While it normally improves during the second trimester to have fatigue during pregnancy, it can return in the third as your growing belly and shrinking bladder conspire to interrupt your sleep each night. So, how do you deal with fatigue during pregnancy?
It sounds obvious, but you should make time to get a bit more rest. Move your normal bedtime forward by an hour or two, and if you’ve got the opportunity to have a midday nap, take it. It’s better to have a couple of 30-minute naps with the right pillow rather than one long one, as falling too deeply asleep can make you feel extra groggy or interfere with your nighttime rest. Sleeping on your left side will be most comfortable as your pregnancy progresses.
It might be tempting to reach for something sugary for a quick energy boost, but that will do you no favours in the long run. Try to eat plenty of protein and complex carbohydrates, because they release energy more slowly and evenly as they’re digested. Cheese, fish, lean red meat, tofu and chicken are all excellent sources of protein, while leafy greens, whole grains, starchy vegetables and legumes are the kinds of carbohydrates you’ll benefit from most. Make sure you are getting plenty of iron, too, as iron deficiency anaemia can make you very tired. If you’re nauseous or have heartburn, eat small and often to help settle your stomach.
It’s okay to ask for a bit of help. Leave the cooking and washing up to family or friends. Remember that the world won’t end if you don’t vacuum the carpets for a couple of weeks. Do your grocery shopping online and get your partner or a friend to run errands while you take a much-needed nap.
While it might seem counter-intuitive to expend energy when you have so little to spare, often a walk in the fresh air will perk you up more than a nap. This is because when you exercise you release endorphins, which make you feel great. Aim for a couple of short, brisk walks in the fresh air. Swimming is a great low-impact way to get a good workout, or why not enrol in a pregnancy yoga class to balance your body and your mind?
Not only is it important for the health of your growing baby, but getting enough water is also key in fighting fatigue, which will be worse if you are dehydrated. It’s recommended you aim for about ten glasses a day, which seems like a lot, but you can mix it up a bit with other liquids like milk and tea – but try to avoid caffeinated beverages as you get closer to bedtime. If you find water hard to drink, take small sips often and try flavouring it with a wedge of lime or lemon. Remember to ease off as bedtime approaches so you don’t spend the night making endless trips to the bathroom.
If fatigue seems unrelenting and lasts well into your second trimester, make sure you discuss it with your doctor or midwife, to make sure there are no underlying causes. Remember, pregnancy fatigue won’t last forever, so be kind to yourself and hang in there.