You can barely keep your eyes open and you’ve just finished lunch. There’s still 3 work projects to finish by 5 PM and then you need to go shopping for a crib. Oh, you should also catch up on your baby reading after dinner, too.
Too bad pregnant women should only drink a maximum of 2 cups of coffee per day. You could use about 10.
Your changing pregnancy hormones are taking a toll on your energy levels and it’s difficult to make it to the end of each day. Luckily, there’s a few things you can do to reduce your tiredness. In this post, we’re listing 12 ways you can beat fatigue when you’re expecting.
12 Tips for Extreme Tiredness in Early Pregnancy
Feeling like you could fall asleep any second? Try out some of these tips and see which work for you.
#1 Low-Intensity Exercise
It may seem counter-intuitive, but while exercising can make you more tired in the moment, it can give you more energy in the long-run. Don’t want to spend an hour doing intense cardio at the gym? You don’t have to. And studies show that probably isn’t the best way to increase your energy, either.
One 2008 study looked at three groups of volunteers: one that did moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, the second doing low-intensity exercise and the last doing nothing. Researchers found that those that did 20 minutes of low-intensity exercise three times a week for six weeks reported a 65% drop in feelings of fatigue. That means even a morning or evening walk is enough to boost your energy.
#2 Practice the Word “No”
Apart from your pregnancy hormones, one of the reasons you’re probably so tired is because you have a list of things to get done before the baby comes. Whether it’s baby research, going to childbirth classes, buying supplies or trying to get ahead at work, the list may seem endless. That means you should be really picky about what else you’re adding to that list.
If someone wants you to contribute to a bake sale and you’ve already reached your limit, politely decline. If there seems to be a party you need to attend every week, only choose the ones you genuinely want to go to. While you may feel like you’re disappointing others, pregnancy is a good time to decline energy suckers because most people will understand. Reserve your energy for yourself and what you need to get done most.
#3 Eat Right
Eating healthy is not only important for the baby but also for your energy levels. Foods such as fruits, vegetables and proteins are a good choice. Processed foods high in carbs can give you the feeling of being weighed down and cause you to crash. When you eat is also important. Aim to eat every few hours to keep your blood sugar levels normal. A dip could cause an onset of fatigue. If you’re prone to the afternoon crash, try dividing a big lunch. Eat half at lunch time and the other half in the mid-afternoon.
If you have the opportunity to take a nap during the day, do it. Taking this break can give you enough energy to carry out the rest of your day efficiently. In fact, one NASA study on military pilots and astronauts found that a 40-minute nap improved alertness by 100% and performance by 34%. However, there’s a couple things to keep in mind: don’t nap close to the evening and don’t nap too long because it could affect your bedtime sleep.
#5 Sip Water
Dehydration affects your oxygen flow, making your heart work harder, causing you to feel fatigued. It can also make you feel dizzy and nauseated, which you may already be feeling as a pregnancy symptom. Staying hydrated can help keep energy levels stable. If you’re not a big water drinker, try adding a small amount of juice or infusing it with fruits. Herbal teas are a warm alternative for those who need more fluids.
#6 Try a Morning Apple Instead of a Coffee
If you’re used to having a cup of coffee to jolt you awake, switch to an apple and see if you experience the same effect without the crash. It may sound strange, but it works for some. Besides having nutritional value, apples contain natural sugar, which can create a similar response to caffeine. Since the vitamins are released slowly, you can feel more awake without the jitters.
#7 Enlist Help
Pregnancy is exhausting and you shouldn’t be expected to do it all yourself. Ask yourself which tasks you can outsource. For example, you can ask your partner or child to help with extra chores around the house. If you need errands run, see if they fit into a friend’s schedule. And, if someone offers help, take it!
#8 Avoid Drinking a Lot at Night
If pregnancy has made you frequently pee, you’re probably waking up in the middle of the night to run to the washroom. This can interrupt your sleep cycle and make you tired the next day. To avoid this, try to drink less at night. Instead, aim to drink water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. Make sure to drink water early in the evening to avoid excess intake near bedtime.
#9 Check Your Prenatal Supplement for Iron
Low iron levels can lead to feelings of tiredness and dizziness. Since the mineral is even more important during pregnancy, it’s contained within most prenatal vitamins. Check the brand you use to see how many milligrams a day you’re getting. Compare that against how much iron you’d estimate you’re consuming a day (hint: foods high in iron are beans, red meat, leafy greens and fortified cereals). You need at least 27mg a day.
If you fall short, you can aim to make that up with your diet or by taking a separate iron supplement. Many iron supplement brands cause nausea or stomach pain, so you may want to try a liquid form or ask which type your doctor recommends. If you’re looking for a good prenatal for tiredness, try MamaNurture’s Premium Prenatal Vitamins. They contain 27mg of iron each day, which is the full requirement for pregnant women.
#10 Go to Bed Earlier
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that tiredness can be beaten by getting more sleep. But during pregnancy, your body is doing more and needs even more rest. Instead of trying to fight it, see how you can adjust your routine to work with it. You should aim to sleep at least 7 hours a night.
Since most people don’t automatically fall asleep as soon as they hit the pillow, factor that into your bedtime. For example, if you know it usually takes you a half-hour before you sleep, go to bed seven and a half hours before your wakeup time to meet your minimum sleep requirement. If getting extra sleep while you have an extra big to-do list seems selfish, consider this: It could shorten labor and improve delivery. A 2004 study found that women who slept less than 6 hours a night had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have C-sections.
#11 Acupressure Boost
Looking for a quick boost to make it through a work project or task? You may want to try acupressure and see if it works for you. Using your thumb and forefinger on one hand, squeeze the fleshy part between your thumb and forefinger on the other hand. Apply enough pressure so that it feels uncomfortable. While acupressure’s effects aren’t proven, there’s some research to back it up. One study found that students who used acupressure were significantly less sleepy with less fatigue on the days they used it.
#12 Tackle Insomnia
If you’re tired during the day because you have pregnancy insomnia, then the best solution to beat fatigue is to find ways to sleep better at night. The first step to finding what works for you is knowing the reason for your insomnia. During pregnancy, this may be because you’re unable to get comfortable with a baby belly or because you have a racing mind full of worries. Try these tips for pregnancy insomnia:
- Try new sleeping positions or using a pregnancy pillow for comfort
- Meditate or take a warm bath before bed
- Try other relaxation techniques
- Make your room cooler to increase comfort: open a window, turn the heat down, turn on the AC, etc.
- Don’t exercise too close to bedtime
- Avoid long naps during the day
- Avoid light (laptop, phone, tv, etc.) an hour or so before bed and read or choose another relaxing activity instead
- Try to go to bed at the same time each night
Need more tips? Read Sleeping During Pregnancy: Your Ultimate Guide
Do you have any tips for fighting fatigue during pregnancy? If so, let us know in the comments below. If you have any tired pregnant friends, be sure to share this post to help them, too!
P.S. Have you used a fetal doppler? These at-home devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat while she’s still in the womb. It’s an amazing bonding experience for the entire family. Get yours for as low as $49.95 today!