Updated August 25, 2019
Fatigue during pregnancy is a common complaint. During the first trimester of pregnancy, fatigue is largely the result of the many physiologic changes occurring within your body.
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This differs from the fatigue during pregnancy that occurs during the later stages of pregnancy. Fatigue later becomes more physical. It is related to carrying the extra weight of your pregnancy.
In the third trimester, the nutrient and caloric requirements of carrying a full-grown baby is a tremendous burden to your metabolism which challenges your stamina to carry on the activities of daily living.
Having fatigue during pregnancy is an indication that your body needs sleep AND time to recover from activities that were previously easy to accomplish.
Add to this exhaustion, the fact that your blood volume increases by 50%, often requiring iron supplementation (per the advice of your provider) and it is not hard to see why fatigue during pregnancy can be a constant challenge.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and DO NOT push yourself. Those around you (family and friends) may expect you to function at your pre-pregnancy level, always remember that you do not owe anyone an explanation.
Just do the best you can and realize that this is normal. You are creating another human being!
10 Suggestions for Fighting Fatigue During Pregnancy:
Accept the fact that you need extra rest and pace your daily life accordingly. Take naps when you feel tired.
Pregnancy is hard. The fatigue you feel is real. Don’t feel guilty for needing an afternoon nap.
Naps are a great way to reboot yourself and can really help you relieve your fatigue. If you are having trouble sleeping, a great way to get more sleep is to use a pregnancy pillow.
You can get one HERE
If a certain task doesn’t need to be done, don’t do it. Pace yourself.
Sit down and elevate your legs.
This helps in many ways, not the least of which is to help the swelling in your legs go down by returning fluid back into your bloodstream.
Resting with your feet up can very often be enough to relieve your fatigue.
Try to do something that you enjoy and that you find relaxing. Maybe that’s reading a book or listening to your favorite music.
Your goal is to relax and rest.
Skip the coffee break and go rest.
Ironically, a coffee break is not a way to alleviate fatigue, other than for the short term. Much like eating a heavy meal, only a few hours later you’ll be left feeling exhausted due to hormonal changes.
Take the opportunity to sit down and put your feet up for a few minutes.
Caffeine and other stimulants may increase fatigue and be harmful.
Fatigue is common during the first trimester. Your first choice to fight it might be to grab a cup of coffee for an afternoon pick me up.
While that likely isn’t harmful to you or your baby, it may cause you to feel more fatigued within a couple of hours.
What I found worked for me was to switch to tea. Tea doesn’t have as much caffeine, but I could drink more of it to stay within the recommended 200 milligrams of caffeine a day.
Tea didn’t give me a huge crash either, so my fatigue to energy levels felt better balanced.
Eat small, well-balanced meals several times a day.
Eat small “mini-meals” several times during the day. A large meal will leave you feeling stuffed and seeking a nap. Try to balance out your meals with enough carbs and protein, which will help keep your energy levels up.
Be careful of sugary snacks like candy bars or cookies. They will immediately give you an energy pick-me-up but will make you feel even more tired within a few hours. This is because your blood sugar will decrease as a result of insulin.
A trick I used to fight fatigue during pregnancy was to combine a carbohydrate and protein.
I’d have half of a sandwich. A piece of wheat or other whole-grain bread and cheese or turkey makes a great snack. Plain greek yogurt and carrots, or greek yogurt and berries are also a great choice.
Carbs and protein together will give you more energy than other simple sugar-filled choices.
You’ll need to clear exercising with your healthcare provider. But once given the all-clear, moderate exercise is safe during pregnancy.
Consider walking and yoga as exercise options. These forms of exercise can help you relax. Feeling anxious and stressed can add to your fatigue.
Drink plenty of water. Becoming dehydrated can increase your feelings of fatigue.
Watch the sugary drinks and flavored waters too. They can give you a burst of energy, but can also increase your feeling of fatigue a few hours later.
Plain water can be boring! You can try infusing your water with fruit or herbs to get some variety. It is so easy to make.
If you are like me and don’t like the taste of plain water, infused water can be a great way to stay hydrated!
This is an amazing water infusion bottle:
Here are a few of my favorite flavored water recipes:
- 52 Fruit Water Ideas – Healthy Happy Smart
- 8 Infused Water Combos to Keep You Hydrated – Wholefully
- Cucumber Mint Infused Water – Five Heart Home
Don’t hesitate to ask family and friends for help.
You may be one who does not like to do so but this is an exception. Reach out to family and friends; you’ll be surprised how many won’t mind helping out at all.
Ask your partner to help you out more. Let other people cook, clean and do childcare when you need a break.
You are growing a tiny human and that is exhausting work. Your friends and family WILL know you are experiencing fatigue during pregnancy. Ask for help!
Say “No” and don’t ever feel guilty about this.
Saying NO can be the hardest thing to do. Try to limit social commitments and errands if you can.
If it doesn’t have to be done, it can wait until you have more energy.
Cut back on your schedule and work demands if possible. Be gentle and flexible with yourself.
Your energy level should perk up again during the second trimester.
Limit electronic screen time (cell phones, TV’s).
Digital equipment is stimulating and can cause eye and body fatigue during pregnancy. Spending too much time staring at a computer or phone screen can increase your fatigue levels.
If you work in front of a computer all day, remember to take breaks when you can are able to.
Using electronic devices, like your phone or tablet late at night can make it difficult to fall asleep. This is a significant cause of fatigue during pregnancy.
Other pregnancy articles you might find helpful:
- 9 Tips On How To Survive A Summer Pregnancy
- 9 Steps To Better Sleep During Pregnancy
- What Every Pregnant Woman Needs To Know About Anemia
- 7 Simple Ways To Cope With Stress During Pregnancy
Tiredness During Pregnancy
Courtesy of Ovum Parents
* Always remind yourself that feeling to have to fight fatigue during pregnancy is normal.
Your body is adapting to the increased nutritional needs, hormonal changes and the physical demands of pregnancy. Hopefully, these simple-to-follow suggestions will help you manage your fatigue during pregnancy.