How to Fight Fatigue During Pregnancy
It’s common to feel more tired than usual when you’re pregnant, especially during the first and third trimesters, when your body is producing new hormones and preparing for birth. Physical and psychological changes during pregnancy can be stressful mentally and emotionally as well, adding to your feelings of fatigue.
During early pregnancy, your body makes more of a hormone called progesterone, which can make you feel sluggish and sleepy. In addition, your body produces more blood to carry nutrients to the baby, causing more work for your heart and other organs. Your body also changes the way it processes foods and nutrients. All of this change is stressful to the body and may lead to fatigue.
During later pregnancy, the additional weight of the baby further taxes your body’s strength. Several changes may occur later in pregnancy that make you feel tired:
• Difficulty sleeping
• The need to urinate often during the night
• Late-night cramps in your legs
Are You Anemic?
Fatigue can also be a symptom of anemia, particularly iron-deficiency anemia, which affects about half of all pregnant women. Your body needs iron to make hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that enables them to carry oxygen to your tissues and to your baby. Your need for iron increases during pregnancy because of the needs of the baby, the increase in blood produced by your body, and the blood loss that occurs during delivery.
Fatigue can be a symptom of anemia, particularly if you also have:
• Shortness of breath
• Heart palpitations
• Pale skin
Talk to your health-care provider if you have fatigue and other symptoms of anemia.