Fatigue during pregnancy is common, and for some women can be debilitating.
Fatigue can impact so many areas of your life, including your mental health and even your safety when you’re behind the wheel.
For example, in the United States in 2017, driver fatigue led to 795 deaths.
Even though being tired can have severe consequences, it can feel unavoidable during pregnancy.
The following are things to know about why you feel so tired when you’re pregnant and natural ways you can combat it.
Why Do You Feel So Tired When You’re Pregnant?
Most women feel the most fatigue during their first and third trimesters of pregnancy. Sometimes that fatigue is the first sign you’re pregnant.
There are a variety of reasons you might feel this way.
Hormonal changes are one of the biggest reasons. For example, when you’re pregnant, you have higher-than-normal levels of progesterone and estrogen, and these are two hormones that have natural sedative properties. You also have lower blood pressure and blood sugar, increased blood flow and you may be feeling anxiety or stress.
It can also be more difficult to sleep at night because of physical symptoms such as digestion problems, or mental health symptoms that keep you awake.
During your second trimester, you may feel less fatigued, so you should plan ahead to try and get as much done during that time as you can.
The third trimester could bring fatigue once again, although perhaps not as severe as your first semester.
When you’re pregnant, the fatigue can be overwhelming and like no other type of tiredness you’ve experienced to this point.
When you’re feeling fatigued during pregnancy, while it is more than likely normal, let your doctor know. They may want to do tests to rule out other issues such as anemia or gestational diabetes.
One of the main ways you can overcome or at least mitigate pregnancy fatigue is to take naps when you’re tired.
It sounds simple, but a lot of us feel guilty about the idea of taking a nap. Don’t feel that way, because it’s something important you can do for your health during this time.
If you can take a nap or two throughout the day, you can make up for sleep you might miss at night.
If you can’t take naps, try to adjust your bedtime so that you’re laying down and relaxing earlier in the evening.
If you can sleep in, do it.
No matter what you have to do to get enough sleep while you’re pregnant, grant yourself the opportunity.
Exercising while you’re pregnant can feel like a challenge but it can help your symptoms in a lot of ways.
Find exercise that you enjoy doing and that’s safe for your growing belly.
When you exercise, it can actually boost your energy levels during the day and then at night can help you sleep better.
Other benefits of exercising while you’re pregnant include reduced back pain and a lower risk of developing gestational diabetes.
It can help you maintain a healthy pregnancy weight, strengthen your heart and blood vessels, and help you be healthier after your baby is born.
You don’t need to do long periods of exercise, or exercise at a rigorous pace to reap the benefits of physical activity during your pregnancy.
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
You may be craving ice cream and French fries while you’re pregnant, and an occasional splurge is fine, but watch what you eat because it can make you feel more tired. If you’re eating a lot of processed foods, you may not be getting the nutrients you need to fuel you during this time.
If you’re not getting enough calories, protein, or iron, your energy levels can be impacted.
Even when you aren’t pregnant, dehydration is one of the main reasons, so many of us feel fatigued.
Fatigue is a primary symptom of dehydration, and you may need even more water and hydration during pregnancy.
Along with making sure you have enough water throughout the day, you might also want to choose healthy snacks with high water content like watermelon or cucumber.
Finally, try meditation before bed, particularly if you’re having trouble sleeping because of anxiety.
Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and clear your mind so that you can sleep well. Meditation might be a habit you want to continue after the baby is born as well.