Fatigue is a common pregnancy symptom that can affect women in many different ways. Some women are plagued with fatigue for large periods of their pregnancy while others are lucky enough to escape the harsher aspects. Most people tend to fall somewhere in middle. Fatigue is often worse during the first trimester of pregnancy, goes away for the second trimester, and comes back towards the end of the third trimester1.
During early pregnancy, hormonal changes are likely the cause of fatigue1. As your body produces more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby, your blood sugar levels and blood pressure also lower. However, your hormone levels increase, and they’re the ones responsible for making you sleepy1. Whether your fatigue comes early on in your pregnancy or closer to the end, here are a few things you can do to help keep it at bay.
Adjust your schedule
If you’re starting to feel the effects of fatigue, it’s time to tweak your schedule. Your current commitments or activities may 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,
- running your errands at different times of the day, or
- shifting the times that you do your usual activities.
Give yourself time to rest and take a few minutes to unwind both mentally and physically. Read a few chapters of your current novel, watch your favorite TV show, or play some games. Whatever you decide to do, give yourself daily breaks where you put your feet up and just relax.
Eat a balanced diet
Good nutrition and eating small, frequent and healthy meals will go a long way toward helping you boost your energy. Food is our main energy source. There’s no better way to help ease the fatigue than by sticking to a healthy diet and healthy snacks. If you’re not already taking pregnancy supplements or prenatal vitamins, be sure to speak to your doctor and get your hands on some as soon as possible.
Staying active during pregnancy keeps both you and your baby healthy. Regular physical activity also helps with weight management and enhances psychological well-being2.
What’s more is that many fitness activities are safe during pregnancy including things like
- stationary cycling, or
- low impact aerobics2.
Most doctors agree that if you were regularly engaging in physical activity before you got pregnant, it’s okay to continue that exercise during your pregnancy2. As always, check with your doctor first.
If you can sneak in a few power naps, even just 15-20 minutes, then do so. Power naps do a great job of helping you feel refreshed, and they give you a spurt of energy. However, try not to sleep too much longer than twenty minutes or you may end up feeling more tired afterward. Nap wisely.
Accept any offers of help from colleagues and family
Don’t be too shy to accept help from your partner, family, or friends. Fatigue during pregnancy can leave you too exhausted to do even the most basic things. As such, any offers of help you can get with chores, errands, or taking care of the kids should always be welcomed.
2- The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. Committee Opinion. December 2015. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Physical-Activity-and-Exercise-During-Pregnancy-and-the-Postpartum-Period.