Fatigue is a common pregnancy symptom, but unfortunately, that doesn’t make your to-do list any shorter.
In fact, with added responsibilities like appointments and baby research, there’s even more to do. This can be stressful and when you feel like you’re being unproductive, you might feel even worse.
While your energy is naturally lower during pregnancy, how can you make the most of the little you have
In this guide, we’re sharing 12 tips to get more done during pregnancy. And if you don’t get more done, why you should stop feeling bad about it.
Recognize Pregnancy Fatigue
If you’re reading this post, it’s probably because you’re struggling to get things done. Whether it’s work, family, planning for the baby, or attending appointments, there’s a lot to do these days.
Before looking for ways to be more efficient, it’s also a good idea to normalize how you’re feeling. While you might have felt tired from time to time before pregnancy, you may constantly lack energy now. That’s called pregnancy fatigue.
Pregnancy fatigue feels like you’re always drained. Things that were easy to accomplish before now require a lot more effort.
Although an annoying pregnancy symptom, it’s usually completely normal. Not only are your responsibilities growing, but you’re dealing with chemical and other changes that cause pregnancy fatigue.
The level of progesterone in your body rises during pregnancy, which can act as a sedative. Many people also have trouble sleeping as their belly grows, which can lead to drowsiness during the day.
All of this is to say that if you feel tired during pregnancy, it’s probably normal. Although there’s ways to make the most out of your energy, there’s no shortcut for rest. Instead of fighting it, accept that you might get less done during pregnancy and that’s okay. It’s a good idea to take extra time to relax before the baby comes.
How To Be More Productive During Pregnancy
Here’s how to make the most out of the energy you have.
#1 Make a Weekly Must List
Each week, there’s tasks outside of work you need to get done—whether it’s cleaning your home, grocery shopping, or taking a prenatal class.
Make a list of all your musts each week. When you’re finished, divide them up into days. Keep this to-do list on a list app or your phone’s note app.
When you’re clear on what you need to do, you waste less time and energy deciding on what to get done each night.
#2 Multitask: Listen to Pregnancy Podcasts for Baby Research
Before the baby arrives, there’s probably a lot you need to learn. Although books are useful, reading might end up at the bottom of your to-do list. If you’re having trouble finding the time, consider also using podcasts.
There’s many informative pregnancy podcasts that you can listen to as you multitask. Play them while you’re:
- Doing the dishes
- Driving to work
- Folding the laundry
Need recommendations? Read 23 Best Pregnancy Podcasts to Learn, Laugh and Be Entertained
#3 Limit Sugary Snacks
Are your pregnancy cravings leading you toward the surgery or carb-filled snacks? If so, you might consider whether they’re affecting your productivity.
A sugar crash can cause a sudden onset of fatigue. When this happens, you may feel sluggish and mentally foggy, making it hard to get things done at the regular pace.
To avoid this energy dip, choose your snacks wisely. If sugary cookies are your new favorite craving, consider saving them until nighttime, when you can afford to be unproductive.
#4 Accept Help
The easiest way to get more done is to ask for help! If there’s an area of your life where you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out.
If you’re having trouble keeping on top of things at work, if it’s possible, ask for an extension. Or ask a co-workers for help. Most people will understand you’re pregnant and will be happy to lend a hand.
If there’s a lot to do at home, have a discussion with your partner about how you’re dividing chores during pregnancy. If you have kids, they can also pitch in and take on more responsibility.
While you’re expecting, there’s probably people who ask if there’s anything they can do to support you. Whether it’s a neighbor, co-worker, friend, or family member, don’t be afraid to take them up on their offer. If they ask what you need help with, be honest. Remember that most people feel good after helping someone, so it’s a win-win.
#5 Work With Your Energy Levels
While pregnancy fatigue may follow you throughout the journey, you’ll probably feel better some days than others. Realize these higher-energy days when they happen and plan tasks accordingly
Use that time to do the tasks that require the highest energy. For example, good days are ideal for physical activities, like cleaning your house or walking through a mall. Days of fatigue are better for staying at home and making your baby registry or researching baby products.
#6 Capitalize On Your Best Days
Another way to capitalize on high-energy days is to plan ahead. Strike off more to-dos that are coming up. That way, when a bad day comes, such as one full of morning sickness, you’re already covered.
#7 Use Fatigue Hacks
If you notice you’re having trouble staying focused because you’re tired, try a fatigue hack. Tricks like eating an apple in the morning or sipping water may give you the small boost needed to stop your mind from wandering.
#8 Make Work Arrangements
When possible, ask your boss or manager if you can make work arrangements that suit your energy levels. If you’re afraid to ask, reiterate that you get the most work done when you have high energy.
For example, if you can work from home, you can save the energy a commute costs you. Or, if you can avoid traveling during rush hour, that may help too.
Those who work shifts may consider if they can work out a consistent schedule. For example, working the same shift times can help regulate your sleep routine and give you more energy, especially during pregnancy. In turn, this can help you be more efficient at work and home.
#9 Get Better Sleep
If you had a bad sleep the night before, it can be difficult to have a productive day. A few nights of this in a row can make you feel less efficient. To make the most out of your awake hours, you need to make your asleep ones just as good.
As your body changes, you might experience trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or have a reduced sleep quality in general. Although it’s a common pregnancy symptom, there’s several ways to combat it. To learn more, read Sleeping During Pregnancy: Your Ultimate Guide.
Although it might seem counter-intuitive, rest actually makes us more productive. Research shows that it can help “recharge” the brain, making it more efficient later on.
Rest may look like more naps. But there’s other forms of it too. For example, taking a calming walk can have similar effects.
Consider different forms of self-care that you find soothing. That might be getting a massage, taking warm bath, or doing something creative.
Exercise is another hack you can use to get more energy and get more done.
A 2006 study showed that 90% of people who completed an exercise program reported improved fatigue compared to those that did not exercise.
It can be difficult to start exercising if you already feel fatigued, so start small if you need to. You can try prenatal yoga or even a walk in the park.
For more exercise ideas, read 11 Easy and Super Fun Pregnancy Exercise Ideas That You’ll Actually Do.
#12 Reframe Productivity
If you’re struggling to keep on top of everything, it can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. Before you get there, consider redefining what it means to be productive. At the outset, it might look like you’re doing a lot less. Perhaps you’re struggling to hold your home together and you’re falling behind at work.
However, your body is actually being the most productive it’s ever been. You’re growing and housing a baby! That’s going to take a toll on your energy levels, and maybe other areas of life. Remember that this is only temporary. After the newborn days, you’ll regain energy and the unproductive days will be worth it.
Summary: How to Be More Productive During Pregnancy
Many people feel that they’re less productive during pregnancy. Since fatigue is a common pregnancy symptom, you’re probably getting less done. If you feel like you’re falling behind, there’s a few things you can do, like get clear on your weekly musts and capitalize on your good days. Although we recommend fatigue hacks, it’s important to accept that growing a baby itself is productive. During this time, try to accept that you need extra rest and give it to yourself.
P.S. Have you heard your baby’s heartbeat yet? Fetal dopplers are at home devices that work similar to an ultrasound. Simply use ultrasound gel and the probe to pick up your baby’s heartbeat and hear it through speakers!