Why Pregnancy Makes You So Tired (and How to Up Your Energy)

Need a nap—stat? We can relate. Find out why you're so tired during pregnancy and what you can do about it.
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Updated June 7, 2017
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You’re so exhausted you can barely keep your head off your desk—sound familiar? It’s super-common to feel fatigued when you’re expecting, especially during early pregnancy. It’s tiring work growing a baby! Here’s why you’re fighting fatigue during pregnancy and how to help keep your energy levels up.

Why Does Pregnancy Make You Tired?

Being tired all the time is pretty normal when you’re expecting—especially during early and late pregnancy, when your hormones are working overtime to make all the changes your body (and baby’s) needs. You might also be having trouble sleeping because you need to get up to pee during the night, or because heartburn or leg cramps (or any other number of fun pregnancy symptoms) are keeping you up. Try to address those problems so you can get some much-needed rest.

In rarer cases, fatigue could be caused by health problems such as anemia, depression, hypothyroidism or toxoplasmosis. If your tiredness sets in suddenly, if it doesn’t get better with rest or if you’re feeling stressed or depressed, you should pay your doctor a visit.

How To Fight Fatigue During Pregnancy

It does seem cruel that most moms-to-be feel the most tired during the first 12 weeks or so—which means until you announce the good news, there’s no milking it for (well-deserved) sympathy. The only real cure for first trimester fatigue is sleeping more…which, to be honest, might not even help. Since you probably can’t take catnaps in your office and still remain employed, simply go to bed earlier, sleep as late as possible and try to make it through the day.

To boost your energy, drink lots of water and eat small, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Go for protein and complex carb combos like whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, a piece of cheese on whole-grain crackers or a couple slices of turkey on whole-wheat bread. And when you feel yourself sinking into a valley, do some stretches and deep-breathing exercises, or go for a brisk walk around the block.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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