Pregnancy and fatigue: these are two things that sometimes just seem to belong together. Especially during the first four months, you may feel quite tired and even fall asleep during the day. But you can also suffer from great fatigue later in the pregnancy. How does this happen and what can you do about it?
Tired during the first three months
The first three months of pregnancy are called the first trimester. A lot happens in the body: a new life develops. Developing this new life takes a lot of energy. The blood volume in the pregnant woman’s body increases and, under the influence of hormones, the metabolism and functioning of the kidneys, lungs and heart change. We already notice that it takes energy from the feeling of hunger: pregnant women are hungry more often. You used to be able to easily work for 3 hours straight, but now you notice halfway through that you are hungry. If you don’t eat quickly enough, you may even start to shake and sweat. But that’s not the only thing that changes: you also get tired faster. Sometimes it seems like you can sleep all day. Some women even fall asleep during the day if they sit or lie down somewhere quiet.
When you lie in bed exhausted at night, you fall asleep almost immediately. Although you have to get out of bed more often at night to urinate, you always fall asleep fairly quickly. And yet you wake up tired again in the morning. Is there anything that can be done about it? No not really. This fatigue is just part of the first trimester. Going to bed on time is recommended. So don’t make it long evenings. Whenever possible, sleep in. Taking a nap during the day is not bad at all. Give in to the fatigue. You’re really not a lazy person if you suddenly need more sleep. The greatest fatigue disappears after the first trimester.
The second trimester: fatigue due to an iron deficiency
After three to four months the worst of the fatigue should have disappeared. Your body has adapted to pregnancy and the baby is almost fully developed. For the rest of the pregnancy, energy is mainly invested in growing the baby and maturing its organs. Do you still suffer from great fatigue after four months? There is a chance that your iron content is too low. This is more common in pregnant women. Too low an iron level is also called anemia.
Iron levels can be increased by eating apple syrup, whole wheat bread, legumes, green vegetables and nuts. Drinking Roosvicee Ferro can also increase iron levels. If you remain tired and lethargic despite this diet, have your blood taken by the doctor or midwife. Sometimes iron-containing tablets (steel pills) are prescribed. Sometimes fatigue arises because you worry too much about the pregnancy and the baby. Women who have previously experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth are particularly likely to have concerns. A logical consequence, but try to put your worries aside and talk to someone about it. Worrying takes up a lot of energy that you really need for other things.
Third trimester: tired from pregnancy
Fatigue in the last three months of pregnancy is mainly caused by the heavy weight you carry with you all day. Your normal activities no longer appear to be as easy as before. On average you have gained 9 to 13 kilos, some women even more. You gain weight quickly, especially in the last three months. You experience problems with your back, pelvis, legs and feet. Sleeping is becoming increasingly difficult. On the one hand because of the pain you may experience, and on the other hand because of the frequent need to get out of bed to urinate. The baby can press firmly against the bladder, and the volume in the bladder has also decreased. So often to the toilet. But this does disturb your night’s sleep.
Despite the fatigue, many pregnant women feel an enormous urge during the last two months after cleaning the house and preparing the baby’s room. This is called nesting urge. All that extra work takes even more energy. And you notice that: in the evening you roll into bed exhausted. Can you do something about it? Yes, offload some more work. Only do those things that are really necessary and what someone else cannot do. Most women are now on maternity leave. So enjoy this: you have this leave to take it easy.