The first three months of a pregnancy can be very trying AND very tiring! It would seem that if you are pregnant, you will either suffer from morning sickness and nausea or you will suffer from exhaustion so you are not going to have a particularly easy time either way. The good news is that by the time you get to your second semester, those first semester symptoms will be all behind you and you can look forward to feeling great and full of energy.
Fatigue and exhaustion
During your first trimester, you body changes and your baby grows so that fatigue becomes a very early symptom of pregnancy. Being pregnant puts a strain on your entire body. When you are pregnant, your body cries out for rest and this fatigue is possibly caused by hormonal changes – in particular a dramatic rise in progesterone – making you feel sleepy and less energetic.
You are building the placenta that feeds and nourishes your baby
Then again, in the third trimester, the strain of carrying all that extra weight starts to take its toll and most women tire before the end of the day. The increased size and weight begins to tax the muscles while difficulty in sleeping can also leave you exhausted.
Once your baby has arrived and especially if it is your first baby, you may well be surprised to find how much your life changes and how the new routine (or sometimes lack of it) can turn your days and nights upside down. So one of the biggest problems for a new mother can also be exhaustion.
Many mothers will be the first to confirm that they can have another bout of exhaustion when their baby reaches the age of about 14 months. This is hardly surprising with a walking, talking toddler on the go for much of the day and having to be watched so carefully.
How to cope with these different and difficult periods in motherhood?
- At all these times reduce your list of activities down to the bare essentials.
- Stock up the fridge with ready made meals for those days when you don’t feel like cooking.
- Turn down social invitations and cut out unnecessary commitments.
- Heed your body’s signals and start going to bed earlier than usual each night.
- Make sure you get a good night’s sleep. This means a restful sleep so you may need extra pillows, darker curtains or perhaps earplugs.
- Take on the more difficult tasks when you have the most energy and leave the easier ones for when you are starting to get tired.
- Give yourself more time to do things and cut down on the multi-tasking for now as you will just get frustrated.
- If anyone offers to help – family or friends – make sure you accept their help. There is always something they can do to assist.
- You might not realize it but your diet is very important at this time as you will need about 300 extra calories per day. Follow a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, full cream organic milk and lean meats. Snack on healthy foods like fruit and yoghurt. Forget about the junk food that will just sap you of energy and make you feel even more tired. Cut back on the caffeine and drink up to 8 glasses of water per day.
- Don’t forget to keep up with some exercise as this will actually make you feel better. Walking and/or swimming are excellent and you will get a better night’s sleep.
- Once your baby has arrived, you have to remember that he or she PLUS you take first priority over every else. Your baby needs to be fed and changed as often as necessary and you need to eat, sleep and shower regularly. That is non negotiable!
If you feel you can’t cope because you are exhausted, then don’t!
Give in and rest.
With a bit of luck, these periods of exhaustion should be temporary – they will pass. Use just a couple of drops of essential oils in your bath water to relax you while you have a good soak. An natural oil massage to your neck, legs and feet, two or three times a day to soothe and relax you will also give you a bit of a lift.
It is sure to help with that exhaustion.