Nutrition During Pregnancy

Feeling Tired/Fatigued

During pregnancy, feeling tired or fatigued is a frequent complaint in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy because your body is adjusting to your changing hormones.  Your progesterone levels increase in pregnancy which can make you feel sleepier than normal. (1)(2)  You can take steps to feel better.

Try to rest more.  This might be going to bed earlier, taking a nap, or resting sometime during the day.  Or maybe just admitting that you cannot function at the same pace as before you got pregnant.  At least not right now.  Typically, by the 12th week of pregnancy, this general tired feeling will resolve.  If it persists past the 12th week of pregnancy, discuss this with your healthcare provider.

If feeling tired or fatigued persists for you, one of the reasons may be due to a low iron stores or low hemoglobin levels in your bloodstream.  This maybe because they were low before you got pregnant or because of the increased demands in pregnancy–the blood volume increases to about 50% more than when you weren’t pregnant. (3)(4)

Hemoglobin (iron is part of this molecule) is what gives oxygen a ride in your bloodstream.  If you don’t have enough hemoglobin circulating, you don’t have enough oxygen carrying ability in your bloodstream and you will get tired more easily.  With your blood volume expanding, it takes awhile for your oxygen-carrying hemoglobin to catch up.  Make sure you are getting enough iron in your diet and/or taking your prenatal vitamin.

  1.  Early Signs of Pregnancy, Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853   Accessed June 11, 2015.
  2. Stoppard, M, Dr. Miriam Stoppard’s Pregnancy & Birth Book, New York, NJ, Ballentine Books, 1985, p 34.
  3. Cilberto, CF, Marx, GF, Physiological Changes Associated with Pregnancy, Available at http://e-safe-anaesthesia.org/e_library/02/Pregnancy-physiological_changes_Update_2008.pdf   Accessed June 11, 2015.
  4. Sodre, PM, Maternal Physiology Changes During Pregnancy, Obstetrics & Gynecology Available at http://www.medstudents.com.br/ginob/ginob5.htm   Accessed December 6, 2007.