Tips To Combat Pregnancy Fatigue
Here’s how to deal with exhaustion during pregnancy.
ByAnna Julien andDiana Spalding, CNM June 23, 2021
Fatigue and tiredness are some of the most common symptoms experienced through the first trimester of pregnancy. As if nausea wasn’t enough, pregnancy fatigue can be extremely debilitating, leaving you feeling exhaustedboth mentally and physicallyfor weeks on end.
https://shop.mother.ly/products/the-motherly-guide-to-becoming-mama-1As we share in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, there are several reasons that you may feel extra wiped out during pregnancy. First, your body is diverting a lot of its energy to growing a human , supporting that growth with more blood, and helping your baby eliminate what they don’t need. This is a lot of work.
Progesterone can also make you sleepyand you have lots of it circulating during your pregnancy.
In addition, as your pregnancy progresses, it can be harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in. And once you do, you are likely to be awoken by the need to pee or from a kick to the ribs from your baby. Lastly, if you’ve cut down on or given up caffeine during your pregnancy, that doesn’t help the fatigue situation much either.
If you are feeling extra tired these days, talk to your doctor or midwifesometimes fatigue during pregnancy can be a sign of a medical condition, and you want to make sure nothing serious is going on.
Symptoms To Pay Attention To During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy
In the first trimester, it is especially important to carefully monitor the changes in your body and state of health to detect any disorder early.
You should seek medical help in the case of:
- vaginal bleeding
- body temperature rise
- vaginal discharge and itching
- pain or burning when urinating
- exacerbation of chronic diseases
When Does Morning Sickness End
Morning sickness usually ends by the close of trimester one, with your appetite getting back to normal by the 12th to 15th week. This is no general rule though. Nausea can sometimes continue well into trimester two.
Some women experience morning sickness all throughout their pregnancy. And usually, nausea has no impact on babys health during pregnancy. Unless youre having extremely different and awful symptoms than what most pregnant women have had. Others may even feel severe morning sickness known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which may sometimes necessitate hospitalization.
Severe weight loss due to illness can be harmful to a developing baby and should be attended to as soon as possible. Extreme morning sickness with repeated vomiting can result in dehydration, which calls for medical attention.
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What You Need To Know
- At your first prenatal visit, you will undergo a physical exam as well as certain tests and screenings to assess the health of you and your unborn baby.
- First trimester symptoms vary from woman to woman, with some experiencing all known symptoms and others only a few. Duration of symptoms can vary as well.
- After eight weeks, the embryo is referred to as a fetus.
- Although the fetus is only 1 to 1.5 inches long at this point, all major organs and systems have been formed.
- During the first trimester, the fetus is most susceptible to damage from substances, like alcohol, drugs and certain medicines, and illnesses, like rubella .
Keys To Fighting Fatigue During Pregnancy
When fatigue strikes, healthy foods and smart choices can help you stay alert and energized. Sticking to a well-balanced diet, exercising when possible , and responding to your bodys need for rest can help. Try these tips to help reduce symptoms of fatigue:
- Choose nutrient- and protein-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, beans, chicken breast, or peanut butter.
- Avoid turning to sugary foods or energy drinks for a quick fix. A donut or candy bar might be a temporary sugar fix, but these foods will leave you more hungry sooner and more tired in the long run. Energy drinks should be thought of as dietary supplements and often have ingredients that might not be safe for your baby. Check with your doctor for specific guidance.
- Eat every four hours , beginning with a balanced breakfast. Try to include at least one whole grain and a fruit or vegetable with each mini-meal or snack.
- Limit caffeine. While guidelines vary,* most professionals recommend consuming no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day while pregnant. Remember to count the caffeine in other beverages, such as tea or soda.
- Listen to your body, and get the rest you need. It sounds simple, but it can be easy to forget during this busy time.
- Exercise regularly .
- Get as much of the iron, vitamins, and minerals you can from iron-rich and energy-dense foods. Take your prenatal supplements as directed by your doctor.
- Hydrate. Try to drink at least 10 8-ounce glasses of water or other fluids a day.
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Can Fatigue Be A Sign Of A Health Problem
Fatigue is a common symptom of many illnesses. But since it is an extremely common symptom of pregnancy, you could easily overlook other potential issues.
These are some of the other health problems related to pregnancy that could be causing your extreme fatigue:
- Anemia: Pregnancy puts you at an increased risk of developing an iron deficiency. A lack of iron can deplete your red blood cells, which transport oxygen to your tissues. This can leave you feeling exhausted and weak .
- Depression: Feeling tired is a common side effect of depression. If you feel hopeless, extremely sad, or unable to complete your daily activities, depression may be to blame. If you believe you are suffering from depression, you should reach out to your doctor .
