Talking about pregnancy exhaustion for me is personal because it lies so close to my heart.
It is the one thing that I have to battle in each of my pregnancies and I dread it.
Before I jump into a whole sob story for you lets take a look at what pregnancy exhaustion is? Does everyone get pregnancy exhaustion? and is there anything we can do about it?
So moving on swiftly…
WHAT IS PREGNANCY EXHAUSTION / PREGNANCY FATIGUE?
Pregnancy exhaustion is likely to be one of the very early signs of pregnancy that you will come across.
Pregnancy exhaustion can hit women at slightly different times but more often than not at some point, a pregnant woman will experience some type of fatigue.
For some pregnant women, it starts very early in the first trimester and slowly begins to tail off as the trimester progresses.
For others who are not so lucky, it can last for almost the whole pregnancy with the exception of a few days off for good behavior!
In a nutshell its the not so fun part of pregnancy that everyone dreads.
Pregnancy fatigue can have you feeling like you haven’t slept for about 3 days straight whilst being out partying all night and all day.
It can cause you to sleep for hours on end whilst your body tries to readjust and catch up with everything that is going on on the inside of you.
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WHY DOES PREGNANCY FATIGUE HAPPEN?
Pregnancy fatigue is incredibly common because of the adjustments that your body is making to house your new baby.
There are a lot of changes that are about to come your way and your body needs to be physically ready for that change.
Aside from the physical changes that your body is preparing for it also has to deal with the barrage of hormones that are now running through your body like a child in a toy shop.
Your hormones will be all over the place.
If you think having a menstrual period is hard work, you haven’t met pregnancy yet!
HOW DOES PREGNANCY EXHAUSTION AFFECT THE FIRST TRIMESTER?
I get so extremely tired that I sometimes cry (well truthfully most of the time) because I just can’t deal with the exhaustion.
To make it even worse I suffer from being anemic when I get pregnant which just makes matters 10 times worse.
The type of exhaustion that pregnancy gives is not the type of fatigue that you can just sleep off with an early night. Oh No!
This type of exhaustion you have to wait out so to speak. You just have to let it run its course until your body begins to settle down.
During this first trimester, your body will begin to produce more blood in order to carry nutrients around your body and to grow the placenta for your baby.
Both your blood sugar levels and blood pressure will be lower during this time.
You will also have a surge of progesterone levels that will be responsible for making you sleepy too.
WHAT ABOUT THE SECOND AND THIRD TRIMESTERS?
As you begin to enter your second trimester you will likely experience an increase in your energy levels as things begin to settle down.
This is a really great time to get organized and put all your plans into action.
Go out, do your baby shopping or anything else that makes you happy.
Use this time very wisely because in a few weeks you could see the return of that pregnancy fatigue again.
Granted that you probably won’t experience it to the same degree that you did in the first trimester but it will be a little more tricky now because you have a huge belly that you are contending with also.
Sleep can also become a problem the bigger you get which can add to your tiredness.
5 WAYS YOU CAN TACKLE PREGNANCY FATIGUE
1. MAKE SURE YOU REST
I can’t stress this one enough! It’s so important to take the time to rest.
You can’t afford to go around pushing your body to do things that it can not handle.
If this is your first baby you should definitely take the opportunity to rest whenever possible.
In a few months time once your little baby makes an appearance you won’t have time to rest as often as you would like.
2. DO THE THINGS YOU ENJOY
Do what you love doing if it makes you happy. There are some really good signals you can send to your baby just by being happy.
It’s important to get some “me time” in there while you still can.
If you love cooking, do that, if you love going to get your hair and nails done, do it. If you love spending time with your friends or going to the cinema, do it!
Make yourself happy whenever possible because the more relaxed you are the more relaxed you will feel. You are much more likely to beat pregnancy fatigue this way.
Give yourself a break.
Give yourself permission to sleep when you want, even at unconventional times of the day.
It doesn’t matter if everyone is at work and you are at home asleep.
Give yourself permission to listen to your body especially if you are on maternity leave.
Sleep is a wonderful thing when you are heavily pregnant. Don’t underestimate the power behind what sleep can do.
4. EAT A BALANCED DIET
A balanced diet can do wonders for you. It can be the difference between having lots of energy and feeling continuously tired all the time.
I’m not saying that you should eat a salad every day for breakfast lunch and dinner but you do want to make sure you are getting enough nutrients for both you and your baby.
You have to remember that your baby is feeding off you and whilst you don’t “technically” have to eat for two you do have to make sure you are providing enough of the good stuff.
Your baby will take from you whatever it needs to stay alive and healthy, you will have what is left. You may need to take some prenatal supplements to balance this especially if you are struggling with things to eat.
I love this prenatal vitamin because it is natural so there is no nasty stuff in there.
Another thing I love about it is the fact that it contains folate instead of folic acid (which is synthetic). You can use this supplement through pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding)
Now I’m not saying go to the gym and pick up 25 kilos of weights but what I am talking about is some nice gentle exercise every now and again.
After a meal, you can go for a walk or take an exercise class at the gym.
I know it might seem like sitting on the couch would be more fun but in actual fact, it’s known that doing a little bit of exercise can actually cause you to have more energy!
6. ACCEPT HELP
I’ll be the first to admit that I am terrible at both asking for and accepting help. I never like to put other people out.
When you are pregnant you can’t afford to do this, especially if you already have little ones.
People would offer to help me make meals and I would always decline saying I was ok.
Then one day I just couldn’t cope anymore. I was too tired,
I had already had 2 children aged 2 and 3 and I was heavily pregnant with baby number 3. To top it off the midwife had just confirmed that I was anemic.
I had to pick up the phone and call my sister in law to come and stay with me for a little while.
To be fair it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be ( I like my own space ) in actual fact the experience meant that we were able to bond like never before.
Not only did I have extra help around the house while my husband was at work I found a sister in my sister in law.
The same can be true for you too. Just let someone help you, don’t suffer in silence like me.
7. SLOW DOWN
There is no rush for anything. The washing can wait, the house can wait to be tidied, everything can wait.
If you push your body too hard it will push back and you will be made to go on bed rest.
You don’t want that.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON PREGNANCY EXHAUSTION
Being pregnant can be incredibly tiring but your body does it with good reason. It wants you to slow down so that it can prepare a safe place for your baby to be housed for the next 9 months.
Personally, I think that’s worth you taking the hit for.
Don’t forget exhaustion affects women differently, you might be one of the lucky ones that gets away with it.
Even if you aren’t, just look at it as a small sacrifice on your baby’s behalf.
Bed rest is no fun.
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