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Insider’s Tips for Pregnancy Fatigue

by Christine Sterling, M.D., FACOG

Do you ever feel like the life is being sucked out of you in pregnancy, or is it just me?!
Do you ever wonder how something so small can require so much of your energy?
Momma, you aren’t alone. Pregnancy fatigue— it’s no joke, and it can leave you feeling frustrated and even a little depressed. 
I’m glad you are here. First, let’s list some of the causes. 
  • A normal, healthy pregnancy: Debilitating fatigue doesn’t always mean something is wrong. You can have a perfectly “healthy” pregnancy and still feel like crap. Why? Even in the beginning when your peanut, is, well— the size of a peanut, it is growing very quickly and that rate of growth can leave you feeling run down.
  • Not enough sleep
  • Anemia or not enough iron in your body
  • An issue with your thyroid
  • About 1,000 other potential causes
So how on earth are you supposed to know if you have a normal, healthy dose of pregnancy fatigue or if you have something serious going on???
You aren’t. You would have to have gone to a lot of school and taken care of many pregnant women to have that ability. You can google all day long girl, but you will not find the answer. Talk to your doctor or midwife. Let them put their half-a-mil of student debt to good use!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about what you can do to navigate pregnancy fatigue once your doctor/midwife ensures you are okay.

Prioritize and Optimize sleep

Sleep can be tough in pregnancy. We have to pee every 5 seconds. Our backs hurt. We wake up at 2am for no reason and then we are wide awake until 4. It’s not fair! So what do we do?
Complain!
Just kidding (though feel free to do that too)...
We make sleep a priority. We go to bed early. Don’t try to squeak in 7 hrs when you know you are going to be up for 2 of them. Go to bed at a time that allows you to get 8 hrs of sleep, even if that means you are giving yourself 10 hrs for sleep. Because I know that prioritizing sleep, when there are so many things to do, so much Netflix to watch, can be a big challenge I want to share my Pregnant Momma Sleep Guide with you. It includes little know pregnancy sleep tips, recommended sleep products, and a bedtime ritual for bonding with baby. Sound good? Grab the PDF here.

 

Let go of guilt

If you are like me, you are used to powering through lack of sleep and sickness to get sh!t done. But pregnancy fatigue is different. You can't power through. Instead of beating yourself up about this fact of life, we need to adjust our expectations and let go of the productivity guilt.
Mom guilt is a particularly toxic form of productivity guilt, and boy does it do a doozy on some of us. Fortunately, I have friends in high places and my dear therapist friend Dr. Cassidy Freitas, PhD has a workbook for combating Mom Guilt in Pregnancy.
Here are some other reasons it’s not only okay to let go of the guilt, but actually makes you a better mom:
  • Teaches your children to listen to their bodies
  • Teaches them to care for people when they aren’t feeling well
  • Shows them that it is okay to slow down

 

Break the Cycle

The next 3 tips are all about breaking that vicious fatigue cycle. You know the one where you don’t want to do anything so you stay on the couch all day and that makes you feel even more fatigued and down? Let’s break that cycle…
  • Spend time with someone who makes you laugh
  • Listen to your favorite upbeat song
  • Get outside

In Conclusion

Despite being so tired, you just read this entire article! Girl, give yourself a high-five and a hug!! Pregnancy fatigue sucks. If you are reading this before March 2020, I’m currently right there with you! (Baby #2 due 2/28/20) I have a few more things that can help you: Self-Care Workbook for Pregnancy, Body Love Ritual, and my Skin Care Cheat Sheet for Pregnancy. If none of those are right for you, check my Free Library of Resources where I am always adding a new workbook, cheat sheet or checklist to make your life easier! 

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