- Hypothyroidism: If identified, you can easily treat hypothyroidism. It is difficult to notice because many of the symptoms are also related to pregnancy. If you notice increased fatigue, constipation, or an intolerance to heat, those are signs that you may have hypothyroidism .
- Gestational Diabetes: Extreme fatigue could be a symptom of gestational diabetes. This is diabetes that occurs when you are pregnant and is generally gone shortly after you give birth. The hormones in your body can interfere with your insulin production, resulting in unregulated blood sugar levels. Doctors will administer a glucose test to check for this in the second trimester. Gestational diabetes can also be accompanied by extreme thirst and frequent urination.
Eat Small Frequent Meals
Try to get into the habit of eating small, frequent meals throughout your pregnancy. Your body is processing food differently now. You are sending extra glucose to your baby to help them develop, which can make it easier for you to feel tired, or even light-headed.
Having a more constant supply of delicious energy may help you feel more awake. Here are the 10 most important foods to eat during pregnancy.
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What Causes Extreme Tiredness In Early Pregnancy
One of your first thoughts when experiencing that level of exhaustion, could be, ‘is extreme fatigue normal in pregnancy?’
Yes, for the most part, first trimester tiredness is all part and parcel of being pregnant, and is largely due to the surge in hormones your body is producing. After all, you are growing a mini human inside of you!
Tiredness in pregnancy is your body’s clever way of telling you to slow down and take care of your health, so whenever possible, it’s important to do just that.
Make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, as well as eating healthy food and getting enough exercise.
Causes of fatigue and extreme tiredness in pregnancy may include:
Building the placenta
During the first trimester, a substantial amount of your body’s energy goes into building a life-support system for your baby.
The placenta is hugely important since it provides oxygen and nutrients to your growing baby and removes waste products from their blood.
It makes sense, then, that you might be feeling extra sleepy during this time.
As the NHS states, during pregnancy, your hormones are going on a roller coaster of change, which in turn can cause havoc to your emotions and mental health.
This can be exhausting to experience, and in turn can make you feel extremely over tired.
According to the NHS, iron-deficiency anaemia is caused by lack of iron. You need a lot of iron while you’re pregnant, and it can sometimes be difficult to get enough.
Why Does Pregnancy Make You So Tired
The biggest reason: Its hard work making a baby and it can be taxing to your body. Your body has to adjust to maintain your health and the health of the baby inside of you, Dr. Saunders said. The physiologic changes and increased metabolic demand start in early pregnancy and can continue even after childbirth while breastfeeding.
Beginning somewhere between conception and implantation, pregnancy hormones kick in affecting your body, mood and sleep. During the first trimester, you may also experience morning sickness, frequent nighttime bathroom breaks and leg cramps, which can leave you feeling pretty tired.
Then starting around your second trimester, you may start to get a little pep in your step. You may start to feel more like yourself again. But dont be alarmed if you are still pretty exhaustedespecially if you have other children to care for. Fatigue is still possible during the second trimester.
In late pregnancy, youll most likely begin to feel tired again. At this point, your baby has grown quite a bit and is putting more physical demands on your body. Youre carrying around extra weight and its more difficult to get comfortable when you sleep. Add in leg cramps and heartburn, and sleep becomes even more elusive.
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Is Pregnancy Fatigue Ever A Cause For Concern
Fortunately, pregnancy fatigue typically doesnt negatively impact anything but your social life. Its simply your bodys response to the monumental task of harboring a little human in your uterus. So, in other words, its normal. However, if you have any concerns about how tired you feel, dont hesitate to reach out to your doctor. In rare cases, underlying conditions like anemia or chronic fatigue syndrome could be contributing to your exhaustion and require attention. Most likely, though, youve got nothing to worry about .
Pay Attention To What You Are Eating
This is so important during any pregnancy you need to pay attention to what you feed yourself and your baby by following a well balanced, nutritional diet.
Introducing certain foods into your diet will help you stay energized and get through another exhausting day.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, giving you a sufficient amount of natural sugars that will boost your energy levels.
Some foods that should definitely be on your diet list are red peppers, blueberries, avocado, and walnuts.
In spite of the feelings of sickness that the majority of pregnant women endure, and the fact that eating is the last word you want to hear, bear in mind that an empty stomach is the worst solution.
Eating regularly and often will make a crucial impact on how you feel.
One great way to ensure this? Make sure you always have some healthy homemade snacks on hand.
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The First Trimester: What To Expect
A healthy first trimester is crucial to the normal development of the fetus. You may not be showing much on the outside yet, but on the inside, all of the major body organs and systems of the fetus are forming.
As the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall, several developments take place, including the formation of the:
Amniotic sac. A sac filled with amniotic fluid, called the amniotic sac, surrounds the fetus throughout the pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is liquid made by the fetus and the amnion that protects the fetus from injury. It also helps to regulate the temperature of the fetus.
