Fatigue can be an early pregnancy symptom. One of the biggest complaints about the first trimester is how tired you feel. Sleeping sickness is another common problem encountered. Of course, one of the rookie mistakes that most pregnant women make is to slow down and get the rest that they need. Ensure you have the luxury of time, fewer demands, a regular exercise routine and good nutrition to get you through. Listen to your body and rest when requested. Check out these secrets for fending off feelings of exhaustion when you’re expecting and get the rest you and your baby deserve.
Fatigue is common
Most women experience increased weariness during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Don’t worry. It’s a perfectly normal stage. Generally it occurs because your body is working overtime making a new human life. Hormonal changes, particularly increasing levels of progesterone, cause the body to slow down and feel tired. Any nausea or vomiting can also significantly sap energy. If tiredness persists into the second trimester, it’s always good to get your doctor to check your blood because other conditions such as anemia (low iron levels) or abnormal thyroid function can also cause fatigue and potentially serious problems for your developing baby.
Some women do feel excessively tired again by their seventh month. At that stage, you’re usually carrying a lot of baby weight. Sleep is elusive because your back aches, legs cramp, the baby is moving around, you need to urinate frequently, or could be suffering from heartburn. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to simply stay comfortable in bed. Try to get extra support from a good mattress, extra pillows and lying on your side.
Listen to your body
If you’re feeling tired, it’s essential to pay attention to your body’s signals and slowdown. This is obvious but probably one of the hardest things to do if you’re used to being busy. Start by going to bed earlier at night. Try to take short naps during the day. Even a 15-minute snooze will help immensely. If you can, put your head down on your desk at work or find a couch in the ladies’ lounge.
If you’re home with other children, nap when they do, or while they’re at school. Some women also swear by the services of a good massage therapist who is familiar with the particular challenges of pregnancy.
Cut back on activities
If you’re a social butterfly, it’s time to stay in your cocoon for a while. Cut out unnecessary social engagements. People will definitely understand. If it’s possible, think about curtailing your work hours, take vacation days mid-week, or use the sick leave that you’ve been saving. If you’re a mom at home, start calling in favors from friends and family who might be able to help with other children, housework or errands while you rest.
Eat well, but not to excess
Beware of the old wives’ tale that encourages pregnant women to eat for two. It doesn’t mean twice as much food. You will need about 300 more calories each day, but that’s not a lot extra and it doesn’t include fried foods and desserts. Junk food will actually sap your strength. And, if you gain too much weight during pregnancy, your energy levels will dip even further. Since caffeine is not healthy for a developing baby, you don’t want to drink lots of black tea or coffee to fend off fatigue either.
A healthy diet during pregnancy should include a balance of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat milk and dairy items, lean meats, pulses and other sources of good protein. Low blood sugar and low blood pressure can cause tiredness but eating a small healthy meal or snack every two to four hours will help.
The unborn baby has no working immune system of its own; the mother supplies immunity via placental circulation. Therefore, it is important that your immunity should be bolstered by a diet rich in vitamins A, C and E – these are found in green leafy vegetables and fruits. A strong immune system will help to fight disease. The healthier your diet, the better your baby’s chances of getting a varied range of beneficial nutrients. Eating healthy meals that cover most nutrients, nurturing yourself and communicating with your unborn baby will give you and your baby a loving and healthy start.
Get some exercise
When you’re feeling tired, it seems completely counter-intuitive to think that you will get more energy from exercising, but this is the truth. Exercise is actually one of the best ways to boost energy levels and fight fatigue. A brisk walk outside daily, but not immediately after dinner, is a good start. You can progress to pregnancy yoga and other gentle exercise programs.
Exercise isn’t likely to cause any problems early in a pregnancy and if you start early and maintain a fitness routine, it will help you start early and maintain a fitness routine, it will help you stay fit and energized throughout your pregnancy and later when you’ll really need it to look after a demanding baby.
Finally, if you don’t take advantage of the opportunities to rest and relax while you’re pregnant, you’ll probably look back with great fondness for all those relatively undisturbed nights of sleep after baby arrives and the pace really picks up. Take my word for it.