Fatigue in pregnancy - causes & help
Maybe you know it: You just found out about your pregnancy, you may have already received the first ultrasound image and you could burst with joy. But despite all the joy you feel tired and listless. The pregnancy has only just begun and you need a lot of energy for the coming months. Or you are already perfectly round and notice that the advanced stage of pregnancy is making you tired.
Surely you are already planning the furnishing of the children’s room and want to shop diligently for baby clothes. Registration at the midwife maybe it’s already out and the next appointment with your woman doctor isn’t far away either. So many things are on your mind and you have endless errands to run.
In reality, however, you suddenly lack the strength to do all these things and you already feel “constantly tired” from being pregnant. Tiredness during pregnancy is not uncommon and will accompany you until the birth. But don’t worry, the reasons for this are completely plausible and you are not alone with your tiredness! Because like you, many other pregnant women feel the same way. In our Keleya Pregnancy App , Fatigue is the Most Tracked Symptom Ever!
In the following article we will explain the causes of tiredness during pregnancy and what remedies you can use to fight it.
Why are you tired in early pregnancy or early pregnancy?
Especially in the first trimester or early pregnancy fatigue is not uncommon! Although your stomach is not yet clearly visible, the tiny being inside you is already “robbing” all your strength. Or rather, all physical changes and hormonal changes require a lot of energy, because your body performs at its best during the nine months of pregnancy! Especially in the first three months your body has to get used to the new processes and you will quickly feel weak and tired.
In the first trimester, the entire supply system for your baby is created: the placenta grows, the uterus expands and the amniotic fluid is formed. Your little treasure also grows at an enormous speed and needs numerous nutrients for its development. To ensure this supply, your heart pumps blood through the body much faster and you breathe more often to be able to absorb more oxygen.
Of course, this increased performance requires more energy than before, which is extracted from the food and made available to the body through various metabolic processes. A complex process that drives all your body cells energetically and tires you out faster. The result is the well-known tiredness of early pregnancy.
During this time, all hormonal changes in your body will take place. A lot of additional energy is also required for the formation of these hormones, which drains your body. The switch can also cause nausea and vomiting, which can make it difficult to get the most nutrients from food.
If the body is no longer fed enough food, it has less energy available and you feel particularly weak and tired. Because your body is now attacking its own energy reserves and saving them elsewhere.
What to do if you are tired?
If you are pregnant and weak and tired, it can cost you quite a lot of nerves. You are less efficient and even everyday things or your work take more energy than usual. If the tiredness persists for a longer period of time, you should definitely shift down a gear and discuss this with your doctor or midwife. Because the tiredness of early pregnancy in particular poses only minor health risks for you or your baby, but it is a clear sign that your body is lacking the necessary energy.
If you also suffer from nausea and vomiting, you should rely on a nutrient-rich diet and also consider dietary supplements. The latter are specially designed for expectant mothers and provide you with numerous vitamins and minerals. Because at this early stage of pregnancy, the energy supply is particularly important and the actual weight loss is still limited.
Iron deficiency: a common reason for fatigue in pregnancy
Iron deficiency is also a common reason for fatigue during pregnancy. Because the need for iron increases with the beginning of pregnancy and usually cannot be covered by food alone. As a result, many pregnant women absorb much less iron than they and their unborn baby would actually need. Women who eat vegetarian or even vegan food should pay particular attention to their iron levels and supplement if necessary. Significant symptoms of iron deficiency are tiredness, palpitations, paleness, nervousness, cracked corners of the mouth and brittle nails.
Whether your pregnancy really has an iron deficiency is found out during the gynecological check-ups using blood tests. If the value is below the optimal 11 g per deciliter of blood, you are recommended to consume iron-rich foods or iron supplements. The latter are particularly beneficial if you suffer from nausea and vomiting and are therefore unable to take in enough food or cannot tolerate certain foods. The preparations provide you and your baby with sufficient iron and as soon as the depots are replenished, the symptoms and tiredness disappear.
But not only when you suffer from tiredness is the intake of iron during pregnancy very important. Even independently of this, your body needs this important mineral. This is also made available to your baby and deposits are made for the time after the birth. It can then draw on these for up to half a year.
Therefore, always make sure you have a balanced diet and fill your diet with the following iron-rich foods:
- Oatmeal and wheat bran
- flaxseed and quinoa
- Spinach, beetroot, kale, zucchini
- Red meat (well done!)
For suitable iron-rich recipes during pregnancy, you can simply download the Keleya pregnancy app. We have provided a nutrition coach for you there.
For better absorption of iron in the body, you should drink a glass of juice before or after eating an iron-rich meal so that the vitamin C contained here binds the iron and transports it further.
What can you do if you feel weak and tired during pregnancy? - Five tips
In addition to a balanced diet and an optimal iron supply, you can of course do even more to counteract fatigue during pregnancy. No matter in which trimester the fatigue occurs, it is advisable to do the following Five helpful tips to keep in mind:
1) Build more movement into your everyday life!
