Being pregnant is exhausting! It’s normal to feel tired when pregnant, especially in the first trimester. As your hormones change and you grow a new life, you can feel exhausted, emotional and weak.
You will need to take life a bit more slowly during pregnancy and find ways to relax and naturally boost your energy levels. Being tired all the time can have long-term impacts on your mental and emotional health.
Drinking caffeine is not healthy for your baby, so you need to find new, safe ways to increase your energy levels.
If you are suffering from pregnancy fatigue, read on to discover why you feel so tired and the best natural remedies to stop fatigue during pregnancy.
This is what pregnancy fatigue feels like
Pregnancy can make you super tired as your body goes through lots of changes. But pregnancy fatigue is more intense than just feeling tired. Pregnancy fatigue feels like you are constantly out of energy and feeling run down.
Pregnancy fatigue can make carrying on with your day very difficult. It’s normal to feel very tired and shaky during the first and third trimesters. Real pregnancy fatigue is more than just feeling a bit tired.
These are the most common signs you are suffering from pregnancy fatigue:
- Feeling light-headed
- Fainting or blacking out
- Weak limbs
- Headaches and migraines
- Nausea when waking
- Heavy, tired eyes
- Feeling sluggish or run down
- Exhaustion even after sleeping
According to a study of pregnant women, over 90% of women experience fatigue, and for most women, it will be a significant problem in early pregnancy. The same study found that being exhausted for a long time can cause emotional changes.
Pregnant women that suffer from fatigue could also possibly experience:
- Increase stress levels
- Confusion or forgetfulness
Because fatigue has such a significant impact on your mood and emotional and physical health, identifying it and treating it is very important.
Pregnancy anxiety is also prevalent and isn’t always related to fatigue. Pregnancy anxiety can turn into postnatal depression and anxiety, so if you are suffering from anxiety, read this piece to discover more about preventing postnatal depression:
When does pregnancy fatigue start?
Pregnancy fatigue can start within a few weeks of becoming pregnant. Most women experience exhaustion during the first trimester, and for some women, it can happen during the week of conception and is the first sign of pregnancy.
Usually, fatigue goes away in the second trimester, but many women also experience fatigue in the third trimester at the end of their pregnancy.
You can find out more about early signs of pregnancy in this article:
Difference between fatigue in early pregnancy and fatigue in late pregnancy
TRIMESTER 1 (EARLY PREGNANCY)
TRIMESTER 3 (LATE PREGNANCY)
Growing the placenta: During the first trimester, your body uses resources to develop the placenta, making you feel rundown.
Carrying the baby: During the third trimester, your baby will finish growing, which means you are carrying extra weight, causing fatigue.
Hormones causing fatigue: As your hormones fluctuate during the first weeks of pregnancy, you will feel rundown and tired.
Pregnancy insomnia: Feeling heavy, heartburn, backache, and stress can cause your body to lie awake at night or sleep lightly, so you don’t get enough rest.
Physical changes: Your body will begin to change as you grow your baby, blood pressure increases, nutrients go to the baby, and your metabolism is high, making you feel constantly tired.
Emotional changes: As you prepare mentally for your baby, you can feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious and overloaded, which can make you feel emotionally and mentally drained and sapping you of energy.
It’s normal to experience pregnancy fatigue during early pregnancy and then again in late pregnancy. But there is a difference between feeling tired during the first trimester and the third trimester.
Your body is very different at the beginning and end of your pregnancy, so the fatigue is different. Fatigue at the beginning is more closely based on physical and hormone tiredness, while it can be more mental and emotional in the third trimester.
So, you might feel exhausted at both the beginning and the end of your pregnancy, but it’s for very different reasons. You need to make sure you look after your body and rest throughout your pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby.
Pregnancy fatigue is normal and usually occurs in the first and third trimesters. Fatigue in trimester one is caused by hormone changes and developing your placenta, while third-trimester fatigue is caused by emotional stress and worry and the effort of carrying the baby. You may feel tired, dizzy, nauseous and faint. You can also feel anxious, stressed and depressed as you are emotionally rundown.
Natural remedies for pregnancy fatigue
Pregnancy fatigue can make it hard to go to work or get on with your regular life. And taking naps all the time isn’t an option for most women. Caffeine isn’t good for your baby’s health, so you need to find natural remedies for pregnancy fatigue that you can take every day to get on with your life.
