surprise that you’re so tired. Your body is preparing to grow and nurture another human being. That takes a tremendous amount of energy. But there are other, more technical explanations for fatigue during pregnancy, and luckily, there are things you can do to get that jolt to get you moving – without resorting to caffeine.
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Why Are You Feeling So Exhausted?
It is no surprise you’re feeling tired. Every day, your baby gets a little bit bigger and a little bit heavier. Your body needs to adjust – and it needs to adjust quickly.
The first trimester is typically when the fatigue kicks in and is at its worst. During this time, the body expends a tremendous amount of energy to build the placenta, which will house your baby. That’s why most women start feeling exhausted around week 9 of their pregnancy.
But it’s not just your body working overtime that’s making you so tired – your baby is, too. Specifically, your baby’s metabolism increases significantly and at the same time, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels are lower.
And on top of all of this, your mood will come into play here. Pregnancy causes a rollercoaster of emotions that can really cause you to feel exhausted. Let’s not forget the fact that you’re not sleeping well at night because you’re dealing with cramps, and having to get up to urinate several times in the middle of the night.
Will This Exhaustion Ever End?
Yes, thankfully. The first trimester is all about preparing the body and building the placenta. Once all of that hard work is done, the body can relax a bit. By the time you reach the second trimester, you should be used to the emotional and hormonal changes going on. The second trimester is usually a time when moms start feeling energetic.
But you won’t be off the hook for long. Many women find that fatigue comes back during the third trimester, and it can sometimes be quite severe. In the third trimester, your growing baby becomes more demanding and you’re dealing with a host of other issues, like heartburn, digestive issues, aches, and pains.
Is Fatigue Something to Worry About?
Fatigue is not likely to harm your baby, and it’s incredibly common for pregnant women to feel exhausted in the first and third trimester. But if your fatigue comes on suddenly and does not improve with rest or sleep, it may be time to see your doctor. You should also see your doctor if your fatigue is accompanied by depression and anxiousness.
The fatigue may also be caused by anemia or iron deficiency. Iron is an essential nutrient during pregnancy, and lack of this nutrient can cause:
- Extreme fatigue
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heartbeat
See your doctor if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.
6 Ways to Beat Fatigue
Fatigue can be debilitating for some pregnant women, but the good news is that you don’t have to continue suffering. And if you’re tempted to pick up that cup of coffee, think again. Here are 6 ways to fight fatigue during pregnancy.
1. Listen to Your Body
If you’re feeling tired, your body is trying to tell you that you need rest. Listen to your body, and give yourself the rest you need.
Start out by going to bed a little earlier. Next, add a nap during the day. Even a simple 15-20 minute nap can make a world of difference. If you’re still working, make an effort to get in a nap whenever you can during the day – even if that means sleeping in the back of your car on your lunch break.
Don’t put too much on your plate – only take care of the most essential chores. Those dishes in the sink can wait until morning.
2. Pay Attention to Your Diet
You may be feeling tired because you’re not eating enough – or you’re eating too much. During pregnancy, you should be taking in about 300 more calories each day, and it’s important to make those calories count.
While you may be tempted to eat pickles and ice cream, it’s better to opt for nutrient-dense foods that will give your body the fuel it needs to support your pregnancy. Junk food actually robs your body of valuable energy.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You can’t play the mom-to-be, chef, maid and full-time worker. Enlist the help of your partner and other family members to help with the chores around the house. Ask a friend to do the grocery shopping for you, or have a loved one cook dinner for the evening. Whenever someone volunteers to help, don’t hesitate to accept the offer. Having others help you will give you enough time to sneak in a nap or maybe go for a walk.
4. Eat Frequent, Small Meals
Eating smaller, frequent meals can help you not only fight fatigue but also eliminate a number of other pregnancy symptoms, including heartburn and constipation.
Frequent, smaller meals can help keep your blood sugar steady throughout the day, which will give you the energy you need to get through your day without reaching for the pillow.
5. Get Up and Move
Wait – if you’re supposed to listen to your body’s signals, shouldn’t you be avoiding activity? Not necessarily.
Exercise may be the last thing on your mind right now, but staying active can help keep your energy levels up. Take a short walk or go for an easy hike. You’ll feel more energetic during the day, and you’ll sleep better at night, too. Just take care not to overdo it, or it will wind up having the opposite effect.
6. Stay Hydrated
Put down the caffeine and reach for a glass of water. Keeping your body hydrated will also keep your energy levels higher. If you’re having to get up several times in the middle of the night to urinate, try cutting back on your fluid intake a few hours before bed.
Fatigue can hit you like a ton of bricks in the first and third trimesters, but taking care of yourself and allowing yourself to get plenty of rest will help keep your energy levels higher throughout your pregnancy.