Fatigue During Pregnancy: How to Cope


Pregnant woman experiencing pregnancy fatigue, taking a nap, feeling more refreshed

It’s only Sunday afternoon and you’re already feeling pooped. 

And no, we’re not talking about diapers (yet). Baby isn’t waking you up crying at 3am (yet). But carrying a baby round the clock and sharing your food with them is simply exhausting. 

Remember this: you’re battling pregnancy fatigue along with 90% of pregnant women. It’s natural. In fact, feeling tired is often a sign that your body is working properly - your pregnancy hormones (progesterones) are doing their job and helping your baby grow. Here are a few important tips on how to beat pregnancy fatigue:

1. Stay hydrated. 

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is going to help boost your energy and keep you feeling more awake. Make sure to cut back at night to get a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by frequent visits to the bathroom.

Pregnant woman drinking water to boost her energy and feeling more awake

From Getty Images

2. Take a nap.

It’s tough to get the recommended 8-9 hours of sleep when baby is politely pressing on your bladder. Supplement with a daytime catnap: between 15-20 minutes of rest can leave you feeling more refreshed.

3. Follow a balanced diet.

While prenatal vitamins may help regulate your iron levels, it’s important to eat a diet rich in iron and protein to combat pregnancy fatigue. Watermelon is a great source of iron that also keeps you hydrated! Avoid fast-digesting carbs like white bread which will make you feel even more fatigued.

 Pregnant woman eating watermelon to raise iron levels and hydrate

From Shutterstock

4. Take a step back.

You are growing a baby and you have every right to feel fatigued. Whether it is physical or emotional, the weight of carrying a baby is a lot to bear, and it can be overwhelming at times. Take it easy and don’t push yourself beyond your limits. Deep breathing can help alleviate stress and clear your mind.

 Pregnant woman getting rest, taking it easy

Can pregnancy cause adrenal fatigue?

Generally, your pregnancy actually decreases adrenal fatigue due to the influx of adrenal hormones produced by your baby. According to Dr. James Wilson, adrenal fatigue is typically caused by excess stress, be it psychological, environmental, or poor nutrition. By taking good care of yourself and managing your fatigue during pregnancy, you can ensure that you and your adrenal glands are healthy and well.

My husband doesn’t understand pregnancy fatigue. How do I get him to understand?

Your husband may be incredibly loving, caring, and sensitive, but he will never truly understand how exhausting it is to be a pregnant woman. Especially if you’re still working full time, or you’re taking care of other young ones, work around the house can be draining, and you may just not have the energy to do your regular share. 

Have a talk with your husband about how you’re feeling. Have him do a little research on pregnancy fatigue himself. Work together to get housework done more efficiently. Ask your husband for help doing the simple things that you used to be able to do - whether it’s sitting up from lying down, or bending down to grab your shoes. Through helping you do these basic activities, he will get a real sense of how difficult these changes to your body must be. 

Do I have chronic fatigue syndrome?

Only about 0.3% of American women are affected by the condition, so it’s likely you are experiencing natural pregnancy fatigue, which is completely normal. If you’re getting lots of rest, eating well, drinking, and moving, and you still feel extreme, unrelenting fatigue, consult your doctor. Chronic fatigue syndrome is a serious condition that should be investigated upon your doctor’s advice. Fortunately, almost all women with chronic fatigue syndrome have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. 

If you’re nearing the end of your first trimester, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Most women report higher energy levels during their second trimester, as your body will find its new hormonal equilibrium. Pregnancy fatigue typically returns in the third trimester, as the extra weight of your baby can be a heavy load to bear. 

Make sure to get as much rest as you can now during your pregnancy. Capitalize on the time you have before sleep becomes a luxury!