Mum-to-be taking a nap on the couch

All About Pregnancy Fatigue

It’s natural to feel tired over the course of your pregnancy as your body adjusts to a storm of pregnancy hormones as well as physical changes that take place right up until your due date. However, pregnancy fatigue will ebb and flow over the trimesters: You may feel more tired one month and more energetic the next. Find out about pregnancy fatigue and what you can do to feel just a little less tired.

First Trimester Fatigue

In the first trimester, your levels of progesterone will shoot up, which can make you sleepy. Your metabolism also revs up and burns more energy, and this can also contribute to fatigue in early pregnancy. Lower blood pressure and the increased production of blood also drain energy, and that’s not to mention the emotional roller coaster you may be going through during your pregnancy.

And, it’s not just hormones that can make you feel exhausted. Other pregnancy symptoms may also affect your sleep, including morning sickness (which, despite its name, can also strike at night) and frequent urination. These two troublesome symptoms may prevent you from getting enough Z’s to beat fatigue.

Second Trimester Fatigue

There is a good reason why the second trimester is known as the honeymoon period of pregnancy. Your body has adjusted to the surge of pregnancy hormones, so you’ll feel less tired in the second trimester and ready to start preparing for your little one’s arrival. Although the worst fatigue generally goes away at this point of your pregnancy, you may still feel tired often, and that’s OK. Listen to your body, and try to take things easy when you need a break.

Third Trimester Fatigue

By the third trimester, you’ll probably feel exhausted again as the baby gets big. You may find your bump, as well as symptoms like backaches and anxiety, will also get in the way of a good night’s sleep, and the pressure on your bladder will mean more nocturnal trips to the bathroom.

How to Cope With Exhaustion During Pregnancy

You may feel as if your body is working extra hard to support your pregnancy, which will leave you feeling very tired. Here’s how you can boost your energy levels and cope better with fatigue:

  • Follow a healthy diet. Sometimes, fatigue can be linked to iron deficiency, so you’ll want to eat plenty of foods that are rich in protein and iron. Getting your vitamins from fruits, vegetables, eggs, nuts, and a variety of whole foods will help keep your energy up throughout the day. You can read more about a healthy pregnancy diet here.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep drinking plenty of water during the day, but cut down toward the evening to avoid frequent urination at night.
  • Maintain a sleep routine. Try to get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time every evening and morning. If you feel you need more sleep, you can always take a nap during the day. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  • Get comfortable in bed. As your bump gets bigger, you’ll want to find the right sleeping position. Try to sleep on your left side to help improve blood flow to your baby and your organs. Use pillows to support you between the knees, under your tummy, and behind your back. Keep your head elevated.
  • Stay active. Getting regular physical activity can not only help prevent leg cramps, but also give you a burst of energy. Talk to your doctor about your options for pregnancy exercise.

When Is Fatigue a Sign of Something Else?

Although fatigue is generally nothing to worry about, sometimes it can be a symptom of a medical condition that needs attention. Pregnancy can increase your risk of anaemia if you’re not getting enough iron, and fatigue can be one of its symptoms. Your doctor will do a blood test to check your iron levels.

If fatigue is coupled with a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest, it may be a sign of antenatal depression. Around 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy, which may be related to the hormonal changes their bodies are experiencing. If you feel you may be affected, be sure to discuss your symptoms with your doctor.

Feeling tired or exhausted is normal during your pregnancy, and it’s important to take care of yourself and your baby by eating well and getting plenty of rest. Not only is your body experiencing a variety of changes, but your mind is occupied with thoughts of meeting your little one and getting your home ready for her arrival. It’s only natural that you’ll feel tired and sleepy from time to time.

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