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Fatigue during Pregnancy

Tiredness and fatigue are common occurrences during pregnancy. Fatigue during pregnancy is caused by all the hard work your body is doing. Throughout pregnancy, more so in the early and very late stages, you may experience extreme fatigue. In a gist, your body is using tremendous amount of energy to build a new organ, the placenta. Your hormone levels and metabolism are going through changes; your blood sugar and blood pressure is lower. Combined, all these factors contribute to make you feel tired.

What possibly causes Tiredness during pregnancy

  • You are growing a whole new organ, the placenta, which is vital to your baby's development and growth.
  • Your waste system is working doubly hard and that includes your sweat glands. Progesterone will increase your sensitivity to CO2. Your body responds by working harder to expel CO2 from your system and so your rate of respiration increases
  • Pregnancy hormones will affect your bladder and your kidneys and you may feel the need to urinate more during the early weeks and last weeks of pregnancy. This tendency will disrupt your sleep
  • Your body is retaining more fluid and that means more weight to lug around. The volume of your blood increases by around 40%. The increase in blood volume can be more from blood plasma than from red blood cells. These feelings of tiredness can be attributed to pregnancy anemia known as physiological anemia. You will need more red blood cells to maintain your hemoglobin levels and for that you require sufficient iron.
  • Lower blood pressure is very common during pregnancy. This is the result of your heart having to pump larger volumes of blood each minute to keep up the extra demand on your body. Dilatation of blood vessels causes the lower BP.
  • If you are not eating enough calories or missing out on essential nutrients your diet could be responsible for the fatigue
  • Iron-deficiency anemia can cause fatigue and is quite common in pregnancy due to the greater need for this mineral
  • Sleep disturbances, nausea, vomiting also contribute to tiredness
  • Finally progesterone, the female hormone responsible for the many physical changes during early pregnancy, has a sedative effect

What you can do

  • Sleeping pill is not the answer and here are the other dos and don’ts you should observe to help you deal with fatigue:
  • You can curb the energy drain by eating well. To fuel energy levels avoid sugary foods and caffeinated drinks which are quick fixes but leave you tired in the long run. Try to eat every few hours and drink plenty of fluids in between.
  • Anemia can be a real concern. Consuming adequate amounts of dietary iron before and during pregnancy can prevent anemia. Apart from iron supplements, iron can be found naturally in many foods such as green leafy vegetables, beans and lentils, red meat, boiled eggs, cereals and fish.
  • Eat greens to fight fatigue. Spinach, broccoli and kale contain high levels of B vitamins which boost general mood and alleviate fatigue.
  • Exercising in your pregnant months improves circulation and blood flow, improves relaxation and sleep patterns. If you find you are very tired at the end of the day you may be exerting too much. Cut down on your exercise and give yourself time to recover. If you see no improvement then your tiredness may just be due to pregnancy. Be flexible in your approach to exercise and adjust your program throughout your pregnancy.
  • If you feel like napping all the time which may be the case in the beginning weeks, give in to this need. Adequate rest and sleep is important for your well-being and that of your baby.

Third-trimester Fatigue

  • The fatigue you feel in the last month of your pregnancy is different. It is less urgent. It is more like feeling sluggish because you are sleep-deprived. The sluggish feeling comes from carrying all the excess pounds, from your over-active bladder and from bad sleeping positions. In addition your growing baby puts more pressure on major blood vessels making less oxygen available to your brain.
  • If you were on some exercise your body is in a better position to deal with the extra weight; however feeling fatigued is expected even for the fittest moms. You just can’t escape the nights of tossing and turning and running to the bathroom every other hour.
  • Avoid putting more pressure on the large artery by not lying on your back, becoming overheated or, standing up too quickly. Consult your doctor if your exhaustion persists. You may be iron-deficient. Symptoms to look out for include feeling lethargic most of the time, feeling breathless rather easily, having a pale pallor, general weakness, experiencing palpitations and not able to manage even basic chores.

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Disclaimer: Information contained on this Web site is intended solely to make available general summarized information to the public. It should not be substituted for medical advice. It is your responsibility to consult with your pediatrician and/or health care provider before acting on any advice on this web site. While OEM endeavors to provide up-to-date and accurate information, it is not liable for any advice whatsoever rendered nor is it liable for the completeness or timeliness of any information on this site.
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