Naturally increasing level of progesterone during pregnancy cause the body to slow down and feel tired, but Lisa Weston, registered midwife and vice president of the Association of Ontario Midwives, reminds women that the pregnancy fatigue is quite normal. ‘You are making a whole new person and that takes energy,’ she says. It’s especially prevalent during the first trimester as your body prepares to nurture your developing baby.
You won’t be able to fend off fatigue completely, but these tips should help you make it through the day until bedtime. Weston recommends women get their blood checked before pregnancy or early in the first trimester to see if other factors are contributing to fatigue. Aside from normal pregnancy fatigue, other conditions can cause extreme tiredness, such as low iron levels or abnormal thyroid levels.
Get some exercise
When you’re tired, finding the motivation to get up and exercise can be quite difficult, but it’s one of the best ways to boost your energy level. Weston encourages women to exercise daily, but not after dinner, since you need to give your body time to digest your meal. Exercise is unlikely to cause any problems in early pregnancy, and if you maintain a fitness routine, it will help you stay fit and healthy during the next nine months.
What you eat really can influence your energy level and mood, whether you’re pregnant or not. Early pregnancy does cause a boost in your metabolism ‘ most women need an extra 300 calories every day ‘ but stay away from junk food and caffeine, which will only make you feel sluggish. Eating well and staying hydrated, combined with taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid and iron, can give a woman the nutrients she needs to feel good, have energy, and support a healthy pregnancy.
Low blood sugar and low blood pressure can also contribute to fatigue, but Weston says eating a small healthy meal every two to four hours can help. She also recommends including a serving of protein with each meal. Canada’s Food Guide has a food guide servings tracker specifically designed for pregnant women to ensure they’re getting everything they need to support their pregnancy.
Sleep, sleep, sleep
Many women start losing sleep during the first trimester and Weston admits this can be caused by a variety of reasons. Frequent trips to the bathroom are quite common, but she encourages women to be wary as the frequent need to urinate could be caused by a urinary tract infection.
Vivid dreams and stress can cause sleepless nights. When possible, Weston encourages women to reduce their workload or work hours and ask for help around the house. During the day, a quick 15- to 20-minute cat nap or just sitting down for a rest can help you feel reenergized.
Going to bed early and getting as much sleep as possible can help recharge your batteries for the day to come. As your body grows, you may have a difficult time finding a comfortable position. ‘Make sure you have good support from pillows and the mattress so you can sleep comfortably,’ says Weston, adding that the services of a chiropractor and a massage therapist can also help make you feel more comfortable as your body changes. The first-trimester pregnancy fatigue can be exhausting, but many women enjoy the return of their normal energy levels by the second trimester.