Fatigue during pregnancy is very common. Some women may feel exhausted throughout their pregnancy, while some may hardly feel tired at all. Although experience with fatigue tends to vary, most women will feel more tired than usual during their pregnancy. Fatigue during pregnancy is most common during the first trimester. It tends to go away during the second trimester, but will usually return in the third trimester.
First Trimester Fatigue
During early pregnancy, hormonal changes are likely the cause of fatigue. Your body is producing more blood to carry nutrients to your growing baby. Your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are also lower. Hormones especially increased progesterone levels, are responsible for making you sleepy. In addition to the physical changes occurring in your body, emotional changes can contribute to decreased energy.
Whether the pregnancy is planned or unplanned, you may experience anxiety about motherhood, worry about the baby’s health, or even experience conflicting feelings about your pregnancy. It is important to understand that your emotions do play a part in how you feel physically, and all of these things are a natural and normal part of pregnancy.
Second Trimester Fatigue
During your second trimester, there is a good chance your energy level will increase and you will start to feel more like your old self. Many women take advantage of this time during the pregnancy to accomplish important tasks, as energy levels will likely decrease again in the third trimester. This is often called “The Happy Trimester.” Now don’t be alarmed if during this trimester you still experience fatigue. More than likely it will be less obvious, but unfortunately, fatigue during pregnancy is still possible during the second trimester.
Third Trimester Fatigue
In late pregnancy, you will most likely begin to feel tired again. At this point you will be carrying extra weight from the baby, maybe having trouble sleeping, and dealing with frequent urination more often. The following are a list of ways to cope with the fatigue you may be experiencing.
Coping Steps for Fatigue During Pregnancy
- Rest– Make sure you allow yourself to get extra bed rest during the times you feel fatigued. This can be accomplished by going to bed earlier or taking a nap during the day, if possible. Avoiding fluids several hours before bed is also a good way to cut down on the number of times you have to get up at night to use the bathroom.
- Adjust Schedule – If your current commitments or activities prove to be too draining during pregnancy, you may have to temporarily adjust your schedule to be less busy. This can include cutting back your hours at work, if possible, or asking friends and family to assist you with housework/errands.
- Eat a Balanced Diet– Eating nutritious meals will go a long way toward supporting your energy levels. Make sure you get enough iron, protein, and calories. Fatigue can become worse if you are not getting the proper nutrients. Also, you will need to ensure you stay hydrated during your pregnancy.
- Moderate Exercise – Although you may feel like you do not have the energy to exercise, if you incorporate moderate activity, such as a 30-minute walk, this will actually make you feel more energized. Exercise is beneficial in pregnancy unless your healthcare provider has advised otherwise.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Roger W. Harms, M.D., E.-I.-C. Mayo Clinic: Guide to a healthy pregnancy. USA: American Academy of Pediatrics.