I thought I knew what tired felt like. Then I became pregnant with my first child. It turns out that growing a baby is exhausting! With the huge increase in hormones, along with the physical changes your body is going through, Moms to be can be left feeling nauseous, emotional and more tired than they have ever felt before.
In the first 12 weeks of pregnancy with my first child I remember barely being able to keep my eyes open once I got back from work, falling asleep whilst eating my dinner, going to bed at 7pm, sleeping pretty much through but still struggling to get up in the morning for work. If you already have a child, second pregnancies can make the 1st trimester even more challenging, with no ability to rest or still being woken up multiple times during the night.
Here are my tips on how to cope with extreme tiredness during the 1st Trimester
- Keep an eye on your iron levels – Whilst exhaustion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy is incredibly common, it could also be a sign that your iron levels are lower than they should be. Being anemic or having low iron levels can make you feel considerably lethargic and sleepy. To combat this, make sure you eat lots of iron rich foods such as red meat, beans and dried fruit, as well as lots of vitamin C which increases how quickly iron is absorbed into the body. If you are struggling to eat much due to morning sickness or nausea, you may want to consider taking an iron supplement or pregnancy multivitamin.
- Staying hydrated is also really important in the first trimester. Drink lots of water – you can add lemon or juices to flavor if you find water a bit boring, but aim to drink at least 8 glasses a day.
- Take a nap when you can – If your home and work life allow, try and take a short nap during the day. You may find that you are waking more regularly at night (strange dreams or the need to urinate more frequently may cause premature wake ups), and even a quick 20 minutes during the day can help compensate for the sleep you’ve lost during the night.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – if you have a partner, arrange to have a lie in on the weekends whilst they watch your other children. Alternatively sit and read a book with your feet up. You don’t have to physically be asleep to rest your body.
- If you are struggling to get comfortable at night invest in a pregnancy pillow to help support you getting the best sleep possible. If you struggle to switch off because your mind is buzzing, a mindfulness or meditation app may help clear your thoughts before sleep.
- Get some gentle exercise – the thought of exercising when you feel tired might seem counterintuitive, but actually a short walk around the block before bed can help you drift off faster and get a better nights’ sleep. It can also help release feel good hormones and provide a source of melatonin – the sleep inducing hormone.
- Take the pressure off – The first trimester can be really hard. Don’t try and continue at the same pace of life that you normally would. Accept that the house won’t be pristine, that you may need to rely on easy dinners for the family or opt for no fuss choices and that sometimes the chores will have to wait. Don’t be hard on yourself. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your baby!
The good news is, that often your energy levels boost back to normal levels in the second trimester. Morning sickness generally starts to ease or stop all together, which can often make the middle weeks of your pregnancy far more comfortable than the start! Embrace the 2nd trimester, as the weeks go far too quickly!