Are you feeling absolutely exhausted during your first trimester? Although it can come as quite a surprise, rest assured that it’s totally normal. First trimester fatigue is more extreme than your typical end-of-day tiredness. Even the most energetic of women can become completely drained of energy in the first few months of pregnancy. First trimester fatigue is essentially a signal from your body to slow down and give it time to adjust to the incredible changes happening within your body. You are growing a baby after all. Here are 7 key first trimester fatigue tips to help you feel better.
First Trimester Fatigue 101
First trimester fatigue is an early sign of pregnancy that signals your body to slow down. It can affect your day-to-day activities, making it hard to get out of bed, crushing your focus, and making it difficult to complete small tasks. You may also notice you’re sleeping excessively and may become irritable or feel depressed.
As your body prepares itself for a baby, there are certain things that occur. Hormone changes, especially rising progesterone levels, play a major role in making you feel tired. If you experience morning sickness, this can drain your body of nutrients and hydration. Placenta formation and fetal circulation also requires extra nutrients, which can lead to fatigue for the mom.
On top of this, there’s an increase of blood volume and supply, which requires your heart to work harder, causing fatigue. Iron levels can also drop during pregnancy, resulting in iron-deficiency anemia. If you’re experiencing extreme fatigue, talk to your doctor about testing your iron levels.
Fatigue typically subsides after the first trimester, with many women getting a fresh surge of energy in their second trimester. This is a great time to tackle nesting and important pre-baby chores, as fatigue is likely to creep in again in the third trimester.
7 First Trimester Fatigue Tips
1. Prioritize Rest and Sleep
Don’t be afraid to give your body what it needs. You’re growing an entire human inside you and there’s a ton of changes happening in your body. Try to get as much sleep as possible. This may mean going to bed earlier than usual. If you’re feeling sleepy at 8 or 9 pm, listen to your body and head to bed. Try not to schedule social activities late in the evening, and allow yourself to nap and rest whenever you can.
2. Be Mindful of Your Diet
It’s important for you and your baby that you follow a balanced, nutrient-dense diet. Certain foods will help you stay energized and get you through the day. Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, and offer natural sugars that can help boost your energy. Fatigue can also be linked to iron deficiency, so be sure to eat plenty of foods that are high in protein and iron. High protein foods include eggs, black beans, tofu, chicken, turkey, tuna, lentils, and Greek yogurt. High iron foods include spinach, legumes, soybeans, and iron-fortified cereals.
3. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Drinking lots of water is so important during your first trimester for a number of reasons, and is key to fighting exhaustion. When you’re dehydrated, the fluid loss causes a drop in your blood volume, which causes your heart to work harder to push oxygen and nutrients through your bloodstream. This results in fatigue. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day, but cut down toward the evening to avoid frequent urination at night.
4. Stay Active
Maintaining regular activity can help give you a burst of energy. Talk to your doctor about pregnancy options for exercise. However, know that sitting at home on the couch or working at a desk on a computer all day will only make you more tired. Get outside and do some light physical activity to get your blood flowing. Walking is amazing for your health and prenatal yoga can relieve back tension and pressure in your shoulders, neck, and hips, and relieves stress and anxiety. Just make sure not to do anything that requires you to lift anything too heavy or do intense physical activity.
5. Get Comfortable in Bed
As your bump gets bigger, it’s imperative to find a comfortable sleeping position so you can get the best sleep possible. Sleep tilted to one side with pillows supporting your knees, back, and belly. You can also invest in a pregnancy pillow for ultimate comfort. Lying on your side is thought to give your baby ultimate blood flow, but don’t stress if you roll onto your back during the night. It can also be helpful to keep your head a bit elevated to help with heartburn, another common pregnancy symptom.
6. Limit Your Caffeine Intake
Limit your caffeine intake, especially after lunchtime. Caffeine (found in coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks), is a stimulant, and may keep you awake long into the night or cause you to wake more frequently, making you feel more tired throughout the day. Check with your doctor about caffeine intake, but it’s generally recommended to limit yourself to two home-brewed cups of coffee per day or no more than 200 milligrams.
7. Practice Self Care
When you’re pregnant, it’s important to put yourself first and practice self care as much as possible. This will help keep you relaxed and stress-free, which is essential for your energy levels. Ask for help from family and friends when you need it. Take nightly baths, book prenatal massages (or ask your partner for massages), and take naps and breaks when necessary. Get into your comfiest clothes, light a candle, read a book, and sip on chamomile tea. Doing things that make you feel good will benefit how you feel.
If you’re struggling with first trimester fatigue, we hope these tips help you feel better and more energized!
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