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Pregnant and tired: healthy ways to fight fatigue

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, but it also can be tiring, particularly in the 1st trimester, and again in the 3rd trimester as your due date approaches. Fatigue is one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. In fact, many women describe feeling tired or even exhausted during the first months of pregnancy
















Why do you feel tired during pregnancy?

Your body is working hard to support new life and adapt to the many physical changes that come with the development of a baby.

  • Early in pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone increase significantly, which can add to fatigue.
  • Increased blood production, lower blood sugar levels, and lower blood pressure — all common in early pregnancy — might sap your energy.
  • Sleep disturbances and nausea also can make you more tired.

Keys to fighting fatigue during pregnancy

When fatigue strikes, healthy foods and smart choices can help you stay alert and energized. Sticking to a well-balanced diet, exercising when possible (under your doctor’s supervision), and responding to your body’s need for rest can help. Try these tips to help reduce symptoms of fatigue:

  • Choose nutrient- and protein-rich foods, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, beans, chicken breast, or peanut butter.
  • Avoid turning to sugary foods or energy drinks for a quick fix. A donut or candy bar might be a temporary sugar fix, but these foods will leave you more hungry sooner and more tired in the long run. Energy drinks should be thought of as dietary supplements and often have ingredients that might not be safe for your baby. Check with your doctor for specific guidance.
  • Eat every four hours , beginning with a balanced breakfast. Try to include at least one whole grain and a fruit or vegetable with each mini-meal or snack.
  • Limit caffeine. While guidelines vary,* most professionals recommend consuming no more than 300 mg of caffeine (or about two 8-ounce cups of coffee) a day while pregnant. Remember to count the caffeine in other beverages, such as tea or soda.
  • Listen to your body, and get the rest you need. It sounds simple, but it can be easy to forget during this busy time.
  • Exercise regularly (with your doctor’s guidance).
  • Get as much of the iron, vitamins, and minerals you can from iron-rich and energy-dense foods. Take your prenatal supplements as directed by your doctor.
  • Hydrate. Try to drink at least 10 8-ounce glasses of water or other fluids a day.

While nothing can fully eliminate fatigue, fueling your body with nutrients can reduce that tired feeling and give you the daily energy you need. If at any time you have concerns about ongoing fatigue, talk to your doctor to rule out anemia or other possible causes.

*The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests limiting caffeine to 200 mg a day, while the American Dietetic Association (ADA) suggests limiting caffeine to 300 mg a day or less. Follow your health care professional’s recommendations.
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