Fatigue is defined as extreme tiredness or weakness due to physical or mental exertion. It is a situation where you don’t have the energy to perform all your routine activities. This is one of the first main symptoms of a pregnancy. When a woman is consciously trying to become pregnant, this is one indication that she might have conceived. This exhausted feeling can start as early as the week you have conceived. Few pregnant women feel tired for the complete duration of their pregnancy while some might not really get tired, except in the early stage. There is no thumb rule.
Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy cause this feeling of exhaustion. This is because the body is producing more blood to take care of you and the baby. It has to ensure adequate nutrients are carried to the baby. The levels of progesterone, which is a pregnancy hormone, increase and thus induce sleep. Blood sugar and pressure levels are low which make women feel exhausted. This can even cause dizziness and fainting spells. You don’t have an appetite and are unable to eat food well. All these cause fatigue in pregnant women.
First trimester fatigue:
The first trimester is the first 13 weeks of a pregnancy. This is the time when a woman conceives and the fetus starts growing. There are hormonal changes that occur in the woman’s body during this phase which cause her to feel tired all the time. Moreover, if this is the first pregnancy, the woman is anxious about the baby and worrying that all should be well. This can also contribute to making the woman exhausted.
Nausea and morning sickness is very common. These cause dehydration and as a result women feel exhausted. There is seldom good appetite, and lack of good diet causes exhaustion. There is also a need to urinate frequently, due to the hormonal changes. This can disturb your sleep and cause tiredness. One good thing is that the continuous tiredness for most women stop at the end of the first trimester.
Second trimester fatigue:
This is the period from 14 weeks to 27 weeks. This is the happy trimester because invariably women start feeling better and also get back their appetite and energy. Usually women do not feel fatigued in this phase. But in a few cases, women feel tired even in this period. There is nothing to worry in this, because the body is accommodating a growing baby. All is normal.
Third trimester fatigue:
These are the last three months of a pregnancy. In this phase again, women start feeling exhausted. The baby is now big and the body of the woman is heavy from carrying the extra weight of the baby. It is very difficult to perform regular chores. Each activity tires the woman completely. Also there is heartburn due to indigestion, backaches and cramp in the legs which cause loss of sleep. This is turn causes fatigue.
As the delivery date comes closer, women start getting tense. This stress and emotional strain also causes exhaustion.
How to cope with fatigue during pregnancy?
This is a very important question to answer, because the pregnant woman is perpetually tired. Here are a few pointers:
Rest: Pregnant women need adequate rest. There are lots of physical and emotional changes taking place in her. This tires the woman totally. The best solution is rest. It is good to take extra naps and sleep during the day when you feel tired. It is also good to get adequate rest at nights, without getting up for bathroom and other breaks.
Lighten your load: Sharing chores often help when you feel exhausted. These can be shared with your partners, other family members or friends. You can also use technology for lightening your load of chores like using a dishwasher instead of washing vessels yourself. It is also an option to get outside help for household chores.Also, if you are working during your pregnancy, it is good to work lesser hours and get rest.
Balanced diet: It is imperative that you eat a balanced nutritious meal. The diet should consist of lentils, soya beans, all types of vegetables and fruits, dairy products and dry fruits. You have to ensure you get iron, proteins, calcium and vitamins from your diet. This will keep you feeling energetic. It is best to avoid alcohol and smoking during the complete period of pregnancy. It is also important to include fruits juices and water in your diet. This will keep your body hydrated. It is good to avoid too much of coffee and tea.
Moderate exercise: It is important to be mobile and active throughout the pregnancy. If you can, it is good to do a few exercise and yoga movements. This is of course to be done only with the advice of your doctor. A 30 minute walk daily is also a great exercise, unless you have been advised bed rest due to a complication.
Pregnancy is a great experience. If fatigue is a part of it, it is good to accept it as such and move on. It is important that you be cheerful and positive during pregnancy.