Fatigue is common and should be expected during pregnancy, especially in the first and third trimesters. Causes range from increased body metabolism to support the new, precious life growing within you to lack of sleep due to the many discomforts that accompany pregnancy.
However, though fatigue is a natural pregnancy symptom, it is quite possible to boost your energy level so you don’t end up falling far behind on your responsibilities during your exciting journey to motherhood. Here’s how:
1. Move Your Body – Exercising is probably the last thing ‘tired you’ wants to do during pregnancy. However, you will be surprised at the good it does in rejuvenating you as it keeps your muscles, heart and lungs healthy and ensures the much coveted energy gets to your brain and other organs.
Exercising doesn’t have to be anything complex. You could simply make a routine out of walking on a tread mill, dancing or taking a walk during lunch breaks. Try as much as you can to be active.
2. Get into Bed – To maintain your energy, you need sufficient and proper night rests which should last at least 8-9 hours daily. However, this may be hard considering your nights are likely to be filled with a mix of frequent toilet trips, cramps, constipation, heartburns, etc., which could interfere with your sleep. Hence, to catch up on lost hours of night sleep, be sure to seize any opportunity you have to nap during the day.
If you notice your day was filled with a lot of energy lows, endeavour going to bed about an hour earlier that night. Also, if you are victim of leg cramps which keep getting you up at night, speak to your doctor about taking some calcium supplements which will help prevent cramps and hence enable you sleep better. Note that whatever you do, you should not resort to taking sleeping pills.
3. Eat Right – Foods rich in iron will reduce your risk of iron deficiency anaemia which causes fatigue. Foods rich in Vitamin C will help your body absorb the ‘all important’ iron while carbohydrates will release sugar into your blood slowly, making you feel more energized for longer throughout the day. So, make sure you eat well balanced meals which contain the right mix of needed nutrients and minerals.
4. Say NO to caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant which can be found in the likes of coffee and chocolate. It can stay in your system for really long hours, interfering with your sleep.
5. Drink, Drink, Drink – Dehydration causes fatigue. So, every day, drink at least 8 glasses of water and other healthy liquids to retain your stamina and energy.
6. Snack Smart – A pregnant woman is a hungry woman. So, in between meals, don’t go for sugar treats which will give you momentary energy. Instead, eat healthy snacks like dried fruit, wholegrain toasts, which give the right kind of energy boost that your body requires.
7. Turn up the Music – Pregnancy should not make you forget the amazing power of music to stimulate the mind and excite the body, leaving you refreshed. So, turn on the radio or some music and feel refreshed.
8. Smell the Mint – Funny but true, the scent of mint can assist in lowering your level of fatigue. Mints come in different forms such as in toothpaste, sweets, gum, shower gels, etc. So, when your energy is on the low, interact more with any of these mint products.
9. A Breath of Fresh Air – Stuffy air and artificial lighting have a way of adding to fatigue. So, don’t let your head be stuck indoors all day. Open up the windows and take in a breath of fresh air. Better still; create time for outdoor activities daily.
10. What’s for Dinner? – Dinner could sometimes come at an ‘expensive price’ to your body. However, since dinner for a pregnant woman is difficult to avoid, don’t attempt skipping it. Instead, settle for a small dinner. This is because large portions at night will make you drowsy but uncomfortably full (which may cause heartburn), thus interfering with quality sleep. Also, to cut down on your bathroom visits over the night, avoid drinking fluids at least 90 minutes before bedtime. However, if you must drink, let it be a very small quantity.
11. Go Green – Plants are known to improve the quality of air breathed in. This in turn has been shown to minimize fatigue and increase alertness. So, find a way to surround yourself with plants. In your home, you can get plants which are easy to maintain. The ones with dark green leaves are said to give the best boost.
12. Draw the Line – Finally, stop doing ‘stuffs’ which compromise the little energy pregnancy affords you. Just as you work hard at boosting your energy, also work hard at conserving it through smart living that involves prioritizing your responsibilities and knowing when to say no to commitments.
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