Ask any pregnant woman who is in her first or third trimester how they are feeling and the answer will almost always be “tired”. One of the first clues that many women have that they may be expecting a visit from the stork is the fact that they find themselves droopy-eyed in the middle of the day for no reason.
You may find that doing a simple task as walking around the block leaves you desperate for an afternoon nap. The energy you used to have is now faced with the challenge of growing a baby and your body is hard at work. You are also producing more blood, using more water and nutrients, and have a higher heart rate and metabolism when you are pregnant. While the best defense against the tiredness you will face is to get more sleep. There are also some healthy food choices you can make that will help you get through your day if you do not have the opportunities to take naps.
First, adjust the size of your meals. Anyone who eats a large meal is going to feel tired afterward regardless of if they are pregnant or not. Being pregnant is going to make the effect of a big meal that much worse. Most of your energy is going to be used towards digesting the meal so of course, you will feel sluggish and drained. Eat smaller meals and eat more often. Eating six small meals a day will help you combat fatigue.
Eating a good breakfast is the best way to start your day. You are refueling your body after a long foodless night with a good breakfast. A good breakfast is not a cup of coffee and a piece of toast. You want to stick to complex carbs and protein. Whole-grain cereal and a banana for example. These foods will stay with you and keep your blood sugar and energy level up for quite a while.
Do not skip lunch. There are many people who skip lunch thinking they will make up for it by having a big dinner. This is bad when you are not pregnant, but it’s even worse when you are pregnant. You need that midday meal to help refuel your body. As with your breakfast, you should keep it filled with whole grains and protein. Have a whole-grain pita and stuff it with chicken salad and add a side of grapes or an apple.
Plan to eat most of your calories during the day. A pregnant woman needs an extra 300 calories a day throughout their second and third trimester. In the first trimester, those are not needed yet. You should eat these extra calories throughout the day in the form of healthy snacks such as nuts, cheese, veggies, and dip. Do not save your biggest meal until the end of the day. Your body needs these calories to help you get through your day. Steer clear of the quick sugar fixes like candy and soda. In the end, these will only make you more tired.
Lastly, make sure you are getting enough iron. Eat iron-fortified food such as spinach and lean red meat to keep your energy up. There are times when extreme fatigue could be the symptom of an iron deficiency, and you might need an iron supplement also.
Besides eating well, make sure you get plenty of rest even if this means pushing your bedtime up and giving up those late-night TV talk shows. As any parents of newborns will tell you, get your rest while you still can.