3 Tips for Surviving Pregnancy Fatigue

fatigue

Many years ago, my oldest dachshund birthed a litter of chubby, ornery, perfect puppies.  I was an overeager birthing coach, there every step of the way to ensure an easy pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum recovery. (I realize, without any shame believe it or not, I sound and/or am insane.)  The point is, in being so involved, I barely slept for the 63 days of her gestation, and the eight weeks that followed the birth.  While I’m sure I annoyed the ever-loving snot out of my completely capable dog, I wasn’t to be reasoned with and felt my involvement was crucial. 

This experience hardened me.  I became a “mom snob”.  I rolled my eyes as women complained about their post partum fatigue. 

“Um ladies, you were expecting to lose a little sleep once Junior was born, right?”

I knew from my puppy experience “exactly” what these women were going through, and truth be told, I wasn’t terribly sympathetic.  In the grand scheme, this loss of sleep is temporary, expected, and by planning alone, could be circumvented to make the first few months of the baby’s life tolerable.

And then I got pregnant.

And… I haven’t slept in MONTHS.

I’m a walking zombie most every day and I don’t even have the baby yet!

My increased blood volume caused frequent overnight trips to the bathroom from the start.  My boobs hurt so bad I swaddled them like delicate newborns and did my best not to twist abruptly in my sleep.  As a back sleeper, I began “training” myself to sleep on my side in the middle of my of my first trimester, leaving me with hip pain that ensured I tossed and turned a majority of the night.  In the second trimester, I got a teensy break from the constant overnight peeing, but was up all night anyway with anxiety about choosing names, feeling flutters, and bringing a baby into the world.  And now, in the third trimester, I’m lucky to get two hours of half-sleep in between bathroom breaks, heartburn, leg cramps, pregnancy induced carpal tunnel, ongoing “to do” lists swirling in my head, and sheer discomfort.  Tossing and turning is nearly impossible, as what little core strength I once had has been replaced by a core “basketball” that resists repositioning of most any kind.

So my former mom snobbery?  Gone.  Those women were EXHAUSTED loooooong before their babies ever arrived.  Some people call the pregnancy fatigue “practice” for when the baby is born. 

I hate those people

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I. Am. Tired.

And I don’t want to be a disheveled version of myself when our son arrives.  So, in an effort to maximize my sleep, I’ve found the following helpful.

  1. Limit fluid intake two hours before bed.
  2. Elevate your feet (or other swollen appendages) when possible.  This will help drain some of the fluid stored in your swollen body before you attempt to go to sleep, thus hopefully eliminating a bathroom trip or two. 
  3. Get a pregnancy pillow!  Right now!  Or, at least invest in several pillows.  Make a nest.  Snuggle in.  Sleeeeeeeep.

What sleep tips have worked for you?  Share!  We all deserve a little rest before D Day!

 

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3 Tips for Surviving Pregnancy Fatigue

Jennifer Bruno is a credentialed trainer by day and a freelance writer and aspiring photographer by night. Raised in rural Kansas, Jen moved to sunny Florida after college where she met her husband, who married her despite hearing her sing Dixie Chicks karaoke. Shortly after saying “I do”, they moved to New York City to fulfill their dream of living amongst the bright lights and skyscrapers. They currently share their cramped apartment with two modelesque miniature dachshunds named Millie an ... More

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22 comments

  1. Lynna says:

    i just do a simple pregnancy trick which is somewhat effective..pillow between my legs.

  2. Brayden says:

    I’m totally opposite. My first pregnancy was bad. The second one does not even get better. It’s worse. I’m at first trimester right now. I couldn’t eat anything. I’m scared of any smell. I throw up all the time and feel of death everyday. I don’t want to eat anything. If I don’t eat, my stomach will bite me. I experience different with every pregnancy. It’s just worse. I’m just a zombie everyday. I’m so tired and my husband is tired too every time he looks at me like this. I hope this time will go by fast. It’s a horrible feeling for me to face a new day. I don’t know which words can describe my status right now.

    • Pamela says:

      I was the same way i am only 6 weeks and this is my first pregnancy. Stress was causing me to not keep anything down. I left the father and moved in with my grandparents. I went from puking 20 times a day to once if that in the mornings. Hope this helps (:

  3. Colleen says:

    I’ve never had an easy time sleeping but I actually slept slightly better during my pregnancy. Sleep came easy during my first trimester because I felt so sick I couldn’t eat anything except crackers and ramen noodles so I didn’t have any heartburn. Once he started to kick I used his movements to sooth myself to sleep. My third trimester was terrible because I was up every 3 hours to pee. Now that my little one is here, I get a couple hours sleep here and there when he lts me.

  4. Rebecca says:

    What is natural for some comes less easily/naturally for others. I relate with the author in many ways. I plan ahead for things and sometimes it’s hard not having control over your body, and the unexpected can be scary. I had a lot of the same stresses my first pregnancy. Pregnancy is wonderful, natural, and awesome, but it is a big life change. I think she is being very brave and trying to help others by sharing her experience. I commend her for writing this article. Not letting the stress rule you may be good advice but you can’t tell someone just to be a different person. You could actually suggest helpful ways that she might calm down or ways to help her "let go".

