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Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the body of a woman. As the developing foetus requires essential nutrients for growth, it uses these vital elements from the mother’s body. Thus, fatigue is one of the most common problems faced by pregnant women.
A woman may feel tired and lazy at the onset of her pregnancy. This is because there is a sudden change in the level of hormones. Fatigue may reduce or disappear in the second trimester, but it kicks back in the third trimester of pregnancy.
If you too are suffering from pregnancy fatigue, it is best to ensure a healthy and nutritious diet to fight the weariness. Read on to find out some effective remedies for pregnancy fatigue.
Causes of Pregnancy Fatigue
Tiredness in pregnancy is quite common and the levels of fatigue experienced during pregnancy can differ across the three trimesters.
1. First Trimester
A dramatic increase in progesterone levels in your body can be a cause of tiredness in early pregnancy; you may feel increasingly sleepy too. Apart from this, a decrease in blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and the much-dreaded morning sickness can also leave you craving for rest!
KEY TAKEAWAY: Dr. Seema Sharma provides her insights on tiredness in early pregnancy.
- She mentions that it is absolutely normal to feel weak and tired in the initial months, as the body is going through several physiological changes.
- Increased heartbeat and blood volume, the kidneys working overtime, and insufficient sleep can get pregnant women tired in the first trimester.
2. Second Trimester
The extreme levels of fatigue that you faced in your first trimester are expected to go down by the beginning of the second trimester. But if you still feel as tired as you were during the first three months of your pregnancy, you would do best to consult your doctor.
3. Third Trimester
Just when you thought you were done and dusted with fatigue, it makes a return in your final trimester! The extra weight of the baby can cause you discomfort and lead to disturbed sleep too. The regular trips to the washroom won’t make it any easier to reduce the tiredness during pregnancy.
Apart from hormonal changes and the consistent growth of your baby bump, you may be suffering from an iron deficiency, which can reduce your energy levels. Depression can also make you feel sluggish and disinterested, and it is imperative to get help for it at once! Your diet and sleep patterns play an important role in increasing your energy levels – and once you’re pregnant, this becomes all the more important!
Tips to Fight Fatigue in Pregnancy
Here are some tips and remedies for fatigue during pregnancy.
1. Go Easy on Spicy Food
While getting pregnant is one of the best feelings in the world, it brings along a couple of restrictions. One such constraint is to cut down on foods that may cause burning sensations in the stomach. Instead try whole-wheat bread with peanut butter, dried fruit and nuts, salads or slices of low-fat cheese combined with vegetables. These complex carbohydrates go a long way in improving your vitality and providing the essential nutrients in abundance to the body.
2. Say No to Sweets and Caffeine
Sweets are irresistible for most of us, but pregnancy is the time to say no to them. Caffeine is yet another product that you need to chuck out of your food chart. Avoid coffee and go for juices rich in proteins and vitamin C, which are essential during pregnancy. Sugar and caffeine only cause your metabolism to slow down and make you sluggish.
3. Go for Small Meals
Eat five or six small meals in a day instead of three big meals. This helps in stabilizing your blood sugar and energy levels. Having light meals is easier on your digestive tract and helps fight fatigue. Consume a diet high in protein and complex carbs. Low-fat cheese, hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, frozen grapes, raw veggies and cereals are some of the foods that should be a part of your daily meals. Sometimes raw salads like cabbage and capsicum can cause gas and add to the discomfort. Identify and be wary of such foods.
4. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can also cause exhaustion. You need to remember that whatever you consume reaches your baby. Staying hydrated is a good way to keep fatigue away. Drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water daily. Opt for freshly prepared juices and fruits that have high water content in them.
5. Avoid Alcohol
It is necessary to put that tranquillizing glass of wine away, as it may increase fatigue. In addition, doctors recommend not to have alcohol during pregnancy as it may cause birth defects or mental retardation of the child, and even miscarriage.
6. Consume a Protein-Rich Diet
A protein-rich diet helps in boosting energy levels. Also, proteins aid in the development of the baby. So include eggs, milk, cheese, tofu, lentils, fish, lean meat, and beans in your diet.
