Coping With Pregnancy Fatigue
Pregnancy is hard work - both for mamas and their growing babies! The first trimester fatigue (and the overall level of exhaustion that lingers throughout the whole pregnancy) is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome, especially if you work or have other children to care for. While everyone around you might be telling you to get all the rest you can before the baby arrives, it’s hard to actually do so!
1. Get an adequate amount of sleep each night. Pregnant women should try to sleep for at least 7-8 hours every night. If you’re feeling exhausted when you get up in the morning, try moving your bedtime to an hour or two earlier, especially during the first months of pregnancy.
2. Create a good atmosphere for sleep. Block out unwanted light by hanging blackout curtains in the window. Eliminate any unnecessary lights from clocks, fans, cell phones, or nightlights. Keep the bed clean and free of clutter. Keep the bedroom cool, as pregnancy hormones can make women uncomfortably hot most of the time.
3. Eat a well balanced diet. The surge in pregnancy hormones can temporarily lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, which can cause tiredness. Instead of three big meals, try eating six small meals or snacking between meals. Eat meals that are high in nutrients like protein and fiber. Avoid sugary drinks or caffeinated drinks, especially before bed. Stay hydrated by drinking more water than you normally would. Consider buying a new water bottle to keep track of how many ounces you drink each day.
4. Enjoy naps. If you have a baby or toddler to care for while you’re pregnant, try napping with your child every day. If your little one doesn’t sleep during the day anymore, try turning on a show or giving her some books to read while you have some peaceful quiet time. If you work outside the home, try taking a quick nap during one of your breaks. Even a short snooze can help make up for sleep lost at night.
5. Be careful with caffeine. Pregnant women should not consume more than 1-2 cups of coffee per day, or have more than 200mg of caffeinated beverages in a 24 hour period. A soda usually has 30-60mg of caffeine in each serving. Too much caffeine can make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep at night, and it can also make your growing baby much more active in the womb, which can keep you up at night. If you feel like you need a pick-me-up during the day, try decaf coffee or tea, making a fruit smoothie, or having a small piece of chocolate. If you do need caffeine, try to limit it to the first half of the day and not the afternoon or evening.
6. Become aware of your thoughts. Stress and anxiety are common during pregnancy, but you can combat these feelings by recognizing your thoughts and figuring out your triggers. Many women enjoy keeping a pregnancy diary, where they can record all their questions, fears, hopes, and experiences during the nine months of growing a baby. You can also reach out to a friend, family member, or doctor about your stress level. Pregnancy nightmares and vivid dreams are also common, which can disrupt sleep. You can consider writing down your dreams to figure out what’s worrying you. It’s ok to ask for help from a professional! Although postpartum mood changes are common, depression and anxiety disorders can also begin during pregnancy. If you are feeling sad or overwhelmed to the point where you can’t go about your daily life, reach out to a mental health professional so you can figure out a plan for safe treatment during pregnancy.
7. Get moving. Exercise is important during pregnancy, and can actually help you feel less tired. Your changing body shape and weight gain can put more pressure on your muscles, so it’s important to keep your body strong throughout the pregnancy. Exercising can help reduce back pain, cause better digestion, strengthen the heart, and lead to a healthier weight gain during the pregnancy. Working out during pregnancy can help alleviate exhaustion by helping women sleep more peacefully at night. Exercises like swimming, walking, and yoga are great to do during pregnancy as they are low-impact and don’t present much of a risk. Vigorous exercise can be done during pregnancy as long as your doctor gives you the green light. As best you can, try to maintain your pre-pregnancy level of physical activity.
Try these ideas for getting some of that much-needed energy back, but make sure to pay attention to your body’s signals telling you that you need to rest. Remember, it’s ok to take a break or ask for help - your body is working hard to create a healthy new life!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.