Herbal teas are an excellent natural cure for fatigue, and unlike coffee, they are safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. Pregnancy-safe, energy-boosting teas include green tea, lemon balm and ginger root.
Read on to learn more about each of these amazing teas.
Green tea for pregnancy tiredness during the third trimester
Green tea is an effective natural remedy for pregnancy fatigue because it contains caffeine like coffee; your body doesn’t process it the same way, making it much safer.
The caffeine in green tea won’t give you the buzz of coffee, so it can boost your energy levels during the day. Green tea caffeine breaks down more slowly in your body, giving a longer-lasting effect, so you feel less tired.
Green tea can also help to reduce your folic acid levels. Excess folic acid in the body can cause tiredness, weakness, and difficulty concentrating during pregnancy. Green tea naturally lowers these levels to help you feel more awake. You should also notice less fatigue in your muscles and limbs as you feel more energetic.
One study found that pregnant rats given green tea during pregnancy suffered less inflammation, were more rested, had better digestion, and had a better nutrient balance between mother and baby.
While green tea can help you feel more awake, the stimulation properties can interfere with your pregnancy in the first trimester. So only use green tea for pregnancy fatigue during the third trimester. Even in the third trimester, you should only drink one cup per day.
Learn more about which herbal teas are safe during pregnancy here:
Lemon Balm tea to sleep better
Lemon balm is a fantastic tea to help you sleep better at night, and it can help tackle pregnancy insomnia. Drinking lemon balm tea before going to sleep or taking a nap can help relax your mind, so you sleep more deeply at night.
Drinking lemon balm can help slow your emotions down when you feel stressed or overwhelmed, so you don’t lie awake at night. Lemon balm tea is especially effective during the third trimester when some of your fatigue is caused by emotional stress.
Lemon balm is particularly effective against pregnancy fatigue during the third trimester. As you become anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed waiting for your new baby to arrive, it’s common to suffer from insomnia. Lemon balm is proven to treat mild anxiety conditions to prevent insomnia and help you feel more rested.
Drinking one cup of lemon balm an hour before taking a nap or going to sleep can reduce insomnia and ensure you get proper rest to beat pregnancy fatigue. You can even have several cups a day to help you relax.
Ginger to avoid nausea in pregnancy
One common element of pregnancy fatigue that makes it different from regular tiredness is that most women feel nauseous because they are so tired. Pregnancy fatigue can leave you feeling sick, which makes it even harder to feel properly rested.
Drinking ginger tea when you wake is a great way to help settle your stomach and help you feel more awake. Ginger root has gingerols that help combat nausea, and it can also help stimulate your brain, so you feel more awake.
Drinking ginger tea in the morning before breakfast will help prevent nausea, improve your digestion, so you and your baby get all the proper nutrients, and the robust flavour can give you a kickstart so you have more energy.
Research found that ginger effectively deals with fatigue and depression-related tiredness. You can even use ginger to treat chronic fatigue because it helps give your metabolism and adrenal system a boost to wake you up.
Further studies show ginger is one of the most effective remedies for pregnancy nausea and fatigue. Ginger is safe during the first few months of pregnancy so drinking some daily is fine. If you have nausea and fatigue during your third trimester, speak to your doctor before drinking ginger tea every day. It is so invigorating and stimulating that it can encourage the baby to come early.
To find out more about tackling nausea during pregnancy, check out:
Herbal teas are an excellent replacement for coffee during pregnancy. Ginger root, Lemon balm and green tea can all be used to boost your energy levels, help you sleep deeply at night and fight pregnancy fatigue. Check with your doctor before drinking herbal tea while pregnant.
More ways to reduce pregnancy fatigue
Pregnancy fatigue can hit at any time, so you need to find ways to boost your energy levels during pregnancy to combat fatigue, or it might be a very tough nine months.
Two of the most effective ways to increase your energy during pregnancy are changing your diet and taking more naps!
We’ve covered all the information you need to reduce your pregnancy tiredness naturally.
Food to boost your energy while pregnant
Your diet can have a considerable impact on your energy levels. If you are eating the wrong kinds of food, you may be making yourself sleepier.