Placenta. The placenta is an organ shaped like a flat cake that only grows during pregnancy. It attaches to the uterine wall with tiny projections called villi. Fetal blood vessels grow from the umbilical cord into these villi, exchanging nourishment and waste products with your blood. The fetal blood vessels are separated from your blood supply by a thin membrane.
Umbilical cord. The umbilical cord is a ropelike cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.
It is during this first trimester that the fetus is most susceptible to damage from substances, like alcohol, drugs and certain medicines, and illnesses, like rubella .
During the first trimester, your body and your babyâs body are changing rapidly.
Technically Speaking Youre Not Really Pregnant At Week One Your Pregnancy Clock Starts From The First Day Of Your Last Menstrual Period
Ovulation happens in the second week, and by the third week, you could very well have a positive pregnancy test. By week four, you may be experiencing some common pregnancy symptoms, like bloating, nausea, breast tenderness, or fatigue. Week five and six is all about the development of your little fetus. Even though its only about the size of a grain of sand, it starts to develop arm and leg buds, blood is pumping through its circulatory system, and most organs have started to develop.
Weeks six eight is when most women discover theyre actually pregnant! You may experience more first trimester symptoms, and will likely have your first prenatal check-up. Between weeks eight nine, you may even be able to see the heartbeat for the first time. The fetus is now about an inch long, and while that is tiny, your belly may start to expand just a bit in the final weeks of your first trimester.
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Causes Of Fatigue In The Third Trimester
Tiredness from early pregnancy could return with a vengeance later on in pregnancy. Third trimester fatigue is due to:
- Your growing baby bump. Your baby is growing fast, and you’re carrying more weight than you were earlier on in pregnancy. Carting around all those pounds can be exhausting.
- Pregnancy insomnia and other symptoms. Your burgeoning bump along with pregnancy symptoms including heartburn, backache and restless leg syndrome may make sleep more elusive than ever.
- The stress of having a baby. Your baby-overloaded life, which may be jam-packed with shopping lists, to-do lists, baby-name lists and other decisions to be made, could also be costing you sleep and energy.
- Multi-tasking. Add responsibilities like a job and other kids to the mix, and the fatigue factor often multiplies.
What Can I Do To Cope
- Listen to your body’s signals Try taking catnaps or going to bed early. At work, even a 15-minute nap can make a difference, so if you’re lucky enough to have an office door, shut it, put your head down on your desk and rest. Or get creative and try and have a nap in your lunch hour – you could even nap in your car if there is nowhere else for you to sleep.
- Try to adjust your schedule If possible, arrange to take work home over the weekend so you can go home early once in a while. Or, if you’re already a mother, give yourself a break now and then and leave your children with someone else so you can catch up on your sleep.
- Try to make sure you’re eating properly You don’t need to “eat for two.” You only need about 340 extra calories in your second trimester and 452 extra calories in your third trimester – and we’re not talking about chips and chocolate . A healthy diet made up of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, skimmed milk, and lean meats can be energizing junk food, by contrast, actually saps your energy levels. Eating and drinking little and often may help with nausea and vomiting .
- Hang in there Soon enough you’ll be in your second trimester and hopefully raring to go again. You may even be up to a night out at the movies or going away for a long weekend, though you might not want to make a habit of it. Soon enough you’ll be looking back on this period of undisturbed nights with something akin to nostalgia. So consider stocking up on your zzzs while you can.
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When Does Pregnancy Fatigue End
You are probably going to experience some fatigue throughout your pregnancy. There will be times when it seems to be steady, but there will also be times when your fatigue appears to spike upwards.
Fatigue levels typically vary by trimester. For example, hormone-induced fatigue may end during the second trimester, but weight-bearing fatigue will begin during the third trimester.
Your body needs more rest now than it has in a long time, so make sure you take all the time you need to help restore your energy.
When your pregnancy ends, your pregnancy-related fatigue will diminish, but that doesnt mean your days of being tired are over. Once your little baby makes their entrance into this world, a whole new type of fatigue begins.
Pregnancy Fatigue: Whats Normal And Whats Not
Are you dragging these days? Does a nap sound fantastic right now?
Life can be exhausting at times, but especially when youre pregnant. Its totally normal to have some degree of fatigue right nowyou are growing a human inside of you!
Fatigue may be one of the most common first symptoms of pregnancy a woman experiences, said Kelley Saunders, MD, an OBGYN at Banner University Medicine Womens Institute in Phoenix, AZ. It is very common and quite significant in the first trimester. For many women, this improves in the second trimester and returns in the late third trimester.
Although its common among pregnant women, you may still wonder why.
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