Have you found yourself hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock over and over in the morning? Do you pray for bedtime on the daily, like your life depends on it? Have you suddenly found yourself desperate for a catnap, multiple times a day? Congrats! You are experiencing the “wonderful” phenomena known as pregnancy fatigue. The good news is that in about nine months (or less) you will be holding a beautiful, heathy baby in your arms. The bad news is you might not get a good night’s sleep again for another 18 years. But hey, what’s a little sleep compared to the joy of parenting?
What causes pregnancy fatigue?
During the first trimester, an enormous amount of energy goes into building a life support system for your baby (the placenta), which may be why you feel extra exhausted around week nine. Your body’s metabolism has significantly increased, and your blood sugar and pressure tend to be lower. Most (but not all) pregnant women tend to experience a renewed sense of energy in the second trimester — but I guess it depends on how many other children you are chasing around. Can I get an amen?! But beware: fatigue can return with a vengeance in the final trimester (for a myriad of reasons including difficulty sleeping). So what’s a girl to do?
How do I combat pregnancy fatigue?
1. Take cues from your body.
You may be super woman (girlfriend, we know you are), but even super heroes need to rest sometimes. You are growing another human being. This is a full-time job. The dishes and the laundry can wait; relax when your body says to relax. The housework isn’t going anywhere, we promise.
2. Eat well and eat often.
The professionals recommend a diet high in a variety of organic fruits and vegetables, as well as staying away from processed foods — as much as possible. So put down that hot dog, and blend up a green smoothie! (This is actually one of my favorite ways to reach my desired daily intake of greens, whether expecting or not.) Small, healthy snacks (like nuts and yogurt) can give you a great energy boost, and an occasional cupcake never hurt anybody! 😉
3. Ask for help!
You do not have to suffer in silence. Don’t be afraid to ask your partner or a good girlfriend for some help (with kiddos or errands or whatever) as needed. Let’s face it, pregnancy is beyond exhausting. Don’t be a martyr, but don’t overdo it. And never forget to return the favor!
4. Get more (better) sleep.
There’s no shame in going to bed earlier. You’re pregnant; you probably aren’t missing anything anyway. And you need all the rest you can get. In just a few short months, you will be wishing that you had taken advantage of those chances at a few extra sleeps. Trust me. (Been there, done that.) 15-20 minute power naps can be rejuvenating. I nap every day, whether pregnant or not.
5. Keep moving.
We get it, regular exercise is probably the last thing on your radar when you are pregnant and “zombie tired” — but it is so good for you, and can have a huge impact on your energy levels. No one is saying you should begin training for a marathon; in fact, you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. But even (daily) brisk walking can make a difference. Channel your inner fitness goddess, and #justdoit.
6. Avoid caffeine.
I know, this one is the worst! But the professionals say it can affect your sleep and your mood. While a sugary caramel frap may seem like the perfect mid-afternoon pick me up, it will actually leave you feeling worse in the long run. I wish I was making this up, but I’m not.
7. Talk to your doctor.
This is probably the most important piece of advice. Extreme fatigue during pregnancy (or otherwise) can be a symptom of more serious health complications, so you should always consult your physician when you are experiencing any kind of pregnancy discomfort. He or she may want to run tests to check for anemia, hypothyroidism, and prenatal depression. The only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask.
What remedies and solutions have you found for handling pregnancy fatigue? We’d love to hear! Feel free to share in the comments section below. And then go take a nap.