Tiredness in pregnancy

Sleeping woman on sofaThe hormonal changes sweeping through your body can result in extreme tiredness at the beginning and end of your pregnancy (morning sickness and looking after other children you made earlier doesn't help) but it doesn't harm you or your baby.

Your body's working overtime in the first trimester of pregnancy, but normal life also has to go on. If this involves work, childcare etc, it can all get a bit much. 

Plus, if you haven't yet shared your news with nearest and dearest, and don't look pregnant to non-nearest and dearest, you're not going to get the sort of sympathy you'll get when you're knackered in the last trimester.

"I am 12 weeks pregnant and still so tired," says a mum. "My doctor signed me off last week because I am, literally, falling asleep on the job. It is also making me feel overwhelmed and tearful."

What you eat can affect your energy levels, so make sure you're getting enough:

  • Iron-rich foods, such as leafy green veg, red meat, eggs, sardines and beans
  • Slow-release, fibre-rich foods such as wholegrain cereals, brown bread and brown rice (also good for combating constipation)
  • Protein
  • Vitamin C (it aids the absorption of iron)
  • Water

Caffeine shots are a tempting pick-me-up when you're feeling exhausted, but the tannin in tea and coffee prevents your body from absorbing iron and iron-deficiency causes fatigue. 

Although you may not feel like it, a spot of regular, gentle exercise can help to combat tiredness. Think low-impact, so walking, swimming or pregnancy yoga.

If your nights are being broken by getting up to pee, then make up for it by napping when you can in the day. And make sure you get what one Mumsnetter calls 'back-to-front-lie-ins', ie early nights.

What Mumsnetters say about tiredness in pregnancy

  • I was totally shattered in the early months, though being sick every day didn't help. I think all you can do is go with the flow and let your body tell you what it wants. When I started doing that, things became a lot easier. Peanuts1
  • I recommend eating lots of fruit and slow-releasing carbohydrates like pasta and rice. Chocolate is good for energy but the effect doesn't last long. Tillysmummy
  • I felt knackered for the whole of my pregnancy, and just had to take it as easy as possible, which was difficult with a toddler. I think that as long as your iron level is OK, you just have to rest as much as you can and accept that this is how pregnancy is. Maxbear
  • Things I found helped were: muesli in the morning (combine 1/2-cup rolled oats with milk or fruit juice the night before and put it in the fridge, eat with fresh fruit, sultanas etc); exercise after breakfast, even when you're feeling very tired, just a short walk to the park or something; a short sleep at lunchtime (or whenever your toddler sleeps) but only around 40 minutes. Lorien

 

Image: Shutterstock

Last updated: 11-Apr-2013 at 12:04 PM