During pregnancy, you may want to sleep more or just sit on the couch and do nothing. You might feel tired even after a good sleep. Should you be worried about it? Not really.
Fatigue is common during pregnancy and is nothing to be worried about. With a little care and change in lifestyle, you can manage fatigue with ease. Keep reading this MomJunction post to know what causes fatigue in pregnancy, when it starts to surface, and how to manage it.
Is Fatigue A Sign Of Pregnancy?
According to the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, and Neonatal Nursing, fatigue is an early sign of pregnancy. Women could have a drain of energy due to the psychological and physiological changes that happen in the body, especially in the first trimester (1). Fatigue is not a standalone sign of pregnancy and is usually accompanied by other signs such as mood swings, nausea, and headaches.
Tiredness may or may not occur in the second trimester, but some women may experience it again in the third trimester.
What Does Pregnancy Fatigue Feel Like?
You may get tired quickly, lack energy through the day, or be unable to focus on work. This, however, is normal and goes away with time (2).
Every pregnancy is unique, and hence, some women may get tired too easily, while others may not always feel fatigued. The causes of fatigue may also vary from one pregnancy to another.
What Causes Fatigue In Pregnancy?
The causes for fatigue may vary from one trimester to another. Here, we list the most common causes of fatigue in each trimester.
- Hormonal changes: When you get pregnant, the hormones rise and fall quite often. Progesterone is one of the pregnancy hormones that sharply rise in the first trimester. This usually leaves you without energy during the initial stages of your pregnancy (3).
- Rise in blood volume: There is an increase in the blood volume during pregnancy. This supplies blood for fetal circulation and the placenta, making the heart pump stronger and faster. This could also be responsible for making you tired (3).
- Anemia: Low levels of iron or too few red blood cells in your body could be responsible for causing fatigue in pregnancy (4).
Usually, fatigue disappears in the second trimester. But some women continue to experience it in the third trimester too, either due to the same reasons or due to new pregnancy changes.
- Frequent urination: Some pregnant women have to deal with frequent urination during the second trimester. This could disrupt their sleep cycle and make them tired (5).
Fatigue in the third trimester could be due to the following reasons.
- Weight: During the third trimester, the activity intolerance of a woman increases. The uterus expands, and the fetus develops, thereby making it difficult for her to do even the routine chores (6).
- Increased nutritional demands: The growing fetus requires more blood and more nutrition. This makes the mother tired easily during the last trimester of pregnancy (6).
- Others: Some other reasons that could cause fatigue in the third trimester of pregnancy include increased metabolism, stress, pain, insomnia, blood pressure, or any other condition.
Irrespective of the cause, you should understand fatigue or tiredness is normal during pregnancy and can be managed.
Tips To Manage Fatigue In Pregnancy
Making some changes in your lifestyle can help you cope with fatigue.
- Try light exercises such as walking or stretching to get rid of tiredness. Yoga and meditation also help.
- Taking naps during the day could also help you beat fatigue.
- You should have a balanced diet to maintain the energy levels in your body. Also, drink lots of water.
- Prioritize your activities, try to avoid the ones that are not necessary or that are stressful.
- If you are unable to sleep well with a growing belly, try changing your sleeping positions.
- Avoid unhealthy foods and caffeine, instead focus on eating healthy. Don’t smoke or consume alcohol.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If you feel sleepy during afternoons, take a nap. If you want to have a snack, eat something healthy. Don’t push yourself to do more than you can. Adequate resting makes it easy to manage tiredness in pregnancy.
Can Fatigue Hurt My baby?
No. Your little one is not affected by the tiredness you experience during pregnancy. Fatigue is just the outcome of what is happening inside your body. Also, it is not a serious problem to worry about. But, if you are exhausted and are unable to do any routine activity, it is better to consult your doctor.
Is Extreme Fatigue A Sign Of Twins?
No studies show that extreme tiredness could be a sign of twin pregnancy. In case you have doubts, you may talk to your doctor about it and get clarity.
How To Combat Pregnancy Fatigue At Work?
First, inform your superiors and colleagues at work about your pregnancy. Let your boss know about your health, take leaves when necessary, and make sure you are resting and eating properly even at work. If you need more leaves than you get to take, talk to your superiors, and come to an arrangement that works for both of you. But do not neglect your health in any case.
It is common to feel tired during pregnancy, and most women experience it. However, if you think it is bothering you a lot and doesn’t seem normal, contact your doctor. Fatigue can sometimes be a sign of CFD or chronic fatigue disorder. Eat healthily, stay active, and be observant of your health to deal with fatigue in time. Don’t let it make your pregnancy less enjoyable.
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