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Having trouble getting up in the morning and staying awake is often one of the very first pregnancy signs. Expectant mothers tend to feel more energetic once they enter their second trimester, but fatigue rears its ugly head again very soon in the third.

What are the causes of fatigue during pregnancy, and how do you combat it?

Causes of pregnancy fatigue

Many people compare being pregnant to running a marathon. If this analogy were a good one, pregnant women would be feeling motivated and energetic in the beginning. The opposite tends to be true, unfortunately it's very possible that you'll have trouble staying awake at work even before you miss your period. Fatigue could well be your first indication that you are expecting a baby. During the first trimester of pregnancy, pregnancy hormones have got to be responsible for your tiredness.

While your friends, relatives and coworkers wonder why you turned so lazy all of a sudden, your body is doing a whole lot of hard work. Your baby's brain and internal organs are starting to develop, as well as the placenta. Basically, a miracle is happening inside your body. It's really no wonder that you need an afternoon nap! Later on, as you are finishing up your second trimester and entering the third and final trimester, the reasons behind your fatigue are even more obvious. Of course, those hormones are still bugging you. Along with that, your baby and its entourage (the placenta, amniotic fluid, and even that extra blood volume you now have) are placing quite a strain on your body. Pregnancy is like a workout that never ends! Apart from those things, you may also be tired because you find it hard to sleep at night. There are plenty of reasons a pregnant woman gets less sleep more frequent urination, pregnancy heartburn, weird nightmares and just not being able to find a comfortable positions in which you can sleep for longer than 30 minutes or so.

Tips to help you fight fatigue

Some pregnancy fatigue is inevitable. Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to fight it as well.


Midwives and seasoned mothers often recommend pregnant women with morning sickness eat small meals frequently. This practice tends to work because it helps blood sugar levels remain steady, and for the same reason it will help you combat pregnancy fatigue as well. A protein-rich snack like a boiled egg or some brown rice with miso will prevent a huge dip in your energy levels, and foods that release energy slowly, like bananas, are excellent too. Nutritional deficiencies, and iron-deficiency anemia in particular, will also make you feel enormously tired. Get a blood test (you should anyway, as part of your regular prenatal care), and consider taking a good multivitamin supplement suitable for pregnant women just in case. Finally, proper hydration (which probably goes under nutrition, right?) plays a huge role in your health. If you are dehydrated or under-hydrated, you will definitely feel really exhausted. Real dehydration can be very dangerous, so make sure you keep drinking water.

Sleep and relax

During the first trimester, there is no doubt that the best way to deal with fatigue is giving into it, wherever possible. Take that afternoon nap if you can, and go to bed early if that is not possible. See this period of pregnancy as a practice run for having a baby you're too busy (and hence too tired) growing that fetus to have an immaculate house. That's perfectly fine. Delegate, accept that perfection is unattainable. Relax as much as you can, and enjoy your sleep while you are still able to.

Prenatal workouts

Exercising regularly during your pregnancy will ensure you stay in shape, and may just set you up for an easier labor and delivery. One thing regular prenatal workouts will definitely accomplish is an easier time with weight loss after pregnancy. Does that all sound absolutely dreadful to you while you are dealing with that deadly fatigue? Think twice going out for a walk and some fresh air may give you just as much of a boost as a nap. Prenatal yoga, swimming, or low-impact aerobics will benefit you even if you do them indoors. Anything that gets your body moving and makes you feel good releases endorfins, which have been proven to increase your energy levels.

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