What Causes Pregnancy Fatigue?
The character in the fairy tale may have nothing on you when it comes to feeling tired-especially during the first trimester of your pregnancy. If this is your second or third pregnancy, you may only vaguely remember the first few weeks of your first pregnancy because you slept through most of it. Being pregnant changes everything in your body, putting a strain on it and wreaking havoc with your hormones. All of this can tire a body out, so much so that lights out can happen at twilight.
The surge in progesterone, in particular, can be the cause of feeling like a slug. Sleeplessness, even though you're exhausted, can be another contributor exacerbated by frequent trips to the bathroom and a general feeling of discomfort. If you suffer with nausea and vomiting, then your body gets even more tired. Anxious thoughts can keep you feeling restless with all kinds of mind chatter creating worry.
Pregnancy Fatigue Doesn't Last Forever, Honest
While the first trimester may feel like it is a full twelve months long, the fatigue often passes by the second trimester and you'll begin feeling energetic again. Relish and enjoy that period because around the seventh month or so, as baby is bigger and you are approaching the end of your pregnancy, your body will begin to tire out again. This time the fatigue is caused by trying to find a comfortable place for your greatly enlarged body, backache, heartburn, leg cramps, an active little person moving around constantly (or so it seems), and of course, having to pee more often.
Calm Your Pregnancy Fears
If, by the end of the first trimester, you haven't picked up in terms of energy and you're concerned something may be wrong, then check in with your doctor. Sometimes women go through their entire pregnancy feeling tired. However, you will want to address any issues that may be an underlying cause of the fatigue. It is not uncommon for women to experience pregnancy depression and anxiety, or to suffer with anemia, which can really tire you out.
How You Can Cope Wit h Fatigue
You can do a few things for yourself to help during this period of your pregnancy. Start out by taking a rest when you feel you need one. If you work outside of the home, then using your breaks for a snack and snooze is perfectly okay. Take a "sick day" when you don't think you can manage working a full day or ask for part-time hours if you are having a problem staying awake on the job. Going to bed earlier at night is another good solution to the issue. Try to get over missing an episode of your favorite TV show and take care of yourself that way.
Remember that your caloric intake has to increase during pregnancy. You need about 300 calories a day more than when you aren't pregnant in order to nourish yourself and your baby. Just get the calories from healthy sources like fruit, veggies, lean meats, and dairy. Snickers and Mars Bars are out. Ditch the coffee and opt for water to stay hydrated. Dehydration can exhaust anyone, but especially pregnant ladies.
Exercise is a great way to increase energy. That doesn't mean a knock-out workout at the gym. Opt for a brisk walk and try some Pilates or yoga classes. The great thing about exercise is that your energy actually increases as you expend it in activity. It's a bonus for being active.
Most of all, be kind to yourself. This won't last forever and, if this is the first baby, enjoy all the sleep you can get now, before sleep becomes a distant memory.