All About Tiredness and Fatigue in Pregnancy

Tiredness and Fatigue During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings along with it a whole new set of concerns and worries, apart from excitement and joy. Apart from the mental and emotional concerns, a lot of physical changes are seen during this time. With a change in the number of hormones released in the body comes tiredness and fatigue that can alarm most mothers-to-be.

Is it Normal to Feel Tired During Pregnancy?

The simple answer is, yes, it is normal to feel tired during pregnancy, especially in the first and last few weeks of the pregnancy. In the first trimester, there are a massive number of changes happening in your body. Your hormones are working overtime to make the required changes required for the healthy development of the foetus. This includes the creating of the placenta which is the primary support for the foetus. The metabolism rate also increases which could add to the feeling of tiredness. Towards the end of the pregnancy, managing sleep will be primarily the cause of fatigue along with carrying a nearly full-term baby.

Why Do You Feel so Tired in Pregnancy?

As you go through each stage of pregnancy, you will find that you are feeling tired. There are many causes of fatigue in pregnancy. Here are a few:

  • Creating the placenta
  • Low blood sugar levels
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mood imbalances causing tiredness
  • Insomnia
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Carrying extra weight that you are not used to
  • Back pain
  • Anxieties of becoming a mother
  • Anaemia caused by iron deficiency
  • Prenatal depression

These are some of the most common causes of fatigue in pregnancy. While most of them do not require medical attention, it is best that you keep your doctor informed about all your symptoms as causes like anaemia and depression should not be left unsupervised.

When Does Pregnancy Fatigue Occur?

The most common time for fatigue during pregnancy is in the first trimester. This will usually begin three weeks after conception and will continue for the entire first trimester. By the second trimester, you will start feeling better as the herculean task of creating the placenta will be over. Your body will also now be used to the change and hormones and nausea related to pregnancy should be behind you. Fatigue and tiredness might hit you again in the third trimester as the weight of the foetus will now hamper your ability to sleep restfully.

Fatigue During the First Trimester

The fatigue a woman feels in her first term of pregnancy is more than likely caused by changes in the hormone levels. The increase in the hormone progesterone causes excessive sleepiness. Apart from creating the placenta, the body is also producing more blood to be able to supply the developing foetus with the nutrients it requires as it continues to develop. During this time, the blood pressure and sugar levels will also be low, creating a feeling of tiredness.

One of the most overlooked aspects of tiredness in early pregnancy is the role emotions have to play. All mothers-to-be have faced some anxiety or the other regarding motherhood and the health of their baby. This anxiety can weigh down heavily on your strength and cause fatigue.

Fatigue During the Second Trimester

While it is still possible for you to feel tired, the second trimester is not known as ‘the happy trimester’ for no reason. In this time, you should start feeling like your old self, with your energy levels closer to what they were before conception. If you have put off doing important tasks during the first trimester, now is the time to get on top of things again as tiredness during the second trimester of pregnancy will not be a major hindrance.

Fatigue During the Third Trimester

During the last trimester, you will start to feel fatigued due to carrying the extra weight of the foetus. This will prevent you from getting a full night’s rest due to the development of conditions like restless leg syndrome.

Fatigue During the Third Trimester

As the foetus pushes down on your bladder, you will also wake up to urinate multiple times in the night. Also, you might start experiencing some back pain due to the extra weight. All of these contribute to the general feeling of tiredness during the last trimester.

When Can Pregnancy Tiredness Be a Sign of Something Serious?

In some cases, the tiredness, fatigue and generally low levels of energy can be because you have anaemia due to low levels of iron in your body. Your routine tests will show if you are struggling will low iron levels and your doctor will recommend a diet that is rich in iron or will prescribe iron supplements.

A lack of sleep and exhaustion could also mean that you are suffering from prenatal depression. This type of depression is more common than you think and will need to be addressed by a professional. Do not hesitate to tell your doctor if you are feeling any signs of hopelessness or lack of interest in the things you like. Getting help for depression during your pregnancy is crucial, as it may not resolve itself even after the delivery.

How Long Does Pregnancy Tiredness Last?

Tiredness and fatigue are, in fact, symptoms of pregnancy along with nausea and vomiting. Together, they form morning sickness. Fatigue can sometimes even fuel your nausea, and it is important that you rest well during this period. Most women report that their morning sickness wears off during the 14th to 16th week of pregnancy. However, some women continue to face nausea till the 20th week.

How Long Does Pregnancy Tiredness Last?

After this, your energy levels should come back up right up until the 28th week which is when the foetus is large enough to interrupt your sleep. Keep in mind that the levels and duration of fatigue during pregnancy varies for each woman.

Coping With Tiredness When Pregnant

There are many things you can do in order to cope with the tiredness that comes with being pregnant.

  • Listen to your body: Your body will send you signals that it is tired and needs rest to recuperate. When this happens, even a short 20-minute nap will do you and your body wonders. Get into bed early during the first trimester and do not take on extra chores or assignments during this time.
  • Reschedule: A part of rescheduling is delegating tasks. You need to start recognising the tasks that you must absolutely do by yourself and the ones you can delegate to others. Do not hesitate to talk to your family about relieving you off some tasks like cooking or cleaning. Even at the workplace, start to give out non-crucial tasks to others.
  • Healthy diet: One aspect where you must put in energy is making sure that you eat a balanced and healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables. This will go a long way in combating your tiredness during pregnancy. If you are battling morning sickness, then break down your meals into palatable portion sizes and keep your energy up.
  • Exercise: You can talk to your doctor about which exercises you can do on a daily basis in order to keep your energy levels up. From prenatal yoga to daily walks, there are many light exercises you can do to maintain your health. This will not only boost endorphins but also enable you to sleep better at night.

Coping With Tiredness When Pregnant

  • Relax: One of the things that most mothers-to-be neglect is taking the opportunity to relax. Book a spa day with your friends and truly immerse yourself in the relaxing atmosphere of the spa. Relegate a certain portion of the day where you lay on the couch or bed and do things that keep you calm and relaxed.

Will Fatigue Hurt your Baby?

In most cases, the fatigue that is almost synonymous with pregnancy will not have any effect on the developing foetus. While the pregnancy might put your body through a host of changes that causes fatigue, this will not hurt your baby in any manner.

However, in some cases, the fatigue could be a sign of an underlying condition such as anaemia. Remember to keep all your appointments with the doctor to track your health.

Fatigue during pregnancy can be a damper to the anticipation of having a baby. However, keeping your health in mind, a few simple solutions should ease your discomfort and your lack of energy levels. Remember, fatigue during pregnancy is extremely common and you must not hesitate to ask for help.  

Also Read: Body Changes During Pregnancy – Week By Week

Previous article «
Next article »