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Fighting Pregnancy Fatigue
Pregnancy can be exhausting! Your body is creating a full-size baby while you cope with the physical and emotional demands of work, family obligations and household chores. Your body is hard at work even when you’re resting, so it’s no wonder that you feel tired. Sleeping well becomes critically important during pregnancy, and your diet and activity level will play a large role in your sense of well-being. Keep these suggestions in mind to maintain your energy and help you sleep tight:

1) Get enough rest. Turn in a little earlier and stay in bed longer in the morning to get an hour or two more of sleep each day. Nap in the afternoon if you can.

2) Create a bedtime routine for yourself. Find a regular bedtime and engage in relaxing activities before you go to sleep. Try reading, soaking in a warm bath, listening to soothing music or meditating.

3) Make your bedroom comfortable for sleeping. Adjust the temperature to avoid overheating or feeling cold, reduce excessive noise or wear earplugs, and avoid engaging in other activities in bed (such as watching TV or doing paper work.)

4) After the 20th week of pregnancy, avoid lying flat on your back. This can compromise circulation to your uterus. Place a pillow under one hip, or lie on your side.

5) If you feel short-of-breath, prop yourself up in bed. Or sleep in a recliner chair, if that’s easier and more comfortable for you.

6) Avoid eating a heavy meal before retiring. Eat smaller meals or healthy snacks in the evening time. If you get heartburn, don’t eat for two hours before going to bed.

7) Avoid coffee, tea, colas or chocolates in the late afternoon and evening. (Caffeine is a stimulant.)

8) Get plenty of protein, at least 60 - 70 grams a day. Consider starting your day with a protein shake. Try blending soy milk, soy protein powder, orange juice and a banana for a quick morning protein surge. And find out if you are anemic; if so, iron can be especially helpful in your last trimester.

9) Go outside each day for some fresh air and sunshine.

10) Exercise each day. Begin with a gentle warm-up, and end with a gradual cool-down when you’re done. Avoid heavy exercise in the evening, which could be stimulating. Instead, try gentle stretches or yoga before bedtime.

If you’ve tried the above suggestions and continue to have severe fatigue, or if you have heart palpitations, faintness or breathlessness, ask your health care provider for help.

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist