Feeling tired and exhausted all the time when you are pregnant is natural, especially in the first and final trimesters. During the first trimester, the body expends a huge amount of energy building the life-support system for your baby, the placenta. This can leave you feeling utterly exhausted. Rest assured that the tiredness will most likely ease up during your second trimester, fondly coined ‘the golden period,’ but may revisit you once again in the long and unforgiving third trimester.
Pregnancy Fatigue: 5 Fatigue-Fighting Tips
As you enter your third trimester and near your due date, fatigue is likely to strike again, especially as your weight increases and you have difficulty getting a good night’s sleep. Want to give fatigue the one-two punch? Follow these natural and practical tips to help you fight exhaustion during your pregnancy.
1. Restructure Your Time to Fight Fatigue
If you have decided to continue working for your entire pregnancy, you may need to use a little ingenuity to accommodate your new symptoms of fatigue while maintaining your normal workload. Here are a few tips for restructuring your time:
- Keep track of the hours you feel most tired in a journal or log. If you find that you are more productive in the afternoons, for instance, ask your boss about adjusting your work hours. It may be possible for you to start work later in the day (or earlier in the day if that’s your preference).
- Use your most productive hours to complete the most difficult tasks of your job or complete your most strenuous household chores.
- On days you do not feel exhausted—which may be few and far between these days—try to get in some extra work. For example, if you’re a writer, maybe write three articles instead of your normal quota of two. That way, you’ll be ahead of the curve for the next business day.
2. Sneak in a Nap to Fight Fatigue
A power nap can help give your body the energy it needs to survive exhaustion (for a few hours at least). Try these tips to sneak in a nap break when you need it the most:
- Instead of using your lunch hour to go out for food, eat a quick meal at your desk before lunch. This way, you’ll be free to take a nap in the relaxation room or in your car during your lunch break.
- If you are at home, feel free to take a nap whenever possible. Go ahead and take a long, relaxing afternoon siesta if you have the opportunity. Pregnancy is a time to care for your body and that of your baby, so don’t feel guilty if you need extra rest.
- Do you commute using carpool, train, trolley, or bus? If so, today might be your lucky day. It may not occur to you to take a power nap on public transit, but if your commute is long enough (and safe enough) to accommodate one, sneak in a few winks while you travel. Try setting an alarm on your smartphone so you don’t miss your stop.
3. Take It Easy to Fight Fatigue
You may want to do everything on your own, especially if you have a Type A personality. Learning to delegate responsibilities to other people, however, may be the easiest and most effective way to combat fatigue. Follow these tips for taking it easy during your pregnancy:
- Cut back on your social commitments (your friends will understand).
- Ask your partner or other family members to take on some of your responsibilities. For example, you can ask a neighbor to walk your dog for a week or two or get your preteen’s help with dishes after dinner.
- Hire some help. If you have the means, now’s the time to hire a gardener, housekeeper, or carpet cleaner to help with those chores you no longer have the energy for.
- If you are a freelancer, talk with your partner or family about cutting back on some assignments. Although you may have to do more budgeting, you’re also likely to get more sleep.
- Take a break from any volunteering commitments (you can always come back to them once you get back into the swing of things post-delivery).
4. Adopt Healthy Sleeping Patterns to Fight Fatigue
- Go to bed an hour or two earlier than you normally do to help your body relax. Even if you don’t fall asleep immediately, this is a time when you can rest and start to quiet your mind.
- Put your phone on silent mode so that no one can disturb you.
- Always empty your bladder before bed to avoid midnight restroom runs as much as possible.
- Shut down your computer, switch off the television, and make sure you stay away from all types of screen time activities one to two hours before you hit the hay. Try reading a book, playing with your children, or talking with your spouse instead.
Following these healthy sleep hygiene tips can help you get a deeper and more restful night’s sleep during your pregnancy.
5. Try Out Prenatal Yoga & Other Exercises to Fight Fatigue
It may sound counterintuitive, but fitting light-to-moderate exercises in your daily routine can go a long way in managing exhaustion. Taking a short walk every day will energize you and give you a much-needed break from your usual routine. Prenatal yoga can also help relieve exhaustion during pregnancy.
What to Do When Fatigue Becomes Unbearable
Sometimes pregnancy fatigue just won’t let up no matter what you do. If your fatigue is becoming unbearable and continues for weeks despite healthy lifestyle changes, it might be a sign of a more serious health problem. If you’re experiencing the following symptoms along with your fatigue, it’s time to call your doctor:
- Lack of appetite
Fighting pregnancy fatigue on your own is no fun. Remember that doctors, loved ones, and friends are here to help you at this time. So ask for their support. If you need to take a nap on a Saturday after a long work week, ask your mom to come over and take care of your kids for a few hours so you can get some shut-eye. And if you’re falling asleep at your desk, tell your boss you need to leave early and you’ll come in early the next day to make up for any lost work. Remember, you are not a burden to anyone—you are a pregnant mama in serious need of some extra rest and TLC.
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