Pregnancy

How to Survive Pregnancy Fatigue

Are you in the early weeks of pregnancy and feeling like a truck hit you? Pregnancy fatigue can be totally overwhelming, but there are simple steps you can take to manage your exhaustion. Read on to learn how to survive pregnancy fatigue.

How to Survive Pregnancy Fatigue

What is Pregnancy Fatigue Like?

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Simply put, pregnancy fatigue feels like a truck has run over you. It’s much more like total exhaustion than simple tiredness. No matter how much rest you get, you still feel absolutely exhausted.

It may seem dramatic, but there’s good reason for the extreme tiredness of the first trimester. Although the teeny baby you’re growing is only the size of a poppy seed, your body is also growing something much more substantial: the placenta.

The placenta is a whole new organ in your body, designed to support your baby. The growth of the placenta is what is causing you the exhaustion you are feeling, and rightly so! When else in your life do you grow an entire new organ?

In addition to growing the placenta, your body is going through a bunch of other changes, including producing more blood, changes to the digestive system, etc. No wonder you’re so tired!

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How Early Does Fatigue Start in Pregnancy?

While every woman’s pregnancy is different, pregnancy fatigue usually starts in the first trimester, just two or three weeks after conception. Your body begin changing right away, and with it, comes the beginnings of the exhaustion of early pregnancy.

For me, I noticed I was more tired than usual at about six weeks, and by the seventh week, fatigue was in full force and I could barely get out of bed!

When Does Pregnancy Fatigue Peak?

Like everything in pregnancy, no two women experience pregnancy symptoms in the exact same way (annoyingly, you’ll soon realize this is the answer to most questions about pregnancy). However, the placenta has fully developed by the fourth month of pregnancy, so the fatigue should peak before that.

 

How to Combat Pregnancy Fatigue

This title kind of makes me laugh.  It gives me visions of newly pregnant mamas gearing up for battle. This couldn’t be further from the truth because, honestly, you don’t really combat pregnancy fatigue; you survive it. So if you’re looking for battle strategies, I don’t have any. Here’s some advice on how to survive pregnancy fatigue.

Want the Cliff Notes version? Have my pregnancy fatigue cheat sheet sent straight to your inbox by signing up below.

 

Nap/Rest as Much as Possible

Simply put, you need as much rest as you can possibly get. Not only are you growing a human (which is a huge deal, but that human is only poppy seed sized at the moment), but your body is also growing a whole new organ, the placenta. There’s no other time in life that our bodies will do such a crazy thing. It takes a lot (aka ALL) of your energy.

You will need to maximize every opportunity to rest during this time. Any time you can put your feet up or catch a nap, no matter how brief, take it! That means other activities are going to be given lower priority, so be it. Spend as much time on the couch as possible. Use it to create your Amazon Baby Registry (what could be better than creating a baby registry while horizontal?).

Don’t worry though, if life is unavoidable (other kids, a busy work life, etc.) and you can’t get as much rest as you like. As long as you’re not over exerting yourself, baby will be just fine, even while you’re dragging your weary self to school pick-up or grueling work hours.

Early Bedtime

Go to bed as early as you possibly can. If that means eating supper early and heading to bed straight after, do it. If you have other kids, now’s a great time to firm up a slightly earlier bedtime and tuck yourself in as soon as they’ve nodded off.

Caring for Older Kids

If this isn’t your first pregnancy, you have the added challenge of caring for your older kids, while being totally exhausted. It’s time to cut yourself some slack. Have your husband or a close friend or family member pitch in as much as possible.

If the majority of childcare falls on your shoulders, don’t be afraid to cut yourself some slack. Read or do other activities from the couch. 

You can consider increasing your kids’ screentime for a few weeks. Remember, first trimester exhaustion only lasts about 6-8 weeks and you’re in survival mode. Amazon Freetime is the BEST all-in-one service for kids’ apps, shows and books. With it’s phenomenal parental controls (you can limit the time spent watching videos, but allow unliminted reading time) and safety features (no worrying about Momo!), it is far beyond others in its field. Start your 30 day free trial by clicking here.

Cut Out the Unnecessary

Consider your commitments and make some cuts to anything unnecessary. Hosting events, leading (or attending) fitness classes, or anything else unnecessary, can be put on the back burner for now. Allow yourself to be a slacker. Give some love to yourself and your baby. You can always reconnect and recommit once exhaustion has eased up.