7. Pump Up Iron Intake
A lot of exhaustion in pregnancy is because of the deficiency of iron. Thus, it is important to add iron-rich foods in your meals such as lean meat, soy products, dry fruits, cereals, spinach and more.
8. Don’t Forget Your Prenatal Vitamins
Pregnant women require extra nutrition and prenatal vitamins are specially formulated to provide this much-needed extra boost. Be sure that your vitamins contain sufficient level of iron and vitamin B12.
9. Catch on Your Sleep
One of the causes of fatigue during pregnancy is that your growing baby is consuming all your energy, so sleep more to catch up on your daily requirement. Even short naps can charge you up for the rest of the day.
10. The Right Kind of Sleep
It’s not just the quantity of your sleep that matters, but also the quality. Sleep should be restorative, which means that it should make you feel relaxed and reset your body. Maintain a healthy sleeping position, the best being to sleep on your left side. Also keep a pillow in between your legs, while keeping your knees and legs bent.
11. Relax More
You can experience extreme fatigue during the third trimester with the baby constantly moving inside your womb. It can be very difficult to be comfortable and leave you short of sleep. Soak yourself in a bath, read a book, listen to some soothing music or meditate. This will make you feel calm and rested.
12. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is actually a great way to invigorate your sleepy cells.Yoga, walking, pilates are popular choices during pregnancy though care must be taken to exercise only when energy levels are high. Consult with your doctor to find out what exercise is appropriate for you.
13. Listen to Upbeat Music
Yes, exercising is probably the last thing you want to do when you’re already fatigued. So amp up your workout session with a fun playlist filled with upbeat songs. Studies have shown that songs with a fast rhythm can get people motivated to nod their head, tap their fingers, and react physically, even when they want to try and repress that instinct! It also helps to elevate your mood. So go ahead and download some foot-tapping numbers for your next exercise sessions!
14. Work-Life Balance
Working mothers-to-be might find it harder to manage their office work, along with their growing bump. It’s advisable to talk to your boss and explain to him about the fatigue and opt for flexible timings.
15. Accept Help
Share the workload like cooking, cleaning etc. with your spouse, family or well-meaning friends.This way, you can save much-needed energy for your baby. This is one of the easiest tips to overcome pregnancy fatigue.
16. Opt for a Healthy Lifestyle
Switch from late nights with friends to lunch meets, and catch up on sleep. It’s fine to turn down extra work assignments and not take up any new commitments.You should feel less fatigued this way.
17. A Wonderful Bed
Your bed should be a paradise radiating calm and peace. Distractions to your sleep – phones and laptops – should be completely avoided at night.
18. The Right Shot of Caffeine
While consumption of caffeine should always be in moderation during pregnancy, a glass of ginger tea in the morning can ward off exhaustion and fatigue, and also keep nausea and morning sickness at bay.
19. Consider Aromatherapy
Certain essential plant oils are believed to energize and also help regulate sleep patterns. You can use an oil diffuser at home with grapefruit, orange or lime essential oils. Lavender oil can also help you rest more deeply.
20. Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture can help reduce stress and fatigue by stimulating certain body parts and the brain. This releases the body’s feel-good hormone – endorphins. Look for a licensed acupuncturist with experience in treating pregnant patients.
21. Make a Manageable to-do List
Some pregnant women stay up late in the night worrying about all the things that haven’t been done. It’s okay if the nursery is yet to be set up. Focus on the present and organise your planner to be in control and have a good night’s sleep.
22. Listen to Your Body
Be sure to listen to any signs your body gives you. Being pregnant saps a lot of energy out of you, so you will need to take extra care of it than you did pre-pregnancy.
23. Professional Help
Fatigue can sometimes be symptoms of anaemia. If you are suffering from extreme fatigue then you should contact your healthcare provider to check for iron deficiency or any other medical condition. The same goes for your mental health as well.
While the above-mentioned points should be considered to reduce fatigue during pregnancy, it is best to consult a doctor and get a proper food chart that contains fostabilisingods from all the major food groups. The healthier the diet you consume, the better you can fight fatigue.