Ahhh…far from that ‘glowing’ feeling, pregnancy fatigue can leave you feeling hopeless and not yourself. Here I go through the causes of pregnancy fatigue and what you can do to keep it at bay.
What is pregnancy fatigue?
Pregnancy fatigue is known is the general exhaustion that moms experience due to the physical and emotional demands of growing a baby. The degree of exhaustion varies between women – some will not feel it at all, some may feel tired all the time.
When does it happen?
Though it is more common to crop up in your first and third trimester, pregnancy fatigue can take it’s toll at any given time.
During the first trimester, your body is working super hard to grow a bunch of cells into an actual living embryo.
Your baby is developing a nervous system, heart and other organs in this period, which is pretty hard work if you ask me – no wonder you’re wiped out!
You may also feel tired due to the sudden shoot in the pregnancy hormone progesterone. (1)
Usually, most women feel a shoot of energy during the second trimester, but you must be careful not to overdo it with all that extra energy!
It’s tempting to make the most of this time to prepare the house for baby, buy things that are on you list or even completely re-decorate. Assign yourself little tasks at a time so you don’t wear yourself out.
As your body begins to prepare for labor in the third trimester, the baby may get into position and occupy much more space inside your belly!
This will leave you feeling a little uncomfortable and make it more difficult to sleep.
Not to mention heartburn and every thought under the sun popping into your head at 3am, lol.
So pregnancy fatigue, what can we do about it?
1) Eat often and light
As obvious as this might sound, eating often prevents your blood sugar from taking a drop and hence leaving you suddenly feel all worn out.
The best way to cope with this is to eat more often. I eat normally every 2-3 hours when I’m pregnant.
It doesn’t always have to be a meal – sometimes a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts is a great snack!
Plan your outings or trips outside the house around this. If you know you’re going to be gone for the afternoon, take something to eat with you.
Make sure to drive by a shop on the way if you need to.
Light meal/snack ideas
I love a good bowl of rice and veggies – I really think you can’t go wrong with it! But that doesn’t have to be the only grain you cook with – the main thing is that you eat wholegrain.
- Barley (makes a great addition to nourishing soups)
Eating wholegrain will leave you feeling fuller for longer and these grains are more digestible than your average bowl of pasta, so you’ll be avoiding the bloat at the same time!
Otherwise, here are some more of my favourite light meal ideas:
- Rice crackers with peanut butter
- Bagel with avocado and veggies
- Homemade trail mix
- Bowl of granola (check for sugar content)
- Fruit salad (you can mix one up and take in a tupper)
For more ideas, I will write a future post containing many different recipes you can try!
Now let’s stop talking about food or I’m gonna get hungry again…
2) Get up and move
Staying active during your pregnancy has numerous benefits.
It will increase your muscle strength, do wonders for your stamina (which can come in handy during labor!) and regulate your blood pressure so you don’t have that drop I talked about earlier.
That being said, it can be tricky trying to stay motivated to get a workout in when you’re feeling tired, cranky and nauseous.
It doesn’t have to be excessively long, you just need to get yourself moving a little each day.
One thing I did throughout my last pregnancy? Walked. Every day.
If you know a nice spot for a good 20-30 minute brisk walk, great! You can still have a quick walk around the neighbourhood though if your ideal walking location is too far.
You can also get into a prenatal workout – there are plenty to browse through on Youtube!
Or even on Amazon video, there’s a wide selection you can browse through.
If all else fails, dance!
I love me a good boogie. There’s nothing better than a good boogie to shake off a bad mood and pregnancy fatigue with it!
Make a playlist of your fave songs and when you’re feeling a little hormonal, pop it on and watch how you start to feel better.
Dancing is also a great way to get the pelvis moving and flexible for birth, so there really is no limit.
(Do watch that you’re not too out of breath to talk though – that’s your guideline)
3) Get organized
So I do feel like a little bit of a hypocrite as I write this one, because I am far from the most organized person on the planet, but I do try!
