Fatigue during pregnancy is a popular symptom known by almost anyone, not only gynecologists, also being one of the first signs that you become pregnant. Although pregnancy is a different experience from one woman to another, during the first weeks of pregnancy is possible to also experience nausea, morning sickness, breast tenderness, and always feel tired. It`s essential to now your body and recognize the presence of a pregnancy immediately, because it will perhaps be necessary to change your lifestyle and nutrition.
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When Does Fatigue Start in Pregnancy?
Fatigue is considered an early pregnancy symptom that almost all pregnant women experience it during the first trimester of pregnancy, the very few weeks after conception and implantation. It normally gets a little better when the second trimester of pregnancy starts, but it then returns in the last trimester. However, it all varies from one pregnancy to another.
Symptoms & Causes
This is a sensation experienced by lots of pregnant women, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, which consists of a state of weakness, sometimes even lethargy, inability of performing any activity just as effective as in the past. This state is a normal one in general, because the body struggles to create an environment that supports a new life, being obvious the depletion of energy associated with this process. Here is a series of clear causes for the occurrence of fatigue:
- You don`t rest or sleep enough due to the fact that you suffer of insomnia.
- Morning sickness are exhausting (generally, it takes up to 14 – 16 pregnancy weeks), and eating becomes a difficult activity (therefore, you cannot regain your necessary energy).
- Increased levels of hormones give you a state of sleepiness, while blood sugar and blood pressure have a tendency to decrease.
- Your heart pumps an increased amount of blood (trying to accommodate with the new volume of blood).
- Dividing the vital nutrients with the baby through the placenta might lead to nutritional deficiencies and, consequently, a state of exhaustion.
- Charging extra pounds (accumulated while pregnant, especially in the last trimester) is quite tedious and on occasion accompanied by back pain, leg cramps, restless legs syndrome or chest burning, and especially the necessity to urinate often.
- Even mood changes which affect lots of expecting mothers prove to be extenuating at a certain point.
- Fortunately, for lots of pregnant women, the body returns to its normal operation mode after the first trimester, the placenta being finalized and the organism becoming accustomed to the new hormones. Although the second trimester might be full of energy, fatigue might return in the last trimester, but it isn`t a general rule, each and every organism reacting in its very own way.
Reasons of Concern
There is a series of situation in which fatigue is in fact caused by a serious deficiency in the body or even a psychological issue. Therefore, iron deficiency anemia (lack of iron characterized by a deficiency in the number of red blood cells) may be a reason of exhaustion, gestational diabetes or even weakly reactive thyroid. That`s why, all expecting mothers need to perform at least a series of blood tests during pregnancy, and especially when they notice a state of extreme overwhelm and follow the administration of prenatal vitamins when they are prescribed (or any other supplements).
There are also other cases in which fatigue is caused by depression, being accompanied by a sensation of inability/loss of interest of performing any of the daily activities, feeling helplessness or even having thoughts of self-hurting. In this case, you need to get in touch with a doctor immediately, because the condition may worsen in the absence of adequate treatment.
Why Can Resting Be Difficult during Pregnancy?
The first and most pressing sleeping matter while pregnant is the increased size of the belly which can make things hard when trying to find a comfortable sleep position. If you were used to sleep on your back or belly, now you may experience moments when you cannot sleep, because you aren`t able to do this on your favorite side. Also, moving around in your bed can be difficult, because pregnancy evolves and your size increase along with it.
The need to urinate frequently is also another reason of concern when trying to rest during pregnancy. Your kidneys work harder to filtrate your increased volume of blood (with 30% to 50% more blood than you had before pregnancy), which moves throughout your body, and from this process of filtration results more urine. Also, while your baby grows and the uterus becomes larger, the pressure on the bladder increases as well. This leads to more trips to the toilet, both during the day and at night. The number of visits to the toilet can increase at night as well, if you are carrying an active child.
The increased heart rate can also be a pressing matter when trying to find a few moments to sleep. During pregnancy, the heart pumps more blood to supply the uterus. That`s why you are feeling tired, because now your heart finds it harder to send the necessary amount of blood to the rest of the body.
At first, your breathing may be affected by the increased level of pregnancy hormones, which will determine you to breathe more profoundly. This might make you feel that it`s harder to find sufficient air than usual. The more your pregnancy evolves, the harder you`ll find it to breathe, because the uterus extends and occupies more space. The sensation of milk suffocation is caused by the fact that there`s more pressure exerted on the diaphragm (the muscle under the lungs).
Legs cramps and back pains are mostly caused by the increased weight gained. During pregnancy, the body produces a hormone (relaxin), which helps the body prepare for birth. One of the effects of this particular hormone is the relaxation of ligaments within entire body, making the expecting mothers less stable and more prone to accidents, especially when it comes their back.
How to Relieve Fatigue in Pregnancy?
First of all, if you have the opportunity (when you have more free time in your schedule), rest as many times as you feel the need or even change the usual bedtime hour (move it earlier). Even a 15-minute break can help you regain your tone. Don`t get too preoccupied of the domestic chores and don`t get overwhelmed of the professional activities, opting for the help of the partner/friends as often as possible.
For a restful sleep, you can opt to a relaxing routine, reading a book, drinking some warm tea or even removing the television from the room where you sleep. Sleep in any position you feel yourself comfortable, but keep in mind that after week 16 of pregnancy, sleeping on your back won`t be as restful as it used to be (the uterus exerts an increased pressure on one of the body`s important blood vessels). You can opt for a lateral position, supporting your belly with pillows and even placing one between your legs. Give up coffee (the ones that contain tannin, which makes iron assimilation more difficult), smoking or alcohol, because they may contribute to the occurrence of insomnia (even if you feel that they are the only methods that can help you stay vigilant) and, moreover, harm your future baby. – Visit this link!
When it comes to nutrition, it`s essential to opt for healthy products if you want to keep your energy at a satisfying level, like proteins and carbs are, as well as for small and frequent meals (useful when morning sickness is concerned). Also, don`t skip meals, because fatigue may worsen. The body of an expecting mother requires around 300 calories daily, therefore whole grains, fruits, vegetables or lean meats (especially vegetables with green leaves, beans, eggs, red meat and sardines for the iron intake) are the most suitable nutritional options. Keep your body moisturized by drinking enough water, and if frequent urination will prevent you from sleeping at night, you can reduce the intake of liquids with a few hours before going to sleep at night, increasing the amount for the rest of the day. And don`t forget that prenatal vitamins are crucial.
Last but not least, you can opt for yoga classes or Pilates exercises (if you have the doctor`s approval), even easy walking, because will help with your blood circulation, and the body will secrete endorphins (hormones of happiness) that will help you have a more restful sleep. – Read more!
- It`s recommended to have a regular program as much as possible. Don`t stress yourself too much and try to sleep a bit at noon as well.
- Avoid eating or drinking too much before going to bed.
- Try to relax yourself by watching your favorite movie, reading your favoring book or making an aromatic bath.
- Drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed.
- Ventilate well the room where you`ll sleep; clean air will help you sleep well.
- Avoid caffeine and sweets that can make you feel agitated.
Even if you are feeling exhausted during pregnancy, you should keep in mind that it`s only a temporary condition. Once you`ll keep your baby in your arms, you`ll forget about all these little things.