So Tired: Coping with Pregnancy FatiguePregnancy
Fatigue during pregnancy: one day we're running from one errand to the next with ease; the next day it's Netflix and literally ‘chill.’ Have you felt like you run out of gas a lot quicker now that you are expecting a baby? It's actually very common to be fatigued during certain stages of pregnancy, butthere may be some ways you can outsmart it.
Why Do We Get So Tired During Pregnancy?
During the first trimester of pregnancy, fatigue is a near-universal side effect. In fact, many women have first suspected their pregnancy due to feeling more tired than usual. Your body is working hard, producing more blood, growing a baby and placenta, and manufacturing a lot of hormones – and these can all contribute to your pregnancy fatigue. Even emotional struggles such as anxiety about the baby or coming to terms with an unplanned pregnancy can play into your ability to stay on your feet and focused.
By the time you get to your second trimester, many of your more unpleasant symptoms, including fatigue and morning sickness, may start to melt away. In fact, the second trimester is many a woman's ‘favorite part’ of pregnancy, with neither the early stages' nausea or the later stages' swelling.
By the time you reach the third trimester, it's common to feel the fatigue creeping back up. You may have gained some weight, as well as a rapidly growing baby, and you're probably getting up in the night to go to the bathroom. Sleeping is already a little extra challenging near the end of pregnancy!
Ways to Deal with Pregnancy Fatigue
Although for most women some level of fatigue is inevitable due to the demands of pregnancy on our bodies, there are some ways you can meet your body's needs and still get a few things done, too.
- Cut out nighttime fluids
If you're used to drinking a glass of water or milk before bed, cutting back might save you some trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Less time peeing, more time sleeping.
- Allow time for naps
Getting a decent amount of rest, when you need it, will help you make the times you are awake and up all the more productive. A few energetic hours will help you accomplish so much more than an entire day of groggily trying to push through when you can't stop thinking about a nap. Allow yourself to have at least one good nap, so you can recharge for the next leg of the day.
- Shrink your schedule
It's really okay to lessen your load while you're working hard to grow a baby. If you find yourself becoming too stressed or overworked, take a good look at your schedule. Say “no” to some commitments, eat takeout a little more often, or consider reducing hours at your job if possible. There will come a day in the future when you can go, go, go again.
- Balance a healthy lifestyle
You can help keep your energy levels in check by exercising moderately and getting proper nutrition. Your doctor or midwife should be able to provide you with information on vitamins and supplements, as well as discuss any diet changes, but in general it's important to get enough protein, iron, and calories from healthy foods to give your body the fuel it needs to function at its best. A 30-minute walk after filling up on lean protein and vegetables will help almost anyone feel fantastic!
Above all, be kind to yourself and listen to your body. If you can do all of your usual pre-pregnancy activities without suffering, that's great. If you need to sleep half the day in order to get through the other half, that is okay too. Pregnancy is a season, and the fatigue won't last forever. Soon enough, you will be miss being pregnant! Truly.
Loree Siermachesky works as a multi-certified labour and postpartum doula, certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding counselor, certified placenta encapsulation specialist and a certified car seat technician in Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. She has had the honour of attending over 1400 births in the last 20 years. She is well-known and greatly respected by the medical providers in Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Brooks, Taber, and Calgary. She cares deeply for this profession and even more for her clientele, honoring them in whatever method of birth they choose, or helping them transition to new parenthood as they wish.