Being overly tired is part of the roller-coaster called pregnancy. Fatigue and tiredness are normal pregnancy symptoms that strike in the first and third trimesters. (Fortunately, most women get a temporary break and have more energy in the second trimester).
Many pregnant women feel extremely tired and exhausted early in pregnancy, even before they’re proudly bearing that lovely “bump.” There are some unlucky women who feel tired throughout all 40 weeks of pregnancy.
What Causes Pregnancy Fatigue?
Experts aren’t sure what causes pregnancy fatigue in the first trimester, but it’s believed that hormonal changes are partly to blame. Plus, it is likely that sleep disturbances (such as the frequent need to urinate), as well as your nausea and vomiting in pregnancy contribute to the overall exhaustion that you feel when you’re expecting.
Once you hit the third trimester, your fatigue is probably brought on by all the extra weight that you’re touting around. Sleep is harder to come by later on, since your belly can make it hard for you to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
7 Tips and Remedies to Cope with Fatigue in Pregnancy
So, if you’re struggling with fatigue in pregnancy, what can you do to cope with this annoying pregnancy symptom? How can you feel more rested and have more energy levels?
1. Nap and Sleep Whenever You Can.
This is basically common sense. If you’re pregnant and struggling with fatigue, try to take smaller naps throughout the day. Even a power nap for an hour in the afternoon can help you feel more rested, and it can beat fatigue when you’re pregnant.
If you must work and you can’t accommodate a nap during the day, try to get extra sleep at night. According to a 2010 study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, pregnant women who get fewer than six hours of sleep (or more than 10 hours) are at higher risk for high blood pressure in the blood pressure. So, try to get enough sleep at night (but not way too much).
Having a hard time sleeping? Consider getting a sleep aid – like a pregnancy pillow. A full body pillow may give you more comfort and give you more restful sleep.
See related post: Sleeping in Pregnancy: 7 Tips to Help You Sleep Better.
2. Stay Away from Sweets.
Sweets and sugary treats are delicious, and they may give you an instant boost of energy. But they aren’t worth the tiredness and fatigue that you feel after the sugar rush goes away. To keep your energy up throughout the day, snack on healthy snacks, such as fruit and yogurt.
3. Go for a Walk or Jog
Even if you feel like you’re so tired that you barely have time for regular life, try to get some moderate exercise into your daily routine. You don’t have to perform vigorous activities – a simple walk or short jog can actually give you more energy and make you feel better.
When you go for a walk or short jog, this improves blood flow, boosting energy and releasing all those wonderful endorphins that make you feel great. Make sure you take some breaks, though. If you find yourself huffing and puffing, stop right away. You don’t want to increase your heart rate from exercise.
Exercise really does wonders for you in pregnancy, and it keeps your body fit and tone for labor and delivery. You might have an easier childbirth experience, as a result! Obviously, you don’t want to exercise if your doctor or midwife has warned you against it.
4. Drink More Water
Dehydration is often one of the causes of pregnancy-related fatigue. So keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of water in the daytime can actually give you more energy. Aim for six to eight glasses a day (a few more glasses if you’re exercising.) This may sound like a ton of water, but you can also stay hydrated from eating delicious soups, munching on fruits (like apples and oranges) and enjoy healthy vegetables. Anything with high water content counts toward your recommended daily water quota.
5. Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day
When you’re pregnant, your digestive system is sluggish due to all those hormonal changes in your body. So you’ll want to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Mini-meals can help keep your energy levels up, and may prevent you from crashing due to extreme tiredness or a sudden drop in sugar. Make sure that you consume sources of protein and iron, which may give you an extra energy boost.
6. Hire a Cleaning Lady
If you are struggling with pregnancy fatigue, why not just forgo the household chores? You don’t want to expend the little energy you have on cleaning and tidying up. Get your husband to handle some of the work, or hire a professional house cleaner when you’re pregnant. You don’t want to over-exert yourself during pregnancy. It’s not healthy, and you will be exhausted and grumpy as a result.
7. Try to Keep Your Weight Gain in Check
Fatigue in the third trimester is related to all the weight that you’re carrying around. It can exhaust your body. When you gain the recommended weight gain for your size, you may be able to reduce your levels of fatigue. So don’t gain too much weight too quickly. Try to gain weight steadily – roughly 1 or 2 pounds a week – and this may help give you more energy.
Just be patient. Fatigue won’t last forever. Once your baby is born, you won’t feel the overwhelming tiredness that you might be feeling now. Hang on, and it will get better!