The childbearing process is a challenge for a future mother. Besides morning sickness, mood swings, changing appetite, frequent urination, heartburn, cramps, swellings, heaviness in the arms and legs, the woman often suffers from pregnancy fatigue, even if she doesn’t overexert herself.
Here we’ll sort out why fatigue during pregnancy occurs, how dangerous this state is, and how you can cope with it.
The causes of pregnancy fatigue
Since the moment of conception, the female body endures great changes which are necessary for normal childbearing and preparation for childbirth.
The volume of blood necessary for providing the fetus with nutrients increases almost twice. That’s why your heart requires more energy than before. Due to this fact, the load on the blood formation organs also increases greatly.
The hormonal background is changing too. Now the female body is secreting large amounts of progesterone – the female pregnancy hormone which lowers blood pressure and slows down the process of digestion. Due to this treacherous hormone, by the way, expectant mothers often suffer from morning sickness.
In most cases, pregnancy fatigue disturbs women during early terms – usually, in the first three months. It happens due to the layout of all vitally important internal organs of the baby – heart, liver, brain, kidneys, lungs. Such a heavy load can’t go unnoticed – it affects the state of health of a future mom, and she is feeling constantly tired and sleepy.
During the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, the level of progesterone becomes slightly lower, and the woman feels much better. But in the 3rd trimester when the fetus gains a lot of weight, constant pregnancy fatigue recurs. Besides, the expectant mom usually experiences edema, the shortness of breath during pregnancy, and heartburn.
Don’t mistake such a state for iron deficiency because pregnancy fatigue is a normal occurrence during the gestation, but anemia is a serious disorder which can lead to gestosis, developmental delay of the fetus or even stillbirth. Statistically, every third baby whose mother has been suffering from anemia during pregnancy has problems with immune system and allergies.
Besides fatigue during pregnancy, watch out for the following symptoms of iron deficiency:
- Frequent headaches, seeing “black spots”, dizziness, fainting;
- Constipation or diarrhea;
- Fragile nails, hair loss, crumbling teeth;
- Pale skin and mucous membranes;
- Stomatitis, gastritis;
- Raised heartbeat without any apparent reason, irregular heartbeat, pain in the heart;
- Frequent respiratory diseases;
- Change of smell and taste: the woman begins to like sharp odors, such as gasoline, acetone;
- Urinary incontinence because of abrupt movements (sneezing, coughing, turning from side to side during the night).
Iron deficiency occurs, first of all, because of the increased volume of blood in the female body. There is no time to produce enough hemoglobin contained in red blood cells – erythrocytes.
That’s why the future mom has to monitor the level of hemoglobin in her blood and do blood tests every month. Keep a pregnancy calendar within reach and don’t forget to give your doctor blood samples in time.
Pay special attention to your diet. Your daily ration should be rich in proteins and iron. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to cure anemia with the help of only a healthy pregnancy diet. But by keeping to a proper eating schedule you can surely prevent the development of iron deficiency during pregnancy!
Now let’s discuss how to deal with pregnancy fatigue and how to prevent its development.
Ways to cope with fatigue during pregnancy
Try to rest more. Sometimes it’s quite hard to find time for rest because pregnancy fatigue is overpowering during early terms (in the first trimester) when your belly still doesn’t show and you have to lead the same lifestyle as before getting pregnant – days at work, weekends – keeping the house.
Use every possible opportunity to get some rest – don’t hurry to cook dinner immediately after you’ve got home from work, you’d better lie down on a couch and get some much-needed sleep. Ask your partner, children or parents to share your housework. You’ll need free time on the weekends in order to take care of yourself and your future baby.
Sleep should be sound. In order to feel full of energy in the morning, go to bed earlier than usual, get no less than 8-9 hours of sleep per day. Your bed should be as comfortable as possible, and don’t forget to open the windows in the bedroom a few hours before sleep time so that you get enough fresh air.
Future moms are often disturbed during sleep because of frequent urination. That’s why you should try not to drink a lot within two hours before bed.
In order not to spend too much nervous energy, try to avoid emotional stress during pregnancy. Don’t get into stressful situations, ask your family and friends to forgive you your mood swings and treat you with understanding.
A great help in dealing with daily-life troubles will be meditation, yoga, a nice book or movie.
Get as much fresh air as possible. Take long and slow walks in the evenings. Oxygen is a necessary element for normal fetal development.
Do exercises for pregnant women. Ask your gynecologist which kind of sports is suitable for future moms. It can be running during pregnancy, swimming or yoga. Such physical loads are a great way to get rid of pregnancy fatigue.
Vitamins for future moms
Take vitamins and minerals for pregnant women. But don’t choose the vitamin complex on your own, consult your doctor first.
Keep to a healthy pregnancy diet. It should be well-balanced, quality, and organic. “Eating for two” is a wrong approach because overeating often leads to excess weight and fatigue during pregnancy. Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, lean fish, seafood, cereals, wholegrain bread, dairy products. Abstain from fast food, fatty products, fried food, and pastry. Eat healthy sweet things instead: dried fruit, honey, nuts.
Feeling a bit tired is completely normal during pregnancy, especially in the first and in the third trimesters. However, if you feel constant pregnancy fatigue, even after long hours of quality rest, you need to turn to your healthcare provider.