Have you been dragging your feet all day? Can’t wait to crash into your bed after coming home from work? Pregnancy fatigue is fairly common in the first trimester of pregnancy, and then after giving a break in the second trimester, it returns in the third trimester. It is normal to feel all overly tired, exhausted and worn out during the early weeks and towards the end of pregnancy. However, pregnancy is different for every woman, some may feel fatigued all through their pregnancy while some seem to have an everlasting battery and are very active.
Pregnancy brings in a lot of changes in every part of the body which makes you feel exhausted. Well, pregnancy is, simply put, some real hard work. Even though you’re a good sleeper you will find it impossible to sleep during your pregnancy owing to frequent bathroom breaks that you might be taking. During the first trimester or the initial weeks the body has to work enormously hard because the energy is used to make the placenta, which supports your baby’s life throughout the nine months of pregnancy. There is a drastic change in your metabolism and hormone levels, the blood pressure and blood sugars keep fluctuating and tend to drop down, and all this contributes to exhaustion. Hence, though there is no ‘single answer’ as to what causes pregnancy fatigue, yet your hormonal changes, particularly increase of progesterone, has been found to be the most likely cause. Add to that the roller coaster ride of pregnancy mood swings, and you have more to blame for your fatigue and drag.
In the second trimester the energy level rises gradually and you will start feeling little better. This is because the main task of building placenta is completed during this phase and the body is now used to the hormonal and metabolism changes. This is the time when you can rejuvenate the energy and accomplish major tasks. For some women, it may still not be good – which is just as normal – it is till possible to feel exhausted during this phase. Some women tend to enjoy the second trimester of the pregnancy as their baby and the body has somewhat settles in the routine. The happy trimester won’t last too long as fatigue will return in the last trimester when you have a big bump, the fetus is grown, and puts a lot of pressure on your body; carrying this extra weight will make you feel tired.
Below are some tips to help cope with pregnancy fatigue:
Working during pregnancy can be contributing to fatigue and exhaustion to a great extent. At work, try to take things slowly and at your own pace. If your job does involve a lot of moving, speak to HR to change your profile. Do not take new assignments or projects when pregnant. Keep yourself well organised so that you do not miss on the targets and the deliverables. People are tuned to help pregnant women, so do not take it the other way, instead gladly accept help from colleagues. Sit straight and keep your feet elevated, like on a stool or a pile of books. Read on working during pregnancy.
If you feel that you are drained out by the time it is afternoon, try sneaking two or three smaller meals instead of a big, heavy lunch. Try to get a nap if possible or just close your eyes for a few minutes. Taking your mind off sometimes really helps. Caffeine is not really recommended, but go for a small cup of herbal tea once in a while if that helps you.
As your pregnancy advances you may feel that you are running short of breath some times. This is mostly due to the fact that a pregnant body needs more oxygen and your body is adapting to making amends with this change. This does not mean that you breathe more times, but your inhalation and exhalation of air does increase significantly with each breath. Towards the end of the pregnancy, your growing uterus puts pressure on your diaphragm and breathing could seem like a task. This is often so if you are carrying multiples, or have excessive amniotic fluid.
Pregnancy fatigue accompanied with severe and sudden shortness of breath could be indicative of some other problem, so do take your doctor’s advice. Fatigue that is accompanied with sudden gasping, weakness, or fainting spells would need immediate medical attention.
If you still feel exhausted during the rest of your pregnancy, talk to your doctor, some may experience prenatal depression. Feeling fatigued is not harmful for your baby so be assured about it. Prenatal care is a huge must, so be regular with your appointments with the doctor. But whenever possible, try and get enough rest, after the little one comes, you will have a lot of those sleepless nights.
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