Women's  Healthcare Topics is a website about pregnancy and your newborn baby.

Fatigue in Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

When Does Fatigue Strike?

Learn about your fatigue during pregnancy.

Many women report fatigue in pregnancy as one of their most trying symptoms. After all, it is hard to get up and go when all you really feel like doing is sleeping.

Fatigue during pregnancy is common for many reasons. Remember your body is working twenty four hours a day seven days a week creating a new life inside. That's enough work to make anyone tired and cranky!

During pregnancy many women also have more difficulty sleeping at night, and this can contribute to pregnancy fatigue. Hormone changes including rising levels of progesterone can contribute to feelings of fatigue in pregnancy as well.

Most women experience more fatigue during the first trimester, when their body is just becoming used to the idea of being pregnant.
Many women experience a pick me upduring the second trimester, but notice that their energy level once again drops during the third trimester, as your body slowly prepares for labor and delivery.

By the third trimester your body is also carrying around more weight. This can contribute to your discomfort and result in more insomnia and cramping, making it difficult to rest easy.



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Coping With Fatigue in Pregnancy

There are several steps you can take to help deal with fatigue in pregnancy. Here are some of the more effective strategies for overcoming fatigue in pregnancy.

  1. Go to bed early.

    There is no reason to stay up until 11 because that is what your normally do. During pregnancy your body needs as much sleep as possible, so there is nothing wrong with turning in early. Pat yourself on the back for taking care of yourself and your baby.

  2. Take a nap.

    You should try to take a catnap each day if possible during your pregnancy, particularly during the last trimester. You don't have to rest long, but even 15 minutes of downtime can improve your spirits and provide you the pick me up you need to get through the day.

  3. Eat several mini meals per day.

    This will help keep your energy reserves up and prevent you from feeling sluggish due to inadequate nutrition.

  4. Exercise every day.

    This may seem extremely hard when you are tired. No matter how tired you are however, you should try at the very least to go for a walk and get some fresh air every day. Exercise boosts the body's production of endorphins and can help get blood circulating throughout the body. This will help charge you up and allow you to feel more energetic during the day. You might also consider a short yoga video first thing in the morning, which may serve as a pick me up in place of your cup of java.

  5. Invest in a body pillow.

    This will help alleviate some of the backache and leg cramps you experience during the evening and may help you sleep better despite your growing belly.

  6. Get some help around the house.

    Ask others to pitch in and consider ordering out on occasion. The less work you have to do the more rested you will feel. There's nothing wrong with taking a break every now and again. Your baby will appreciate a rested mommy more than a clean house after all.

  7. Eat healthy.

    The more junk food you eat the more likely you are to feel zapped and tired during the day. Try to eat plenty of lean proteins during the day and be sure you drink plenty of water. This will help maintain a steady stream of energy to your body and provide you with the vitamins and minerals you need to take on the day.

While you won't be able to fend off fatigue completely, by following these few easy steps you should find you have a bit more energy to get through the day.

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