It is common that when you are pregnant you might experience fatigue. In fact more than 50% of all pregnant women report they feel much more tired during pregnancy. Fatigue can be especially common during early and late pregnancy. All the new hormones your body is producing, and the changes happening in your body to prepare for all the hard work ahead are another cause for fatigue. Creating a human being is hard work after all! The increased production of progesterone in the beginning of your pregnancy can cause you feeling tired and sleepy. Your blood volume increases as well, and it takes more effort for your heart and internal organs to do their normal job. It is important to take it easy when you are pregnant and be aware of all the work that is happening inside of you, stay relaxed and just go with the flow and try to enjoy the process as much as you can.
I do find that there are a few tricks you can use to increase your energy during pregnancy that I would like to share with you. I have been using them and so far I have really been enjoying my pregnancy (I am quite far along now at 33 weeks) and my energy level has been stable the whole time, except for the fact that in the first trimester I used to go to bed much earlier than usual, which is quite normal.
- Pay attention to your nutrition
Now that you are eating not just for yourself but for your baby too, it is really important to pay attention to what you put in your body. The placenta doesn’t have a filter and everything you consume goes directly to your baby too. So try to focus on whole foods that will provide you with nourishment and energy (see my blog post for more information). Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, they will provide you with vitamins and minerals and will hydrate you too. Great snack options that will make you feel more sparkly and fresh!
- Up your iron intake
As your blood volume increases, your daily iron requirements increase twice while you are pregnant. Iron-deficiency anemia can lead to fatigue, as your body struggles transporting oxygen to your tissues and baby. So make sure your prenatal vitamin has iron and keep eating iron-rich foods, such as dried beans and fruits, red meat (if you eat meat), leafy greens, spirulina. Take your iron supplement together with vitamin C rich foods to increase its absorption. Also if possible avoid taking iron and calcium supplements at the same time, as they compete for absorption in the body.
- Consume high fiber carbohydrates
Focus on whole grains, starchy vegetables and fruit. They will provide you with long lasting energy and the fiber in them will help you with digestion. If your digestion is compromised and you suffer from constipation, this will also impact your energy levels, so make sure you are regular and eat foods that will help with bowel movements.
- Stay away from sugar and refined grains
Sugar will deplete you from energy and will only make your fatigue worse! It causes imbalance in your blood sugar level, which will make you feel tired and hungry. You don’t want to get into this vicious circle, so avoid sweets, ice cream, plain pasta and white rice. Often pregnant women struggle with this one, as they allow their cravings to take over, but think that you can still satisfy your sweet craving by simply making healthier choices, and preparing your own desserts. I for example make my own ice cream with frozen banana and cacao, or a strawberry sorbet, and it hits the spot without overloading my body with sugar. I also don’t use any sugar in my desserts but sweeten them with a bit of maple syrup instead. This way you don’t feel deprived while making healthier choices.
- Get moving!
If you exercise regularly while pregnant you will find that your energy level is more stable. Exercise during pregnancy is so good for you, and will help with correct posture and back pain, and can even make birth easier. Make sure your doctor is ok with you exercising before you start. Anything that gets you moving is beneficial. I like to take long walks (especially now that I am in my third trimester), and find that prenatal yoga is an absolute bliss! Whatever works for you, make sure you do some sort of a physical exercise every day.
- Drink water
If you are dehydrated you will feel dizzy and tired. Always have some water with you to drink throughout the day. You need about 2 lt of water a day, which is about 8 glasses. Also, stay away from caffeinated beverages as they dehydrate you and can even interfere with the absorption of some minerals.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful and magical time, and I hope that these tips will help you to enjoy it even more! Make sure you take naps, listen to your body and find some quiet time for yourself every day to meditate on the changes happening in your life and body.