Adapt your diet to avoid specific foods that are hard to digest and contain few nutrients and instead try eating foods that are good for you and your baby and can help sustain your energy levels while giving your baby everything it needs to grow.
Eat more of these foods to fight pregnancy fatigue:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Milk and cheese
- Lean meat
Foods that make you extra tired while pregnant include:
- Fatty foods
- Processed sugar
- Fried food
- White pasta and white rice
- Red meat
Adapting your diet to eat a good balance can help ensure your digestion is clear and you don’t feel extra sluggish. A healthy gut is essential to make sure you are getting the right nutrients to stay healthy and to ensure you don’t feel tired.
Daily naps to cope with pregnancy fatigue
Growing a baby is very hard work, and your body will need extra rest. While pregnant, taking naps will help keep your energy levels high. If you struggle to sleep at night, taking frequent short naps in the day will help fight pregnancy fatigue and help keep you focussed and awake.
If you’re wondering how long you should nap while pregnant, the answer might surprise you. Just 20-30 minutes twice a day is enough to increase your energy levels.
You don’t want to take a long nap and fall into a deep sleep known as REM sleep. This can mess up your sleep schedule and make it harder to sleep at night. Also, if you wake up abruptly after just a tiny amount of REM sleep, it can actually make you feel more tired. Try sleeping for just 20 minutes, and you’ll probably feel more energetic.
Research found that not only can napping in the afternoon while pregnant help with overall energy levels and mood, it can also improve the health of your baby. When you are more rested, your body is more effective in growing your baby. Your hormones will be stable, so you are in a better mood, and your baby gets everything it needs.
A popular way to fight pregnancy fatigue is to take frequent short naps. Napping twice a day for 20 minutes can improve your mood, boost energy levels and keep your baby healthy. You can also fight pregnancy fatigue by changing your diet to eat more nutritious food, improve digestion, and stop feeling sluggish.
Signs your pregnancy exhaustion is not normal
Pregnancy fatigue is standard as you grow your baby. However, extreme fatigue or tiredness could be a sign of chronic fatigue, which is not standard for pregnancy.
Chronic fatigue can occur during pregnancy and could signify your body isn’t coping well with all the change. If you think you have chronic fatigue, you should speak to your doctor.
Signs you could be suffering from chronic fatigue during pregnancy include:
- Feeling tired immediately after waking
- Muscle weakness
- Vomiting or unable to keep food down
- Unable to sleep at night
- Frequent Urinary Tract Infections
- Depressive thoughts
- Unable to complete daily tasks eg- cooking, showering, etc.
- Dizziness or fainting when walking
If you experience the symptoms listed above, you should contact your doctor. This could be a sign there is something else wrong that might need medical help.
Common causes of chronic fatigue syndrome during pregnancy include:
- Anaemia/ low iron
- Thyroid problems
- Prenatal depression
- Gestational diabetes
- Bacterial infection
When should I be worried about fatigue in pregnancy?
Pregnancy fatigue is normal, but you should speak to your doctor if your fatigue is extreme or you experience other symptoms. If your fatigue continues into the second trimester, causing you to pass out, makes getting out of bed hard or causing you to forget parts of your day, you should speak to a professional.
A doctor will check that you aren’t deficient in any nutrients causing your fatigue. They may also advise bed rest as you approach your due date.
To find out more about having a healthy pregnancy, this article has lots of tips to keep your baby healthy:
Chronic fatigue syndrome does affect some women during pregnancy and could be a sign there is something wrong. You could be suffering from a problem with your thyroid, anaemia, or be ill with influenza. If you cannot complete basic tasks like showering, suffer from muscle weakness or faint, speak to your doctor.
Pregnancy fatigue is a normal part of every pregnancy. Most women find the first and third trimesters especially tiring. Since caffeine isn’t good for your baby, you will need to use other natural remedies to cure pregnancy fatigue.
Herbal teas such as green tea, ginger root tea, and lemon balm tea can be used to help safely boost your energy levels, help you to relax at night and wake you up properly in the morning. Check with your healthcare provider before consuming any herbal tea while pregnant.
You should also adapt your diet and use food to sustain your energy throughout the day. Avoid sugary and fatty foods that could cause your energy levels to crash. You should also take several short naps during the day to give yourself a boost without disrupting your sleep schedule.
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