Sometimes all that mental activity going on around in there can bog you down physically as well.
A good way to combat this is to get yourself a planner.
Write down all the appointments you need to attend, things you need to get ready for baby’s arrival and whatever else is on your mind.
One thing you must do during your pregnancy is start to put yourself first – you deserve it mama.
That means prioritizing some things and letting others go.
Remember, sometimes saying no to others means saying yes to yourself.
4) Nap when you can
Granted this may not be entirely possible – if at all – if you’re still working.
But sleep is important, or should I say vital for you right now.
Yet it seems a bit ironic that I give you this advice cause it can be damn hard to get your shut eye – especially in late pregnancy!
That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in a comfy preggo cushion.
Trust me, you’re gonna need it. I tried to cope shoving normal pillows here and there and it did not do the trick.
You can get a big long one that you can cuddle up with when you need a good night’s sleep like this:
Or, if you prefer not to have a giant pillow in the bed (even if it is incredibly comfortable) I understand.
There’s also a special cushion you can just slip under your bulging belly for some relief.
5) Cut out the sugar
Look, I know the preggo cravings are…but it really does help to cut down your sugar intake, just a little bit.
Sugar is a huge part of the modern diet now – but it doesn’t have to be. With just a quick scour on Pinterest you can bring up tons of sugar free recipes you can try.
Not forgetting, of course, that fruit is a natural and nutricious way to curb a craving too.
If you do crave sugar, try not to beat yourself up about it and instead look for alternatives.
Go for satisfying meals with ‘sweet’ type vegetables such as carrots and butternut squash.
Also identifying the trigger of the craving can help you avoid it in the future – yes, not all cravings are hormonal, let’s be honest!
Most of us are huge emotional eaters. I don’t mean we eat to excess, I mean that we’ll eat things that we feel like eating. Something that fits for that very moment.
I found a great article that does more in-depth about the connection between different food cravings and emotions.
Ask yourself the next time you crave a sugary treat where can you add sweetness to your life? How can you treat yourself more kindly?
6) Drink more water
I think this is something we’re all guilty of but it seems like hard work so we put it off, or put our morning coffee first.
Something I’ve started doing a few months back is having a big glass of water in the morning, first thing when I get up.
This allows me to kickstart the day, already on top of my water game.
If drinking water is a challenge for you, why not set up a little station in the kitchen or somewhere in the house you spend a lot of time.
You can get a big water diffuser and try different flavours too, if you get fed up of the taste.
Drinking more water can help combat fatigue as it speeds up your metabolism meaning your body spends less energy on digestion.
Dehydration is also known to leave you feeling more tired and drained. (2)
7) Make time for you
Running around doing paperwork and preparing everything for baby can be exhausting.
Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break and recharge your batteries.
Think of one thing you can do for about half an hour at least twice a week and watch how your mood lifts and as a result your fatigue.
Whether it’s swimming, dancing, writing, or just a simple prenatal yoga class – you gotta put you first while you can!
8) Enlist help
The image of the superwoman mom is getting old.
Trying to do ALL the things because you think that you’re supposed to have it all together could be playing on your health and energy in the long run.
One way to combat this is to accept help when it’s offered.
Be it someone offering to load the groceries into your car, holding the door open or giving you a seat on the bus.
Now is your time to make the most of the little help you get!
Around the house, are there any tasks you can delegate to your other half? Can you prep things in advance to save time later?
Take baby steps to doing less. You deserve it.
9) Take your vitamins
Of course this should never replace a balanced diet, but ensuring you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals your body needs during pregnancy is one sure fire way to get on top of your exhaustion.
Make sure that your iron levels are good too – if not your doctor will be able to provide you with a prescription for iron tablets.
I also take magnesium in small doses when I’m pregnant.
Magnesium helps combat fatigue by regulating the sleep inducing hormon melanin, which in turn helps us get better rest. (3)
Fatigue and tiredness can really get you down during pregnancy, but hopefully following these tips and especially listening to your body will help get your energy levels back on track.