Lean on Others

It’s time to call on your husband, family and friends, because no mom is an island. You will need some help to delegate the tasks in your life. Cash in on those favours, big or small and don’t feel guilty about it!

Timing can be tricky because early in your pregnancy, you may not have told many, if anyone about your big news. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for help. Figure out an excuse (feeling under the weather, toddler was up all night, even a sore back) that will allow you to as for some help. No one will be upset at your white lie once you reveal the big news!

Order In

You won’t feel like being on your feet cooking elaborate meals (if you can even keep anything down!). Keep things simple while you’re experiencing pregnancy fatigue.

You are probably worried about your little one’s nutritional needs, but they are relatively tiny during the first trimester. You can catch up on your super healthy eating in the second trimester when your energy returns and baby’s nutritional needs increase.

Now is the time to order dinner in, go through a drive through, or grab some prepackaged meals from the grocery store.

Even better, have your groceries delivered. You can get a free trial for Amazon Fresh and have your groceries delivered! Pro tip: use the free trial during the worst of your pregnancy fatigue (for me, weeks 7-11) and then cancel once you’re feeling back to yourself.

If you’re lucky enough to have your mom or another close friend or relative around, enlist them to bring you some meals.

Another great option is to check if there are any local businesses who prepare homemade meals for sale. These meals are often more nutritious and are fresher than store bought alternatives (and can be cheaper as well!) This is a great way to support a local business (and they are often run by a fellow mom!).

House-Cleaning

First of all, it is time to lower your standards when it comes to a spotless house. Believe me, they will be lowered when your baby arrives, and drop to rock bottom in the toddler years.

Now is not the time to even attempt to maintain a pristine home. Do what you absolutely need to do and nothing else. Ignore those dust bunnies and let clutter accumulate on your dinning room table (you’ll probably be eating take-out laying in bed anyway).

If your partner or husband is around, have them step up and do the dishes and laundry. If you can rely on close friends or relatives for a few favors, now is the time to ask.

If all else fails and you have the means, hire some help. Even a bi-weekly cleaning will make a huge difference and can get you through until fatigue has passed.

Work Adjustments

If you are able, you could consider some flexible hours or work from home if it’s an option. Even taking a few vacation days isn’t a horrible idea right now.

If you’re comfortable sharing your news with your supervisor early in your pregnancy, many supervisors will do what they can to make your day a little easier.

Perhaps there’s a co-worker you can confide in. I had a wonderful colleague who went out of her way to do anything she could for me. I’ll never forget the multiple trips she made up a flight of stairs to the photocopier for months (as teachers, we make A LOT of photocopies in a day!).

Exercise

I will throw this tip in here, but it’s not my favorite. Experts recommend exercise to combat fatigue. It seems counter-intuitive (actually it seems completely insane to anyone who’s actually been pregnant), but exercise is said to help raise energy levels, even during the first trimester.

Personally, I haven’t tested this theory, but I thought I would include it for anyone who feels up to it.

Have Faith!

Know that even though it seems like you will be exhausted forever, no matter what you do, pregnancy fatigue will end and by mid-second trimester, you’ll likely feel back to yourself.

Free Printable Pregnancy Milestone Cards

Pregnancy Fatigue in Second Trimester

Pregnancy fatigue typically lingers for the first part of the second trimester, until the placenta has fully developed around four months.

After that, it should be smooth sailing for a few months! Take this time to enjoy your pregnancy and start planning for your little one.

Pregnancy Fatigue in Late Pregnancy

Fatigue certainly returns in later pregnancy, but for a different reason. It takes a lot more energy for you to move around and do normal daily tasks simply because you’re much bigger than you normally are. On top of this, you probably aren’t sleeping well at night anymore, making things seem worse.

I will say for myself that my fatigue during later pregnancy was altogether different, though still not fun, compared to early pregnancy fatigue. It wasn’t a crushing wave, but more like normal tiredness. I felt a lot better after resting and I wasn’t exhausted by the thought of getting off the couch.

I hope that answers your questions about fatigue in pregnancy! Remember, hang in there and hold out for the second trimester!

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First Trimester Exhaustion

2 Comments

  1. Diana May 10, 2020
    • Cindy May 11, 2020

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