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How To Cope With Exhaustion and Fatigue In Pregnancy
Why Do I Feel So Exhausted All The Time?
Pregnancy is an extremely complex time in a woman's life - no matter how prepared for this little bundle you were, you are probably somewhat taken aback by the bone-aching tiredness you are feeling right now, amongst many other pregnancy ailments.
In the first trimester, your body is having to produce just the right levels of hormones to ensure your baby has the best possible start. You are also now a life support system for your little one until he or she is born - not just the first trimester - however, the first three months your body is not only rapidly building a whole new little person, but also the placenta through which your baby will gain the majority of his or her nutrition for the rest of your pregnancy.
This mammoth task is bound to leave you feeling like you don't want to leave your bed, but for those of us who have always had bundles of energy it can make you feel unhappy and even depressed at suddenly not being able to muster the energy to go and make a sandwich.
I'm 14 weeks pregnant as I write this and have been dead on my feet from about week 2... I wish I was exaggerating but I am not. I also have a wonderful toddler who is 2 this month and, as all toddlers are, he is full of the joys of life at 5.45 every morning.
So here are some of my tips for day to day survival and I promise you they really work (oh and I'm not trying to sell you anything - just passing on some hopefully helpful advice!)
PS. Congratulations on your bump!
Is Fatigue in Pregnancy Common?
Yes, extremely! Most women suffer tiredness in their pregnancy but usually it is at its very worst during the first three months and final two months of pregnancy. This was certainly true for me the first time around!
You may find you get your energy back around week 15 or 16 as you arrive in the second trimester and your hormones calm down (your body also gets more used to pregnancy) and you may even find at this point you begin to "bloom". Goodbye dark circles, spotty skin and dull hair! Hello full, thick, glossy locks, beautiful, radiant skin and jealous glances from other non-pregnant women.
Exhaustion in pregnancy is tough enough to bear without beating yourself up about having not done the washing up. House chores can wait - if you feel like having a nap then go for it! It's the best thing for you right now.
Drink LOTS Of Water
It doesn't have to be plain water - you can have squash or diluted fruit juice, but drinking around eight glasses of water a day will really boost your energy levels.
Dehydration is scarily common in pregnancy because your body's need for fluids has sky-rocketed almost overnight whereas you haven't really had much time to adjust and you may not even be feeling very thirsty. The frequent trips to the bathroom also contribute to this factor.
Also, a glass of water for nighttime is always a good idea for that all important overnight detox anyway. Next 2am loo-trip make sure you take a swig of water before climbing back into bed!
Have You Got Pregnancy Fatigue?
If so, how bad?
Nap, Nap and Nap Some More!
Sleep is essential whilst your body is working all hours of every day to create your new baby. If you already have toddler and are suffering with pregnancy exhaustion then you will most likely find yourself driven almost insane by the lack of sleep and you may also be feeling guilty for lounging on the couch while darling son or daughter toddles about the room doing as she pleases.
The moment your toddler or child is asleep go for a nap - even if you think you dont want to - just do it. You will feel better, and it will get you through the rest of the day.
If you have a toddler or older child who no longer takes naps in the day then train yourself to eat dinner as early as you can and go to bed when your child goes to bed. You cannot survive on 6 hours sleep and when you are pregnant you may find yourself needing 10 hours every night just to keep yourself functioning, especially if you work.
Even if you work, many women find that a 20 minute power nap at their desk or in the staff room can really help them. Although this sounds impossible, there is nearly always a way to make it happen... Even if it means nipping to your car for your lunch break and sleeping there (just make sure you let your colleagues know so if you over slept they know what's happened to you!)
Eat What You Need As Well As What You Want
When our body tells us we want chips, onion rings, fries, chocolate and gummy bears it is actually crying out for a specific food group such as protein or carbohydrate. Sweet foods are commonly craved because feeling tired makes your body scream for a boost in sugar. However, our bodies haven't got the knowledge that the sugar it is craving is now more refined and processed and in the form of gooey, delicious candy and sweets.
These cravings are almost impossible to deny - hence why you may occasionally spot a pregnant friend dipping into a bag of sand or licking chalk (yes, it does happen!) When you get these cravings, think about the type of food group it is that you are wanting rather than the specific food - by all means, give in more than you would ordinarily but don't let yourself go straight for the ice cream every time you get a pang for something sweet.
Try a variety of fruits (cold, straight from the fridge works for me right now - especially grapes and apples), if you want something sweet. Or make your own homemade ice lollies out of fruit juice or blended fruit. Check out some online lolly recipes if you need some inspiration!
Fresh fruits and vegetables are vital for your health and well being in pregnancy and if you aren't eating well, you may find yourself struggling with constipation, fatigue and excessive weight gain which is likely to lead to more stretch marks. Take care of yourself! You deserve some extra TLC right now!