Totally exhausted and tired all the time now that you’re pregnant? Find out why and how to feel better.
“When I was pregnant with Sam, I found myself constantly tired and sleepy. I used to be a night owl, but during my last trimester, I would struggle to stay awake for the evening news,” shares Gina Lou, an accountant.
“Oddly enough, after giving birth, I felt so much more energised. While caring for a newborn did zap me out, it was nowhere as terrible as the way I felt while pregnant,” she adds.
What Gina experienced was pregnancy fatigue and this is extremely common amongst pregnant women.There are many causes of pregnancy exhaustion, one of which is the increase in production of the hormone Progesterone.
During pregnancy, your body is also working double time to help you create and support
a brand new life, thus you’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up,
and you’re using up more water and nutrients. And then there’s the flood of emotion
surging through your mind, which can wreck your sleep pattern.
How Do I Stop It?
The sad truth is that pregnancy fatigue is inevitable except for those lucky few who ease through the nine months dewy fresh. For the rest of us, it is not so. But not to worry as there are solutions to reduce your lethargy...
Pregnant women need at least 10 hours of sleep a day! If you find it impossible to get 10 hours of continuous sleep, then take short naps in the middle of the day to make up for waking up in the middle of the night.
Use pillows to support the lower back, knees and tummy. Doctors especially recommend sleeping on the left, with a pillow below the hip, another to support your growing tummy and one more between the knees for maximum support.
Food O’ Clock
Pregnant women require at least 300 extra calories every day, so don’t worry about the added bulk to your diet. Health professionals also suggest eating smaller meals, but at more frequent intervals to keep your blood sugar steady and thus prevent faintness. Deficiency in iron can also result in fatigue, so keep up the supply of iron-rich food in your diet, such as green, leafy vegetables, dried blackcurrants, apricots, or red meats.
Also, increase your supply of food that is high in tryptophan. Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic so your brain isn’t so busy. Some foods that are high in tryptophan are turkey, eggs, banana, dairy products and rice.
Lastly, avoid eating meals close to bedtime, especially if heartburn is a problem.
All Watered Up
Dehydration, even mild dehydration, can result in extreme fatigue. Studies have indicated that the more hydrated a person is, the better is sleep. On average, you require at least 1ml of water for every calorie of food that you eat. Do note that hydration doesn’t just include water, you could also load up on fruits, soups and juices.
Move That Body!
I know it sounds like an oxymoron, but the reality is that you will actually find you have more energy if you get outside for a walk and do some light exercises like swimming or yoga. Aside from reducing fatigue, exercising during this time has other health benefits, including: Reduced risk of gallstones, which is a fairly common problem for many pregnant women. Reduced risk of preterm birth. The risk of preterm birth, has been found to be reduced in women who engage in vigorous activity such as jogging or bicycling.
If exercise is really not your thing, then at least make
sure you do some deep breathing and stretching.
Don’t hesitate to ask for help with work, or chores around the house. This is the time to treat hubby dearest as Cinderella! If that’s not possible, consider hiring a part-time maid. Part-time maids here in Singapore charge between $10-15 an hour.
If you are still at work, be sure to keep your weekends off to relax and refresh yourself so that the strain of work doesn’t put added pressure on you.
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