Throughout my own pregnancy journey, I have shared some of the challenges and the tips that helped me along the way. I’ve talked about pregnancy back pain and what exercises you can do while pregnant. Something I haven’t touched on is what to do when pregnancy fatigue hits, and you don’t feel like doing anything.
For anyone who is used to being active every day, pregnancy fatigue can be challenging! If you’ve never experienced it, imagine feeling SO tired that simple tasks leave you exhausted.
In this blog, I want to talk more about what pregnancy fatigue feels like and provide some simple things you can do to minimise pregnancy fatigue.
What is pregnancy fatigue?
Because your body is going through so many physiological changes, it’s not a big surprise that many women may notice feelings of fatigue during pregnancy.
Basically, your body’s working overtime to support the healthy development of your baby. On top of numerous hormonal changes, there is also an increase in blood volume — which means your body needs to use more energy and nutrients to keep it going.
During the first trimester of pregnancy, your body needs to develop the placenta. This takes a huge amount of energy. On top of that, your metabolism can also increase while your blood sugar levels and blood pressure are lower, making it harder to stay energised.
Plus, many women can also be dealing with nausea and ‘morning’ sickness — which can also contribute to fatigue.
So, what does pregnancy fatigue feel like?
It’s hard to know exactly what it feels like to have pregnancy fatigue unless you’ve experienced it. Imagine feeling fine one minute and then feeling exhausted the next! Doing everyday tasks, like making dinner, can feel extra draining during pregnancy, particularly the first trimester.
In your third trimester, pregnancy fatigue can return. Carrying a baby places extra strain on your body, not to mention it can make it harder to rest comfortably, which can affect the quality of your sleep.
Here are some things you can do to fight pregnancy fatigue — naturally!
7 natural ways to manage pregnancy fatigue
I know there are lots of changes to deal with during pregnancy, but making an effort to listen to your body and to care for yourself can really pay off.
1. Sleep as much as possible
Once pregnancy fatigue sets in, don’t be surprised if you feel like sleeping ALL of the time. Growing a human takes a lot of energy so feeling tired and wanting to get lots of sleep during pregnancy is common.
While you can’t put your life on hold due to your pregnancy, try to make room in your day to get to bed as early as possible. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night, or more if you feel as though you need it.
For anyone not sure if they can get to bed early enough —embrace naps! Taking time to sleep during the day can help to reduce the feeling of pregnancy fatigue too.
2. Exercise regularly
That feeling of fatigue during pregnancy might have you wishing you could spend all day on the couch, but it can be beneficial to get up and exercise.
Even on the days when my energy levels felt low, I tried my best to stay active during pregnancy. Even taking a short walk can help to release feel-good endorphins and leave you feeling more energised.
3. Stay hydrated
We often underestimate the power of hydration! Staying hydrated is always important to keep your body functioning at its best — and this also applies during pregnancy.
A common sign of dehydration is fatigue. When your body doesn’t have sufficient fluids, it can begin to lower your blood volume, making your heart work harder to pump the blood around your body. If you feel really tired, it can be your body alerting you that you need to drink more water.
Morning sickness can also put you at risk of dehydration, so try to keep your fluids up or (if possible) snack on foods with high water content, such as cucumber or watermelon.
For anyone who is experiencing fatigue during pregnancy, make an effort to track how much water you are actually drinking. You might be surprised to see you aren’t drinking as much as you thought.
While I’m staying as hydrated as possible, I reduce my fluid intake before bed so that I am not up and down to the toilet several times each night!
4. Eat to keep your energy up
A healthy diet can help you to feel more energised, so stock up on more of the best foods to eat while pregnant.
Eating a well-balanced diet can help to give your body the nutrients it needs to perform and to support a healthy pregnancy.
5. Have a regular sleep schedule
Whether you are pregnant or not, a regular sleep schedule can help you to make the most of the time you are resting. If possible, try to get into a habit of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Sticking to a set bedtime can make it easier for your body to recognise when it is time to start winding down for bed — so you may find that you are able to get more sleep each night.
Pregnancy fatigue isn’t all physical — mentally you may find yourself feeling a little fatigued as well. It can be hard to sleep when your mind is busy thinking of everything that needs to be done before your baby arrives.
Making time to meditate can help to relieve stress by allowing you to focus on taking deep breaths and on being still for a few moments.
If you’re finding it hard to switch off and fall asleep at night, keep a notepad by the bed and write down all of the things you are thinking about. Organising everything into a to-do list can help to clear your mind for sleep. It can also make all of those tasks feel more manageable.
7. Pick healthy snacks
Just as it is important to eat foods that will help to keep your energy up, having a quick snack can also help to fight pregnancy fatigue. Choosing a healthy snack can help to keep your blood sugar levels stable, so you are less likely to have energy spikes and falls.
While it can be hard to resist when pregnancy cravings set in, try to stay away from unhealthy ‘quick fixes’ such as sweet biscuits or chocolate bars. They can lead to a blood sugar spike, followed by a crash, which may leave you feeling more fatigued after the sugar wears off.
Those are some natural ways to reduce pregnancy fatigue
Ladies, pregnancy fatigue is very common and it can be a part of your pregnancy journey. Even though you may feel exhausted at times, try to remember that this is an amazing, life-changing experience for you and your family.
Trying to eat more energy-rich foods and to rest more can make a big difference if you are dealing with fatigue. Listen to your body and take up those offers of help from friends and family — taking care of yourself is so important!
How To Combat Pregnancy Fatigue Naturally – Kayla Itsines is written by Louise Tilley for www.kaylaitsines.com