Fatigue is a symptom just about all women experience during pregnancy. It commonly peaks during the first and third trimesters, but can be felt at any stage. It’s a feeling most women will say is like nothing they have ever felt before. A real physical tiredness that you can’t really ignore or push through. The good news is that the fatigue you feel is a sign of your body doing all the right things to nurture your growing baby.
Causes of fatigue during pregnancy include:
- Increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen
- Building the placenta
- Increased metabolic rate
- Increased heart rate
- Low blood sugar
- Reduced blood pressure
- Low iron
- Emptying your bladder overnight
- Frequently changing position through the night
- Carrying extra weight around all day
Basically, your body is working really hard just to get through the usual day to day tasks of breathing, moving and growing your baby. On top of the hormone changes and added stress to your systems required to grow your baby, you might also find your sleep interrupted through the night by toilet trips and aches and pains.
I think it really helps to spell out all these reasons so that you have a good understanding of why you feel so tired and why you may need to slow down and prioritise rest during your pregnancy. I tried to make sure I had one or two afternoons per week where I really rested - feet up on the couch with the tv on. I found this helped to stay on top of the fatigue so I didn’t fall in a heap all of a sudden. There is a saying along the lines of ‘if you don’t pick a day to rest, your body will pick it for you’, which really rings true during pregnancy. It may take a while to get your head around, but if you can set aside some time to truly rest, you will feel so much better.
If you’re concerned or unsure about anything you are feeling during your pregnancy, it’s always best to see your doctor to get their opinion on your specific symptoms.