What Causes Tiredness During Pregnancy and How to Deal With It?
Fatigue during pregnancy is a no-brainer. You are growing an entire human in your body. That should be expected to be exhausting.
Many pregnant women experience fatigue, especially during the first and third trimesters.
There is a lot to deal with when you are pregnant. Some women experience varying degrees of morning sickness, aches and pains, tiredness, strange cravings, and more.
Morning sickness especially can be a major contributor to tiredness during pregnancy by waking you up at early hours and leaving you sleep deprived. But there are other causes of tiredness during pregnancy as well. Keep reading to see the top causes and their possible solutions.
Why Do Women Experience Tiredness during Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body is working overtime to get ready for your baby. It has to maintain the pregnancy as well as develop glands in the breasts to produce milk.
There are a lot of changes going on in your body such as the following:
- Hormonal changes (increased progesterone and estrogen levels)
- Increased production of nutrients for the growing baby
- Lowering of blood sugar levels
- Pain in the hips, back, and pelvic area
Tiredness is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy you will experience. But what does pregnancy fatigue feel like? You are likely to experience some of the following symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Change in your sleep pattern
- Morning sickness
- Stress and anxiety
How Long Does Tiredness During Pregnancy Last?
Pregnancy fatigue during the first trimester can be very trying as your body undergoes major, drastic changes and tries to keep up with this new normal.
This is the time that many pregnant women experience morning sickness and extreme tiredness for the first time.
This can also be a very stressful and mentally exhausting time for a new mother. You are making plans for your future and how you will care for your baby, and you like to have a lot of anxiety about motherhood.
This is all perfectly normal but can be a big contributor to pregnancy tiredness.
The second trimester begins at the thirteenth week and fatigue often begins to let up, but during the third trimester, which is when your baby is the most developed and heaviest, your tiredness can come back, and it is often worse in the third trimester than it was in the first.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Sometimes the symptoms may be overwhelming and cause health problems. You should see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Severe Restless legs syndrome (the irresistible urge to move your legs while you rest)
- Sleep apnea
Anything that seriously hinders your ability to rest should be discussed with your health provider.
Also, if you are concerned that the tiredness during pregnancy points to a deeper health concern, see your doctor.
Other serious conditions that you should alert your doctor about include the following:
- Decreased urination
- Changes in your vision
- Acute headaches
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Swelling in your ankles, feet, and hands
Your doctor can help with suggestions or treatments for these conditions.
How Do I Deal with Tiredness during Pregnancy?
Most women go through serious physical and mental exhaustion during pregnancy. There is so much change in your life, both internally and externally during this time, that it can be overwhelming.
One of the best things a pregnant woman can do for herself during this time is to take care of herself. Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience, but it is important to prioritize your physical and mental health.
Secondly, you should reach out for help from friends, family, and your partner if you are feeling exhausted. Do not ignore the signals; even the subtle ones. Most importantly, do NOT self-medicate.
Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. If you are experiencing insomnia, see your doctor and explain your symptoms. Do not use over-the-counter sleeping pills without consulting your doctor. Sleep should be a priority during this time, but it is important to do it safely.
Create a Conducive Environment for Sleep
Cover your windows with blackout curtains. Turn anything that gives a glow off. This includes digital clocks and mobile devices. If you do not want to turn your phone off, cover the display.
Ensure your bedding is fresh by changing and washing them often. Clear your bedroom of any needless clutter and make your room cooler than the rest of the house.
Regular napping helps to make up for lost sleep due to bathroom trips, nausea and vomiting, and more. Experts say that naps help to reduce the risk of low birth weight.
However, do not nap late in the afternoon or evening. This may interfere with your sleep at night.
Eat Early and Drink Lots of Water
In the first trimester, your blood pressure, as well as blood sugar, may be lowered. This can leave you feeling very tired.
On the flip side, lack of sleep may raise your blood sugar levels leaving you susceptible to gestational diabetes.
To keep everything balanced, eat often, drink plenty of water, and sleep early. Water helps to eliminate leg cramps which can interfere with your sleep.
Pregnancy can be exhausting for obvious reasons. However, you can make the experience less tiring by asking for help, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating well.
Also, appropriate exercises will help to keep you feeling a lot better.