Pregnancy Fatigue Part 1: What Causes Pregnancy Fatigue?

Pregnancy Fatigue Part 1: What Causes Pregnancy Fatigue?Creating a new life inside your own body can be exhausting work! Pregnancy fatigue is a common symptom many moms-to-be experience, especially in the first and third trimesters. Today we’re talking about what causes pregnancy fatigue and tomorrow we’re offering solutions to overcome it.

First Trimester: Pregnancy Fatigue Begins

During the first trimester, one of the major hurdles for your body is making the placenta, which will nourish and protect your baby throughout gestation. In addition, your baby begins as merely a few cells but within weeks of being pregnant she is already forming life-sustaining organs.  The combination of your baby’s growth and supporting development of the placenta takes a lot of energy. In fact, it can be downright exhausting for many expectant moms.

Additionally, as you’ve probably recognized from other symptoms, hormones are increasing rapidly to turn your body into a cozy environment for your baby. This change alone can cause pregnancy fatigue, thanks to the hormone progesterone. But these hormonal shifts are also ramping up your metabolism to prepare your body for the 9+ months ahead. Ironically, hormones also lower your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, which contribute to further pregnancy fatigue. And as if all of that weren’t enough tiresome work for your body, you’re also producing and pumping up to 50% more blood than usual. No wonder you want to curl up in bed all day long!

Second Trimester: Rejuvenation

Moms-to-be often find some relief of many pregnancy symptoms, including pregnancy fatigue, in their second trimester. Hormones level off which allows your body to find balance again. Many moms experience newfound energy during the second trimester and can therefore enjoy the excitement of welcoming a new baby into the family. This is a great time to start preparing for your baby while you feel motivated and before third trimester pregnancy fatigue sets in. Unfortunately some expectant moms never get the relief of rejuvenation during pregnancy and find themselves exhausted all the time, however usually there is at least a minor reprieve in the second trimester.

Third Trimester: Pregnancy Fatigue Returns

As you near the end of your pregnancy, fatigue may creep its way back into your life. Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds inside the womb, which is a heavy load to bear physically. You may be achy, itchy and sore in ways you’ve never experienced before as your skin stretches and your belly expands. The weight of your belly may make your back, sides and legs ache, and you may have trouble with balance. Sleep is harder to come by when you’re feeling these pains and can’t get into a comfortable sleep position. Plus waking several times a night to urinate may contribute to pregnancy fatigue.

Additional Causes of Pregnancy Fatigue

Throughout your pregnancy, your emotions may be a stressor that adds to your pregnancy fatigue. The hardship of pregnancy, the fear of parenthood, anxiety over getting everything accomplished before your baby arrives, and financial concerns may be stressful for you. If any health complications arise for you and your baby, it may be especially troubling and worrisome. Hormones can exacerbate emotional reactions to stressors at any point in pregnancy, making coping more difficult.

If pregnancy fatigue plagues you, stick around for our blog tomorrow about ways to overcome pregnancy fatigue.

Sources: American Pregnancy and What to Expect