Pregnancy is a time of enormous change and, particularly in the first and third trimesters, it’s normal to feel tired. Mental and physical fatigue is a result of the processes involved in growing another human – it’s important to respect your body during this time!
There are a number of things that can significantly improve energy levels, mood and emotions. Most healthy living principles can be applied to pregnancy, but there are some it’s worth taking special note of.
1. Eat well
Eat the best you possibly can. This can be a real challenge when you’re feeling flat and tired. Even so, if you don’t fill yourself up with good quality fuel – i.e. good food – it’s hard for your energy to stay steady.
Whenever you can, opt for foods that are fresh, seasonal and healthy. Ideally, steer well clear of processed foods. This may seem challenging at times, as when your energy is in your boots, you’re more likely to crave simple sugars… an easy way for junk foods to creep into your diet. However, try and avoid this as much as possible because it will only make you feel worse.
Try keeping healthy go-to snacks on hand, such as natural yoghurt, raw nuts, a piece of fruit, half an avocado, etc. These will make it much easier for you to choose well.
2. Don’t let yourself get parched
If you don’t drink enough fluids, you’ll become dehydrated. And, if you’re dehydrated, your body won’t work as well as it should. And this will exacerbate symptoms such as low energy, clouded thinking and irritability. Happily, you can avoid dehydration very easily: by drinking water regularly, throughout the day.
If you find plain water difficult to drink, try adding a squeeze of lemon juice or drinking diluted herbal teas. Also start carrying a water bottle with you so that you can sip regularly while you’re on the go.
3. Let yourself rest
When you need to sleep, do precisely that. Nothing works quite so well as giving your body the rest it so dearly needs. Many women will be working through to the end of their pregnancy, may be traveling regularly, juggling other children and family commitments… all of which can make it difficult to find extra hours for sleep. Regardless, prioritise rest where you can. Whether this means heading to bed a little earlier some nights, or having a catchup nap on your days off, do what works best for you.
4. Talk about it
When you’re fatigued, flat-out and running on empty, it’s important to reach out for support. This may include your partner, family and close friends. Once the people around you know how you’re feeling, they can help you.
Although fatigue is normal in early and late pregnancy, it may also be indicative of nutritional deficiency or illness. It can be useful to talk to your health practitioner about how you’re feeling and rule out more obvious causes such as anaemia, an infection or sluggish thyroid function.