Kicks and Cankles: Staying Ahead of Pregnancy Fatigue
Compared to horrific rashes or devastating nausea, fatigue seems like such a little thing. But since you know you'll be beyond exhausted after baby comes anyway, let's talk about some tips for staying ahead of the pregnancy fatigue curve.
According to most sources, including the American Pregnancy Association, pregnancy fatigue is something most pregnant women experience, usually focused in the first and third trimesters. It's also normal for some women to feel extra tired throughout the entire pregnancy, while others may not notice it as much. Thanks to the friendly hormone changes that come with pregnancy, each person will be different--but most women do experience feeling "extra tired" at some point.
Again, there are so many symptoms that are worse than just being tired, but fatigue, especially when constant, is something that can wear you down. Here are some tips to help you stay awake and ahead of pregnancy fatigue:
- Rest. It sounds simple, but going to bed early or taking a nap during the day can make a huge difference. Avoid fluids several hours before bed to cut down on nighttime bathroom trips. However, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day as dehydration won’t help your fatigue.
- Adjust your schedule. If your current commitments are too draining, maybe cut down on a couple things you can afford to do without temporarily. If this means cutting down on hours at work, so be it. Ask friends and family for help—there’s no shame in getting help before baby comes, too.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet. Foods high in calories but low in nutrients are many pregnant woman’s guilty pleasure, but they do your energy levels no favors. Iron, protein, and other nutrients will help keep you going while helping your baby develop as needed. Focus on a diet high in lean proteins, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and plenty of water. If low blood sugar is an issue for you, pack healthy snacks to consume throughout the day.
- Get moderate exercise. It might be the last thing you want to do (especially when you’re so tired), but you’d be surprised at what a brisk, 20-minute walk can do for your energy level. Moderate exercise is always beneficial during pregnancy unless your healthcare provider says otherwise, so get out and do something. Prenatal yoga, walking, swimming, or just going for a stroll with your spouse will all help to keep your circulation and energy up.
The above advice has helped many women stay afloat when it comes to the ever-present pregnancy fatigue, whether it happens in the first or third trimesters. If you still feel tired, even with these tips, give yourself a break. Pregnancy is no small thing--you're literally creating a human being inside of you and that takes a lot out of you! Do your best to take care of yourself and know that this won't last forever.
Explain how you feel to your spouse, and thank them for any help they offer. It's hard to go to bed early when it cuts into time spent with your sweetheart, but you'll be much more cheerful and loving if you are getting the rest you need.