2) Get some fresh air regularly!
If you are pregnant, listless and tired, then you should definitely make sure that you regularly spend time in the fresh air. The higher oxygen content of the air in nature provides your cells with new energy and reduces tiredness. Combine this with some exercise and go for a short walk every day! Ventilate your living space several times a day so that you can also benefit from the fresh air here.
3) Rest a lot and get enough sleep!
Sleeping at night is particularly important during pregnancy, as this is where you replenish your energy reserves for the day. In addition, numerous metabolic processes take place during this time, which are crucial for the development of your unborn child. Try to get at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, and rest as much as possible during the day as well. Small breaks are worth their weight in gold. How about a regular afternoon nap, especially if you can’t sleep that well at night? We know that it’s not always easy to get a good night’s sleep during pregnancy, especially because so much changes. For a better sleep we have in this article “Slow Living in Pregnancy” compiled helpful tips.
4) Drink enough liquid every day!
In addition to nutrition, drinking is also very important for you and your child. Since your blood volume increases during pregnancy, you must first supply sufficient liquid. The formation of amniotic fluid also depends on the amount you drink. At the same time, the liquid supplied serves as a means of transport for various nutrients and vitamins, which ensure the energy supply.
Regular and, above all, sufficient drinking also prevents the development of tiredness, headaches and, later in pregnancy, even water retention and constipation. We recommend a daily intake of at least two liters per day, in the form of water, unsweetened tea or occasionally diluted fruit juices.
5) Do contrast showers regularly.
Contrast showers are also an effective way to combat fatigue during pregnancy. The blood circulation is stimulated by the temperature change and the oxygen is transported faster into the cells, i.e. there where they are so urgently needed. As a result, you don’t get tired as quickly and you don’t feel so tired anymore. At the same time you prevent water accumulation in the legs. Two to three gentle contrast showers a week are recommended.
When does fatigue particularly occur during pregnancy?
Fatigue is common in the first trimester (and last trimester, right?) as hormonal changes result in higher energy expenditure. In general, however, you can feel weak and tired at any time during your pregnancy. Tiredness often goes away at first and then suddenly returns after a few days. This can also be related in combination with weather changes or the colder, darker seasons, when we generally feel more tired than in summer.
Where does the tiredness in pregnancy come from?
Especially in the last trimester of pregnancy, i.e. in the last few weeks before the birth, you will often feel weak and tired. This has less to do with the hormonal changes and more to do with the growing belly and the activity of your child in the belly. The increasing weight of the abdomen often causes back pain, which puts additional strain on you.
In addition, the child presses on the bladder, which is why you have to go to the toilet more often. At night, this situation often deprives you of sleep, which also causes fatigue. Or you have a very active child who kicks around wildly at night and also hardly lets you sleep. Sometimes your thoughts go haywire because you’re excited about the time of the birth, but maybe also a little anxious.
What to do against severe tiredness during pregnancy?
No matter in which trimester the fatigue occurs, as soon as it becomes too severe and hinders you in your everyday life, you should definitely see a doctor. Although fatigue is rarely an indication of a serious illness, you should still have all eventualities clarified. Of course, this requires a thorough investigation.
Can I still drink coffee (caffeine) during pregnancy?
Maybe you are one of those people who need a cup of coffee or black/green tea to start the day off right. Some also drink a caffeinated beverage during the day to stay alert and fit. However, as is well known, caffeine is not entirely harmless during pregnancy, as it can enter the child’s bloodstream via the umbilical cord. So you might be wondering how much of your favorite hot drink you can still drink every day.
In general, pregnant women should not consume more than 200 to 300 mg of caffeine per day. However, this value does not only refer to the caffeine in coffee, but to all caffeinated beverages.
In addition to black and green tea, these include cocoa, cola and energy drinks. The following guidelines apply:
- 200 ml of coffee contains 90 mg of caffeine
- 200 ml latte macchiato contains 80 mg caffeine
- 200 ml of black tea contains 45 mg of caffeine
- 250 ml of cola contains 25 mg of caffeine
- 200 ml of cocoa contains 8 to 35 mg of caffeine
- 250 ml energy drink contains 80 mg caffeine
Please pay attention to these values when drinking coffee and co and do not exceed the maximum daily amount of 300 mg caffeine! You can find out more about caffeine/coffee during pregnancy in our article “Is coffee allowed during pregnancy?”.
Constant fatigue - when should you seek help
Being tired all the time and pregnant can be very stressful. If the condition persists, you should definitely seek help! Especially if your tiredness is associated with a feeling of inner emptiness, exhaustion, sadness, and lack of interest. Because these can all be signs of prenatal depression and are triggered, among other things, by hormonal changes.
Although the disease does not occur that often, it should not be underestimated! To prevent this from happening in the first place, take good care of yourself and your baby, eat a balanced diet, stay active, avoid stress and rest as much as possible.