Fatigue is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. In fact, this particular problem plagues over 50% of expectant people. After all, a birthing person's body does have to work incredibly hard to grow a new life. Therefore, it stands it reason that energy levels might be lower than they normally are.
For many Americans, the solution to a sleepy afternoon is a cup of coffee or an energy drink. However, caffeinated beverages such as these are really not the best fix, especially for those with a baby on board.
These drinks do give a burst of energy in the short term, but will soon leave a person feeling more tired than before. What’s more, caffeine is a stimulant which raises the blood pressure and heart rate, something that is not recommended during pregnancy. Studies on the effects of caffeine on pregnant women and their unborn babies have been largely inconclusive. However, because it is best to play it safe, it is recommended that a pregnant woman consume no more than one cup of coffee per day.
So how is an expectant mama supposed to fight the afternoon slump? Not to worry! There are plenty of other ways to keep energy levels high without resorting to caffeine or sugar.
While exercise will require a person to use some energy, it is also a great way to get blood pumping and help one to feel more alert and alive. This is especially true for pregnant people who may find themselves doing more sitting than usual during their pregnancy. Therefore, as long as the woman's care provider deems the exercise in question a safe choice, all pregnant people should attempt to get in some physical activity every day.
There are many types of exercise that are safe and beneficial during pregnancy. Some of our favorites are listed below:
Walking — Walking is a low-impact exercise that almost anyone can pick up, no matter their fitness level. This makes it ideal for those looking to begin exercising after discovering they are pregnant.
Swimming — Many expectant mothers find they feel most comfortable moving in water. Therefore, swimming and water aerobics both tend to be popular exercise choices for pregnant women.
Yoga — Some yoga classes are geared specifically to pregnant women. By enrolling in one of these courses—or using an at-home pregnancy yoga course—a woman can strengthen her body for the birth of her little one while avoiding the few yoga poses that are deemed unsafe for expectant mamas.
Obviously, sleepiness is a pretty good sign a person needs to sleep more. Unfortunately, busy lives, stimulating phone and computer screens, and poor dietary choices lead many Americans to skip much-needed sleep on a regular basis.
However, because sleep is so important during pregnancy, this is a habit all expectant people should break. Getting enough sleep will increase the pregnant mother’s energy levels and ability to function throughout the day.
This extra sleep can be found in a variety of ways:
Go to bed early — By going to bed a couple hours earlier, a mom-to-be can awake feeling rested and ready to take on the day.
Take naps — If possible, pregnant person should attempt to take a nap in the middle of each day. This will allow her to avoid the typical afternoon slump and make it through dinner with a good amount of energy.
Limit evening fluids — Although it is important to drink plenty of water throughout the day, some people might find it best to limit fluids later in the evening. This will allow them to sleep through the night without waking as often to use the restroom.
Create a bedtime routine — If an expectant person finds it difficult to get to sleep at an earlier bedtime, they may find it useful to set a bedtime routine in order to prepare their body for sleep each night. This routine could include a warm bath, a cup of bedtime tea, a bit of light reading, and a candle with a soothing scent.
It should not include screen time, as bright screens tend to keep our bodies awake.
Diet plays a huge role in a person’s energy levels. By eating the right kinds of foods, one can easily increase the level of energy they have on a day-to-day basis. This information can be incredibly beneficial to a mother-to-be who just can’t find the energy to make it through the day.
Iron — Most pregnant women are mildly anemic, and in turn they feel run-down and tired. This can be remedied fairly easily by upping the amount of iron the woman is ingesting on a daily basis. Eating iron-rich foods such as spinach, red meat, legumes, and pumpkin seeds, plus taking a prenatal vitamin with iron, can help fight the drowsy feeling anemia brings on.
Protein — Protein is nature’s energy booster. However, unlike energy drinks and caffeinated beverages, protein provides long-lasting energy. More protein can be consumed by eating foods like nuts, legumes, eggs, cheese, and meat.
Snacking — Because pregnant women require an increased number of calories, and because digesting large meals can be difficult, snacking throughout the day is a great way for expectant mamas to ensure they are getting the calories and nutrients they need. This will help keep energy levels up as well, especially if the snacks include complex carbohydrates and protein.
Water — Among other things, dehydration will cause energy levels to plummet. Unfortunately, becoming dehydrated during pregnancy is a very easy thing to do. Therefore, it is recommended that all moms-to-be carry a water bottle at all times and sip on it throughout the day. This will help her drink the 10 (or more) cups of water she needs each day.
By using these tips and tricks, we are confident a new mother-to-be can increase her energy levels and therefore better enjoy her pregnancy, without exclusively depending on that cup of coffee.
*If you are feeling so tired that you have a hard time functioning during normal activities mention this to your care provider.