I’m entering month 8 of my pregnancy, and I must say that I just feel tired more easily. If you’re approaching the end of your 3rd trimester, you know what I mean. But rest assured (literally), it’s not just you! There are a host of physiological factors contributing to this 8 month preg fatigue, including but not limited to:
- Shortness of breath, due to the rapidly growing baby and ginormous uterus pressing on the lungs and diaphragm.
- Racing metabolism as body prepares for baby.
- Extra weight in the core, making everything just that much more difficult.
- Ridiculously caliente core temperature, causing overheating, and making dehydration and dizziness so much more possible.
The good news is twofold, though. First of all, we’re in the home stretch, and will be welcoming our adorable little babies into our arms in less than 2 months. And second of all, preg fatigue is super-easy to manage. You’ve heard the saying of the great generals: “Know your enemy.” Well, if we know why we’re feeling exhausted, we can combat and eventually defeat it!
With that in mind, here are 8 easy ways to keep up your energy during month 8:
- Hydrate – During pregnancy, our fluid demands increase, and it’s recommended to drink eight to twelve 8-ounce glasses of water per day, as opposed to the usual 6-8 glasses for a non-pregnant person. I drink water throughout the day to keep my energy up, since dehydration can increase the risk of fainting, malaise, and feeling hungry when you’re in fact thirsty. Remember: If you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
- Exercise – The energy lag hits me hardest in the mid-afternoon, about an hour after I eat lunch. For this reason, I changed my exercise routine from the morning to the afternoon. It’s always a battle to go to the gym or exercise along with that yoga video, but once I start and the blood begins to circulate, I feel so much more awake and alive. And afterwards, my energy is amped up for the rest of the day. My best advice is to identify your own personal energy lag time, and schedule your exercise in then. Not only will you feel better during and after the exercise, studies have shown that your baby may actually be born smarter because of the increased oxygen and blood flow–bonus!
- Test for anemia – If you’re feeling incredibly tired all the time, the reason might not be pregnancy directly–it could be anemia. Anemia can set in during pregnancy, even if you’re taking the recommended supplements, because the baby leeches your iron, storing it away for later. Medical protocol calls for an anemia test around 28 weeks. If you show up anemic, it’s important to remember a few things. First of all, iron from green leafy veggies like spinach is more difficult to absorb than heme iron (from sources like red meat), but vitamin C facilitates absorption. Therefore, adding a vitamin C supplement with your iron–or even just eating an orange or cooking with lemon–can help your body to retain more iron. Also, calcium impedes iron absorption, so separate your iron and calcium supplements by at least 3 hours.
- Keep up Your Blood Sugar – Blood sugar crashes are another huge cause of tiredness in pregnancy, and they can be exacerbated by giving in to “cravings” for sugary, carb-y snacks. The best way to keep up your blood sugar is by avoiding junk food and eating healthy snacks with some protein for extra staying power. Plain Greek yogurt with 10 almonds, 5 walnuts, and a handful of blueberries is one of my favorite late-afternoon snacks to carry me through that blood sugar crash period between lunch and dinner. Other good snacks are carrots and celery with hummus or a banana boat (banana with natural peanut butter).
- Power Nap – Sometimes, you just need a nap; nothing else will do. If this is the case, indulge in a 30 minute to one hour-long power nap. You will awaken rejuvenated and ready to finish out your day with gusto. Just avoid napping for longer than an hour, since sometimes those loong naps can make you more sluggish, and they can disrupt your sleep cycle at night.
- Breathe Deeply – Sometimes in pregnancy, we can feel more fatigued if we don’t pay attention to our breathing. As I mentioned earlier, many pregos experience shortness of breath as the uterus presses on the lungs and diaphragm. For this reason, it’s important to pay attention to your breathing. Yoga is a great way to become more aware of how deeply and how often you’re breathing.
- Stay Cool – Feeling overheated can make you languid and lazy, and pregos are especially prone to this because of our hotttt body temperatures. Seek out the breeze, amp up your AC, stay out of the sun during the heat of the day, take a swim–do whatever makes you feel more cool, calm, and collected, and your energy will surge.
- Sit up Straight – If you, like me, sit at a desk all day, it’s easy to absentmindedly slump over, which actually makes you feel tireder. Instead, focus on your posture, consciously keeping a straight back. Not only will you look better, you’ll feel better, since sitting up straight allows the lungs to fill more completely and facilitates circulation.
Moms-to-be out there, I hope these tips help you to feel more vibrant and exuberant during your 8th month of pregnancy!