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Daily Naps and Other Ways to Cope With Pregnancy Fatigue

Baby isn't even here yet, and already you're exhausted. It's hard to drag your big weary body out of bed each morning. By dinnertime, all you want to do is plop back down and climb underneath the covers.

Fatigue was one of the first signs of your pregnancy. And it can keep nagging you throughout most of the nine months until you deliver.

Why Am I So Tired?

During your first trimester, fatigue is at least partly due to changing levels of pregnancy hormones. You'll perk back up in your second trimester, but that renewed energy likely won't last long.

By the last three months of your pregnancy, you may be wiped out again. The extra stress on your body can wear you out. Plus, with your belly weighing you down in bed and your baby pressing on your bladder all night, you may struggle to get a full night's sleep.

Sometimes fatigue during pregnancy can be a sign of a medical problem, such as:

  • Anemia
  • Infection
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)
  • Depression

If fatigue is just one of several new symptoms you're experiencing, see your doctor. You may feel more energetic once you get treated for any condition that's sapping your energy.

How to Beat Pregnancy Fatigue

During your pregnancy you need to be well rested. In just a few months, you'll be on call 24/7, and a full night's sleep will seem like a luxury.

To get as much sleep as possible right now, follow these restful suggestions:

  • Take naps. Most pregnant women can't make it through the night without full bladders or other pregnancy discomforts waking them up. Make up for the sleep you're losing at night by catching a short nap or two during the day.
  • Get help. Ask for help at home so you don't get so rundown and you'll have time for a daily nap or two. Get a family member to clean your house, or hire a housekeeper. Let your partner run errands for you.
  • Change your sleep posture. Shift from sleeping on your front or back to your left side. You'll feel more comfortable, and you'll take pressure off the blood vessels that nourish your baby. Tuck a pillow in between your legs or underneath you to support your sore back.
  • Exercise. Even though you might not feel up to it, exercising can actually help beat fatigue. Getting in a daily walk or swim can also help you sleep more soundly.
  • Relax. Practice deep breathing, take a warm bath, or ask your partner to give you a massage to help you wind down before bed.

Don't stop your pregnancy sleep routine once your baby is born. Use these same tips to help you through the first few months of motherhood. Continue to get the help -- and the rest -- you need, so you can keep up with your growing baby.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Maxine Dorin, MD on May 24, 2012

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