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Fighting pregnancy fatigue

Feeling tired all the time is one of the most common side effects of early pregnancy. Here’s how to survive the first trimester energy slump.

Why you’re wiped out
No wonder you’re tired—your body is going into overdrive to spur the baby's growth. Your ovaries are producing progesterone, which is thought to have a sedative effect, and blood volume is increasing by up to 50 percent to supply blood to the fetus. “The fatigue is so noticeable, it’s often how women realize they’re pregnant,” says Dr. Richard Pittini, an obstetrician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

Aside from the toll your growing baby can take on your body, if you have morning sickness, this can lead to fatigue, too. “Nausea and vomiting have a serious impact on energy levels,” says Pittini. “And so does sleep disturbance, which is very common throughout pregnancy.”

The good news? As quickly as the energy slump comes on, it will also vanish just as abruptly. “At 16 weeks it always gets better,” says Pittini.

But in the meantime, here are a few things you can do to fight fatigue:

Get moving.
Even if all you want to do is lie on the couch, take a short walk or do some light stretching. Twenty minutes a few times a week can give you a physical and mental energy boost.
Take your vitamin.
It will fill the gaps if your appetite for food is at an all-time low. Your Pharmacist can help you select a vitamin formulation that’s suitable for you. Pittini also recommends eating frequent small portions to make sure you’re getting in some calories, even if you can’t eat full meals. Getting the nutrients you need will help you avoid a major energy slump. Sleep when you can.
Go to bed earlier and get up later. Naps are also helpful, but aim to get that extra rest in the early afternoon. “Napping will make you feel more rested, but it can also interfere with sleep if it’s too close to your bedtime,” Pittini says.