Monday, April 2, 2012

Top 10 Tips for Dealing with Fatigue in Pregnancy

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little BlessingsWhen I was pregnant with our first child, I taught and went to school full-time. Fatigue was easily remedied though because I had the luxury of napping whenever I wanted. With child #2, I was at home but taking care of a toddler. However, I made time to sleep during my daughter's nap time. Now that I am caring for two active little girls ages 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, with our third baby expected to arrive within the next five to six weeks, I have really found myself struggling to stay vertical, especially in the afternoon hours.

Here are my top 10 tips for dealing with pregnancy-related fatigue:

1. Get some rest. Obviously, if you're tired you need to take a break. That is easier said than done, though, if you work or have children to take care of. However, if you have a designated nap/rest time, take advantage of it! Drop the housework and get horizontal. I always rest when my girls nap: sometimes I sleep, other times I fix some hot tea, put my legs up, and read. Or, if a friend offers to take your kids for the afternoon, graciously accept and use that time to rest. 

2. Make sure you're eating. Sometimes in an effort to get my girls fed, I neglect to feed myself. Then, when I turn into Miss Crabby-Pants, I realize I haven't eaten in hours. Don't just grab a candy bar or something loaded with sugar or caffeine. Sure you'll get a quick pick-me-up but only temporarily, and then you will be in worse shape than before. Carefully consider if what you're eating will boost or ultimately diminish your energy level.

3. Drink to thirst. Often the number one reason for fatigue is dehydration or lack of water. Dehydration can lead to over 20% reduction of energy output as well as cause headaches, so make sure you're drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day. I fill up a water bottle to drink from while I'm away from home. If water bores you like it does me, then add some citrus slices. I love lime or orange in my water while some women I know enjoy cucumber in their water. Whatever motivates you to drink more water, do it!

 4. Exercise (a little). While moving my body is the last thing I want to do when I'm tired, often just getting up and stretching, doing some pregnancy exercises, or taking a short walk with the kids will give me a burst of energy that will allay my fatigue. I speak from experience when I say that lying around all day will only increase your feelings of tiredness. So get up and move even if just a little.

5. Get up late and/or go to bed early. If you have the luxury, sleep in! However, if you have children who wake up before the sun rises, then make every effort to head to bed an hour or two earlier than usual to get more sleep. Some nights I am so exhausted that I go to bed just after our oldest falls asleep around 8:30. Those nights I get 9-10 hours of rest and feel much better in the mornings. Resist the urge to stay up late even if you're just lying on the couch watching TV, and instead go to sleep. 

6. Eat iron-rich foods. Foods like spinach, dark leafy greens, dried fruit, cooked dried beans, soy products, and lean red meats are high in iron, which play a major role in red blood cell formation. Iron-rich foods will also help pump up your energy level. If you find yourself craving red meat, then trust your body and indulge in moderation. I have been trying to eat a serving or two each of spinach and beans daily to help reduce fatigue and can really tell a difference. 

7. Plan your days around your energy level. For me, my energy level is at its highest in the mornings, so I take advantage of it by doing housework, running errands, playing outside, and doing "school" then. After lunch, my energy level plummets, and mere thoughts of going outside or cleaning wipe me out. However, there are the boisterous kids to consider. That is when I drag out the art boxes, have read-aloud time, or put in a video so Mama can rest. 

8. Stop stressing! When you're feeling fatigued, the last thing you want to do is expend energy cooking or cleaning. Although those household duties must be done, don't worry if your house doesn't pass "the white glove test." If someone offers to help, let them! A clean house and home-cooked meals will resume in due time.

9. Eat a high-protein diet. Protein is the building block of the body, essential for healthy bones, and vital to preventing fatigue. Healthy sources of protein include eggs, beans, chicken, fish, nuts, cheese, and milk. With my first pregnancy, I tracked my daily protein consumption, making sure to eat between 80-100 grams per day. I haven't been so disciplined since then, but I do try to center meals and snacks around one or two healthy proteins. For instance, I usually eat 2 eggs at breakfast, a bean & cheese quesadilla or tuna or salmon salad at lunch, peanut butter on whole wheat bread or yogurt and granola for snack, and a variety of proteins for supper. 

10. See your doctor or midwife. If you find that you have extreme fatigue even after improving your diet and getting plenty of rest, then consult your doctor or midwife. She or he may run tests to check for anemia. 

Praying God's richest blessings on you as you continue to grow in His glory!

For comments or questions, contact me at:

Find Growing in His Glory on Facebook.

I would love to see more of you!  If you are encouraged by what you read here and would like to have posts from Growing in His Glory delivered to your inbox daily, simply click here.  Or you can subscribe in a reader of your choice in the right sidebar.

This post is linked to:

1 comment:

  1. Water I think was the most important thing to remember when being pregnant...especially for me being due in August. I still have to remember to drink enough of it because of nursing :)