Because of the extra physiological and physical demands on the body, fatigue is common in pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimesters. Boost your energy during pregnancy by paying attention to your body's additional nutrientional and energy needs and take time to rest and relax.
Your main source of energy comes from what you eat. Boost and maintain your energy level throughout your pregnancy by eating a balanced diet every day. According to the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, you need extra "dietary energy" to support your higher metabolism and increased energy stores.
Healthy nutrition that includes the following will supply the additional amount of energy and essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you and your baby need:
- A variety of nutrient-rich, energy-supplying complex carbs, such as fresh fruits, carrots, sweet potato, mushrooms, legumes, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, whole grains and unsalted nuts and seeds
- Lean protein, such as fish and skinless poultry, which will help you maintain your muscle mass, strength, and stamina so you feel less fatigued
Include healthy fats as an additional source of energy and nutrients, such as soybean and flaxseed oils and omega-3 fatty acids. In addition, eat enough calories to meet normal weight gain recommendations so you don't deplete your energy stores.
Maintain Normal Blood Sugar
Help keep your energy up by preventing energy crashes from low blood sugar with the following suggestions:
- Eat six small meals rather than three large ones.
- Include a protein with your carbs at each meal for slower absorption of sugar from your gut to prevent blood sugar highs and lows.
Avoid simple sugars such as candy, sweetened drinks, and soda, which might give you an initial energy boost but a low energy crash later.
Have a Healthy Snack
If you are feeling fatigued between meals, have a healthy snack of a complex, unrefined carbs plus some protein to boost your energy. Examples of easy snacks include:
- A tablespoon of peanut butter with a small banana or apple
- A cup of Greek yogurt with two or three tablespoons of granola
- A handful of sunflower seeds or walnuts
- Some carrot sticks or other vegetables with cottage cheese or yogurt
- A leftover chicken leg or some shrimp with crackers
- A small spinach and egg salad
Drinking enough fluids to keep hydrated can help you feel less tired during pregnancy. Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure and make you feel light-headed, listless and fatigued. Drink at least eight glasses of water or unsweetened drinks each day.
You need more fluids to meet the increased metabolism and blood volume that occurs with pregnancy and to maintain your blood pressure. If your urine is clear, you are likely drinking enough.
Although you might not feel like moving, according to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise can boost and help maintain your energy level during pregnancy. Physical activity increases blood flow and oxygen to your brain and muscles and helps you feel more energetic. Through its effect on your endorphins, exercise will also improve your sense of well-being, which will have a positive effect on your energy level.
You might find that just taking a walk can boost your energy if you are feeling low. An ongoing pregnancy workout plan will help you feel more energetic and can include:
- Aerobics to maintain your stamina and fitness
- Weight training to maintain muscle mass and strength
- Flexibility exercises to reduce muscle tightness
Be sure to check with your doctor for his recommendations on exercise during pregnancy.
Sleep and Rest
Adequate sleep and rest will help your body recuperate and boost your energy each day. Try to get at least eight to nine hours of sleep. Lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can drain you of energy, and your fatigue can worsen with each day you don't get enough sleep.
As your belly grows in the second and third trimester, a pregnancy pillow can add comfort and support so you can get a better quality sleep. In addition, rest or take a nap during the day if you feel you need to recuperate your energy level.
Take a Break and Reduce Stress
Physical and mental stress from the demands of pregnancy and your responsibilities can drain you of energy. Take a mental break, relax, and reduce your stress if you are feeing tired and need an energy boost. A mental boost will give you a physical energy boost.
Relaxation techniques such as meditation, passive muscle relaxation, or stretching exercises (including yoga) for at least 15 minutes a day can reduce stress, improve your well-being, and help you recoup your energy.
Plan and Reorganize
Boost your energy during pregnancy by planning and re-organizing your schedule and your life if necessary. This can reduce physical and mental expenditures that might be taking a toll and help you conserve your energy
Make any changes that you can if you find fatigue prevents you from maintaining your usual schedule and tasks, especially during the third trimester. This may include taking an energy break from housework and asking others for help when you need a break.
Screening and Treatment of Disorders
Adequate treatment of anemia and hormonal deficiencies that are common during pregnancy and cause fatigue will boost your energy. These include:
- Iron deficiency anemia: The most common cause of anemia in pregnancy, iron deficiency can make you feel week and tired because of its effect on red blood cell production, according to the Mayo Clinic.
- Vitamin B deficiency: According to Harvard Medical School, the B vitamins help to convert food into energy and help to make red blood cells. Vitamin B 12 deficiency, for example, can cause anemia and low energy in pregnancy and is more common if you are on a vegetarian diet.
- Hypothyroidism: Low levels of thyroid hormone cause hypothyroidism, one of the thyroid diseases that may go undiagnosed in pregnancy.
Be sure that you are screened for anemia and thyroid disease at your first prenatal visit. Take your prescribed iron and vitamins or other treatment as recommended.
Consult with your doctor or midwife for further evaluation if you continue to have low energy despite the recommended energy-boosting remedies, or after treatment of vitamin or hormonal deficiencies.