Fatigue is a common side effect of pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester and again as your due date approaches. While some expectant moms are lucky enough to sail through their pregnancies without feeling tired at all, others feel tired throughout the duration. Pregnancy fatigue isn't necessarily linked to excessive weight gain, although it may be a contributing factor. A growing bump and other side effects of pregnancy such as backache, heartburn and restless leg syndrome can make it more difficult to get a restful night's sleep, leading to daytime fatigue.
Rule out iron-deficiency anemia, which affects many pregnant women and can cause fatigue. Your doctor will have blood drawn at your first prenatal visit and again late in your second trimester or early in your third trimester to test for anemia. If you are anemic, your doctor can prescribe iron supplements.
Pay attention to your body's signals. If you feel as if you need to rest, do it. Go to bed earlier than you normally would. Relax with your feet up if you're feeling tired. Put your health and the well-being of your baby before everything else, including social events, housework and work commitments. Ask your employer if you can reduce your hours or work from home a couple of days per week. Don't ignore signs of fatigue.
Eat a healthy diet to keep your energy levels up. You need around 300 additional calories a day, advises BabyCenter.com. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meats and try to limit junk food and sugary treats. Of course, you should give your body what it's craving, but strive to achieve a balanced diet. Remember that unhealthy food makes you feel sluggish, while protein and complex carbohydrates provide a long-lasting energy boost. Avoid caffeine and drink lots of water; aim for eight glasses per day. Drink most of your water during the day and limit fluid intake in the hours before bedtime to keep nighttime toilet trips to a minimum.
Do regular, moderate exercise. Even a short walk may make you feel energized. Take your time and stop if you feel too tired. Do gentle stretches before and after exercise and focus on breathing deeply.
Accept that fatigue is simply part of your pregnancy, and don't let it get you down. If you are feeling depressed, anxious or unable to cope with your pregnancy or the prospect of having a baby, make an appointment with your health care provider. Fatigue may be a symptom of depression, and you may benefit from speaking to a counselor about your state of mind. Your doctor can make a referral on your behalf.