Acknowledge the fatigue
You are carrying a child. It is energy-consuming. At the same time, you’re supposed to cope with everyday life. No wonder you’re exhausted. The trick is to not fight it – rest as much and often as you need.
3 min read
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
Up until week 12, you might experience numbing fatigue. Perhaps you suffer from nausea, which in the worst-case scenario, is reinforced by travelling to and from work. At work, you are expected to perform as usual, and your boss and colleagues might not even know that you are pregnant yet. Most people wait until the end of the first trimester to tell the world. It might make it difficult to get good support. Some midwives think this is a good reason to announce the pregnancy at an earlier stage, to get the care and understanding you need when everything is new and the fatigue is overwhelming.
It’s important to understand how crucial sleep is for your overall condition when you are pregnant. Sleep deprivation increases the risk of high blood pressure. When you are well-rested, you’ll be happier and the body will produce endorphins, which makes you feel happy and satisfied. Sleep as often as you can and try to catch up on lost sleep by taking shorter naps throughout the day. Sleeping experts might not recommend this method in general as it could make it more difficult to fall asleep at night, but as a future mother, you won’t have a normal sleeping pattern anyway. Take every chance you get to sleep. An extra pillow under your neck could reduce problems with heartburn and if you place a pillow between your thighs and one under your belly, you might find a more comfortable sleeping position.
Exercise is good for blood circulation, which in turn reduces the risk of sleep deprivation due to restless legs syndrome. Continue to exercise regularly during the pregnancy and keep up with everyday exercise. Eating regularly and moderately will also promote better sleep. Try to eat bananas and walnuts (unless you’re allergic) which contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps the body to create the signal substance serotonin, which promotes sleep.
As the placenta and baby grow, there is less and less space for the lungs. During the last three months, you might experience so-called “air hunger”, a kind of dyspnoea that could also occur during the night. Other sleep disorders could be the need to pee, heartburn, leg cramps, and of course, an active baby kicking and moving around in your belly.
At the end of the pregnancy, your work capacity will probably be significantly reduced but society is not adapted to cater to you when you slow down. The advice is to acknowledge the fatigue, rest up as much as you can and recharge your batteries. Good sleep creates harmony and “positive circles”, so take your sleep seriously.
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
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