  5. Rebecca says:

    I agree but remembering my first pregnancy it was really hard to relax. It’s a big life change. I remember thinking how weird pregnancy was and how strange that it was natural. Second pregnancy was easier because much of it was the same (although some things were completely different).

  6. Rebecca says:

    Halfway thru pregnancy #1 I found Dr. Cathy’s pregnancy exercises on Youtube. That alleviated so much strain and helped my muscles to support the weight. The warm up was wonderful and I did it almost every day to help loosen up all the tension pulling EVERYWHERE. Stopped drinking sodas completely and less acidic foods for dinner and evening (because of reflux). Snacking more and eating smaller meals. My hubby liked it when I put my belly on his back which helped support it and pillow between my knees

  7. Theresa says:

    I had gestational diabetes and controlled it with diet and exercise, which I think ultimately helped with my sleep patterns. By eating right at regular intervals I was able to keep my energy levels stable. I was told to eat a "midnight snack" while also up for one of the midnight potty runs. The hip pain is just an unfortunate side effect as your pelvis literally separates more and more, which I only used a regular pillow between my knees to help control. I didn’t lay on my back until I had to, you’d be surprised at how quickly you adapt. Heartburn in the third trimester was the worst part of it all. I called Tums my "pregnancy candy" because I ate 2 every night before bed! 🙂

  8. Theresa says:

    I find that the saying, "No offense," usually precedes something offensive. She is a new mom and for someone experiencing that for the first time in their lives it can come as quite a shock. Every pregnancy is different, so YOU might not have experienced all the things she is going through, but that also does not give you the right to say harsh words to a woman you don’t even know. You didn’t answer the author’s question for tips for other new mothers AT ALL, so why even put your twisted 2 cents in?

  9. Amanda says:

    How rude of you to judge anyone else?! How is her being tired self inflicted? SHE IS PREGNANT, which is something she chose yes but pregnancy is hard.

  10. This is my first pregnancy and sleep is EXTREMELY hard to come by…what works for me typically is NO amount of caffeine during the day (even the one cup my doctor allows), plenty of water until about 7 pm, and having some whole grain toast with peanut butter before I attempt to sleep. Also, banana mashed up in some warm milk with cinnamon and honey works wonders! Other things that I’ve found helpful are hot bubble baths, foot rubs (if you can get your partner to give good ones…) and Sleepytime Herbal Tea.

  11. Joy says:

    My first two pregnancies were easy – hardly any discomfort and even my placenta placement helped keep baby kicking from waking me up. No so this time around. One of my major issues seems to be vitamin deficiencies. It is difficult to eat healthy and regularly while chasing after two little ones. I was put on a couple of vitamin supplements (in addition to prenatal) and the extra energy was amazing!

  12. Faith Putman says:

    I have to say that I agree with Laura. Although pregnancy can be uncomfortable ( I am currently in the first trimester with my second child and am suffering from severe morning sickness all day while taking care of a 10 month old), you shouldn’t get so wrapped up in the unnecessary worry. Take time to enjoy what is happening. Most of the things you are stressing seem to be self induced. Just relax and enjoy. The more you relax the better you will feel.

  13. ering229 says:

    I just do anything that always me to sleep no matter how weird it seems.

  14. cjpalaska says:

    I find using a very big body pillow helps with both hip and back pain as well as later in the pregnancy when you need more support with your baby bump. Also putting one pillow on each side of you so when you turn over in the middle of the night you don’t have to wake up to reposition everything to get comfortable again……Sometimes I also take a benadryl before bed which is safe during pregnancy and helps with congestion i get as well as sleep issues.

  15. tmarie66 says:

    PS. When waiting for my husband to use the bathroom at a department store I fell fast asleep in the recliner in the funiture dept. I think we may need to get one this weekend!!!! 🙂

  16. tmarie66 says:

    I totally agree with this article. I used to be skeptical of mothers to be & their lack of energy until I became one. While I don’t have it quite as hard as the gal in this story, I can say I have never felt a tiredness quiet like this. The discomfort in sleeping in a new position seems to be the biggest hurdle. Which is what is causing most of my day time lag.

    The pregnancy pillow didn’t work for me (it just got in my way). I use a twin size comforter & mush it around me & under my belly for support.

  17. Marty says:

    Sleep eluded me during the third trimester for many of the same reasons… frequent bathroom breaks, sore back and hip discomfort from sleeping on my side. I found that sleeping on the couch worked well for me because the cushions were harder. It sounds silly, but my bed was too soft and with my extra baby weight, was not supporting my body well. Sometimes a change in location can really help you get some sleep.

  18. No offense, but you are pretty winey. 98% percent of your description of why you are tired is self-inflicted. From the outside looking in, you are WAY overbearing in the whole pregnancy situation & should really learn to calm down a bit. Instead of letting that stress rule you, try to let go and let pregnancy be what it is…. NATURAL.

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