"I think I’ll get comfy on the couch and read for a while"
Whoops, fell asleep.
Pregnancy is a giant game of “whoops, fell asleep.” If you’re a mom-to-be for the first time and tired-all-the-time is your new normal, you’re not alone (as I write this, I’m five months pregnant and yawning for the billionth time today). But there are things you can do to cope with the pregnancy fatigue and give yourself more energy while you’re at it. Here are six tips that have helped me so far.
6 Tips to Fight Pregnancy Fatigue
1. Stay well-rested.This might seem obvious, but getting enough sleep is key. My 5 a.m. wake-up call means I have to be in bed between 9 and 10 p.m., or I’m completely useless the next day. Adjust your sleep schedule to whatever works best for you, and don’t be afraid to take naps when time allows. You might feel silly napping on a Saturday afternoon — I’ve got better things to do than sleep! — but taking the time you need, even if it’s just 20 minutes to recharge, can help you enjoy the rest of the weekend.
2. Ask for help.If you’re used to being independent, this can be tricky, but it’s time to embrace asking for — and accepting — help from others. Can’t make it out the office door with your unending amount of supplies? Ask a coworker for help. Does your friend want to have you over for dinner? Sit back and let someone else do the cooking. Need help carrying a case of water to your car? Ask the grocery store attendant.
3. Adjust your expectations.Listen to your body — you probably won’t be able to do everything you used to do pre-pregnancy. Those weekend hikes might need to turn into neighborhood walks. Let daily exercise classes become relaxing prenatal yoga. And sub in steam bags of frozen vegetables for your scratch-made stir fry. Just remember, it’s okay to slow down and do less. Plus, going easy on yourself will come in handy later when you're trying to balance life with your new baby, too.
4. Exercise.This might seem counterintuitive, but even if all you want to do is crawl into bed or curl up on the couch, staying active can give you an extra boost. Try going for walks to break up your work day — especially when you feel your eyelids start to get heavy. Test out the pool at your gym, enroll in an exercise class designed for expectant moms, or try a pregnancy exercise video at home.
5. Eat healthy and often.If you’re like me, pregnancy = carb life. But keeping your diet healthy can give you the energy you need. If thinking about raw veggies makes you queasy, try making a soup or stew that’s full of the cooked variety and bring leftovers for lunch at work. Not excited about fruit? Make a smoothie instead and take it to go in the morning. Seriously just can’t stop thinking about pasta? Opt for whole wheat noodles and add some meat and veggies. Make your breakfast-for-any-meal dreams come true and scramble some eggs for protein (you can even do this in the office microwave!). Eating small meals and snacks throughout the day instead of the three meals you were used to can help keep you going, too.
6. Stay hydrated.
Water might have magical powers. I always knew it was good for me, but once I got pregnant, I made it my job to drink enough water each day. And I’m convinced it leaves me feeling refreshed and less sluggish. Worried you’ll get sick of it? I started to, too. Make it interesting by adding a few slices of lemon, lime, strawberry, or cucumber. Or, try sparkling or flavored seltzer water — they’re both naturally sugar-free.
Moms-to-be: pregnancy is hard work, and the fatigue is real. Just remember that this kind of tired has a 40-week (give or take) limit — your nutrients and energy won’t be completely zapped forever. Of course, once your baby actually arrives, you’ll experience a whole new kind of tired, but you’ll be able to figure that out, too.