Why am I so tired now that I’m pregnant?
It’s completely normal to feel tired during pregnancy. Your body is working extremely hard to develop and grow your baby.
Weariness and exhaustion are very common in pregnancy, especially in the first few months, as your body is adjusting to rapidly changing hormone levels.
In the second trimester you may feel less tired, though if you’re working or have a busy family life, you’ll have a lot on your plate and will feel tired as a result.
As you approach your due date, the tiredness will probably return, because your increased weight places extra strain on your body. This may mean you’re not sleeping well at night.
How can I prevent and reduce tiredness?
If you are tired, rest when you can. If you are at home with small children, try to rest with your feet up while they have a nap during the day.
Healthy eating will help you to combat tiredness, though this may not be easy if you have pregnancy sickness. Each meal should include plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy wholegrains, as well as some lean protein and low-fat dairy. This will provide your body with the nutrients that you and your baby need.
Drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated. Not taking in enough fluid can add to your tiredness and cause headaches.
Keep your blood sugar at a reasonably constant level to avoid hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), which may make you feel drained. Eat small meals frequently and try not to skip any meals, especially breakfast. Keep a snack with you when you start to feel tired, such as a banana or some savoury crackers.
Eat foods which are high in iron to prevent anaemia. Being short of iron will make you even more tired than you are already feeling. Dark green vegetables, a small amount of red meat, blackcurrants and dried apricots are good sources of iron.
At work, move away from your desk at lunchtime, have something to eat and drink and get some fresh air. If your job allows you some flexibility, consider working from home for one day a week, or suggest a change in hours so you can do your job when you’re most alert.
Ask for help from your family with any housework, and don’t worry about non-essential cleaning. You could motivate older children by giving them small rewards for emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming or taking the dog for a walk.
Getting fresh air and exercise during the day will relieve fatigue. Yoga or relaxation exercises can help, or have a stroll in the garden or in your local park. You could also attend gentle exercise classes such as pilates, qigong or tai chi.
Tai chi in particular may reduce lower back pain. And if you have fewer aches and pains, you’ll feel less tired.
Enjoy a relaxing bath with a maximum of three drops of aromatherapy essential oils such as lavender, grapefruit or bergamot. Lavender oil is safe in the first trimester if you use no more than three drops at a time, but don’t use it every night.
Which complementary therapies are worth trying?
Many complementary therapies promote relaxation, especially when taken as a course of treatments with a qualified, registered practitioner.
Massage, aromatherapy, reflexology and shiatsu are good options. Acupuncture stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, which will help to address excessive tiredness.
If you are very stressed or have particular emotional issues, hypnotherapy may be worth considering.