Being pregnant is one of the happiest times in any woman’s life, but it’s also one of the most tiring. Some women feel a slight dip in energy while others experience a deeper level of tiredness, but the fatigue is there at various levels.
This nagging feeling of exhaustion usually begins in the first trimester as hormone levels fluctuate and the body prepares itself for the pregnancy. It goes away in the second trimester (although some weakness might still remain), but it comes back in full force in the third trimester.
During this time, the baby has grown larger to prepare for its birth, which causes the mother to experience fatigue since she’s carrying around a significant amount of extra weight. The additional weight also causes frequent urination, which means the mother experiences interrupted sleep when she wakes up in the middle night to pee.
If you’re pregnant, there’s really nothing you can do to make the tiredness go away. However, you can take several steps to manage the fatigue and ensure it won’t get you too down. Here are some of them:
1. Get enough sleep
Even non-pregnant people feel tired and weak when they lack sleep; this fatigue doubles or even triples when you’re a mom-to-be. Because of this, you need to make sleep a priority. Strive to get at least eight to nine hours of sleep per night to give your body the chance to repair itself while nurturing your baby.
2. Change your bedtime habits
Sometimes, simply going to bed earlier will help you get plenty of sleep; other times, it’s not the only solution. To ensure you’ll enjoy a good night’s sleep, you’ll want to make some improvements to your nighttime habits.
One thing to do is to limit the amount of fluids that you take as your bedtime nears. This way, you won’t have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate, and you’ll enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Avoiding smartphones, tablets, and laptops at night is also a good idea; the blue light in these devices can affect your melatonin levels and make it harder for you to fall asleep.
3. Create the best possible bedroom
It’s difficult to rest and relax if your bedroom isn’t exactly conducive to sleep. You don’t exactly have to remodel or renovate your space since a few simple changes can do the trick. Invest in new bedding that has a soft, comfortable texture and make you want to snuggle right away.
If you have a bigger budget, consider replacing your old mattress with a new one that provides you with the right level of support while you sleep. If the early morning sunlight streams in through your windows and wakes you up earlier than you want to, get thick curtains or blinds that keep your space as dark as possible.
4. Take naps during the day
Listening to your body is important at any stage in your life, but it becomes even more essential when you’re pregnant. If you feel tired during the day, for example, give yourself the chance to take a nap. Even a 20-minute nap can leave you to feel refreshed and makes you energetic enough to continue your activities at work or at home.
5. Improve your diet
You probably already know that you need to eat healthy when you’re pregnant. By making improvements to your diet, you won’t only provide your baby with the nutrients he needs to grow but you’ll also fight fatigue and make your body strong and healthy enough to support your child.
Make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as foods that are high in protein, iron, and complex carbohydrates. Don’t worry about gaining weight; you’re supposed to gain a few extra pounds when you’re pregnant.
As long as you’re eating healthy food and not junk food or fast food, there’s nothing to fret about. Speak with your doctor to have an idea of what you should and should not eat during pregnancy.
6. Get some exercise
Exercising is an important part of pregnancy since it provides you with lots of benefits. In terms of pregnancy fatigue, staying active allows you to enjoy the happy rush that endorphins bring and put yourself in a positive mood.
It also makes your body tired enough so you’ll instantly fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow, instead of tossing and turning throughout the night. Before you start exercising, though, consult your doctor to know the right types of workouts you should do to avoid over-exerting yourself and putting your baby at risk.
7. Drink plenty of water
Being dehydrated can make you feel tired and weak, especially when you’re pregnant. Even worse: dehydration can affect your amniotic fluid levels, cause neural tube defects in your baby, and trigger premature labor.
To avoid these complications, make sure to drink around 8 to 12 glasses of water a day. Stay away from caffeine (since this can promote increased urination, thus reducing your body’s water levels), and avoid doing too much exercise and spending too much time outdoors.
8. Be open with your boss
If you’re currently employed, your lower energy levels might affect the amount of work you can do in a day. Instead of pushing yourself to work harder, why not speak with your boss and inform him about your fatigue levels?
He might give you permission to work fewer hours at work for the reminder of your pregnancy and return to your original schedule after your maternity leave. He might also allow you to have a flexible schedule, which means you can come in late if your fatigue slows you down in the morning or that you can work earlier if you usually feel more tired in the afternoon or evening.
9. Ask help when needed
Don’t let your pride get in the way! If you really can’t take it anymore, reach out to friends and family members and ask them for help. If you have a toddler, for instance, you might arrange a playdate with his grandparents so you can spend a few hours catching up on sleep.
If a friend offers to cook dinner for you, take her up on the offer so you can put your feet up for an hour (and enjoy a delicious meal afterward).
Pregnancy fatigue can be managed by taking the right steps. If it persists, however, make sure to inform your doctor about it. Weakness and tiredness can be a sign of hypothyroidism and iron-deficiency anemia; they can also be a signal that you have depression when paired with sleeping problems and feelings of helplessness.