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.
What Causes Pregnancy Fatigue?
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.
Some Common Reasons of Pregnancy Fatigue
- Your body is working overtime to support the baby it is nurturing
- Pregnancy fatigue can be a result of iron deficiency anemia. Get yourself checked for it
- You may not be getting enough sleep and rest owing to those interrupting bathroom breaks
- Health problems like anemia, thyroid, depression etc. can also make you tired and exhausted
- Nausea and vomiting may take a toll on your energy levels
- You have a hectic schedule and cannot take it in your stride
Pregnancy Fatigue During Second Trimester
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.
How to Cope With Pregnancy Fatigue?
Below are some tips to help cope with pregnancy fatigue:
- Adjust your schedule: You may not be able to sleep 8 hours straight during pregnancy, hence you need to adjust your body to take frequent naps and rest to rejuvenate your energies. Try to be more organised and not take things heads-on. Prioritize and let some things wait
- Body indications: Listen to your body’s message when you’re tired. You are not a superwoman and neither should you try to be one! Dishes and dusting can wait, don’t indulge in any kind of activities which are not important. What you need now is rest, and it is not a luxury but a need
- Ask for help: Don’t hesitate to ask help from your mom or mother-in-law and of course your partner. He can do his share of work and yours too. If offered a helping hand from friends or other family members accept it. If you can afford, hiring a maid or a cook isn’t that bad an idea
- Get enough sleep: Whenever possible, take naps during the day. If you are sleepy make it a point to go to bed and get that little sleep. If possible go to bed early and cut down on late night telly or movies. Catnaps during office can benefit a great deal. Even if you sleep long hours, you might wake up feeling lethargic. Hang in there, get frequent naps and plenty of rest, it will become better
- Eat a well balanced diet: Your body needs energy, try giving it the fuel it needs. Follow a good and a healthy pregnancy diet including whole grains, proteins, carbohydrates, fish and dairy products. Five portions of vegetables and fruits should be consumed every day. Eat at regular intervals and frequently have mini meals
- Exercise: This must be the last thing on your mind, but it is a must. Simple walking or prenatal yoga can leave you feel rejuvenated and relaxed. Go for short walks or a swim it might make you feel refreshed and give you a better night’s sleep. The more you sleep the more energetic you will feel the next day
Pregnancy Fatigue and Work
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.
Pregnancy Fatigue During Afternoons
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.
Pregnancy Fatigue and Shortness Of Breath
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.