Not all women will experience the fatigue of early pregnancy, but many will find that they suddenly have a desire to take naps during the day, even if they never do this normally. Indeed, some women may feel the need to take naps before they even know they are pregnant.
In those early weeks, you might not look like you are undergoing any huge changes, but pregnancy does immediately start to make new demands on your body, and if you need to nap, then go with the flow.
As your pregnancy progresses, you might, like some women, feel more energised, but this is definitely not the case for all mum-to-be.
There’s lots of things that can make it hard for you to relax and wind down, even if you are feeling in desperate need of sleep – you might be worrying about your growing baby, have concerns about giving birth or you simply might be unable to switch off from wondering what life will be like when the baby arrives. These (normal!) worries can all affect your sleep long before you get to the can’t-sleep-because-of-the-huge-bump stage.
So what can I do?
Although old wives’ tales will have you believe that women feel tired in the first trimester and blooming in the last trimester, this isn’t always necessarily the case.
The weight of your growing bump will inevitably take its toll as your pregnancy goes along, and tiredness (along with achy legs, swollen ankles and a sore back) is a sign you need to get more rest. Don’t feel guilty about sitting (well supported) with your feet raised and taking it easy in the evenings and, if you can, having a break during the day. You’re not being lazy – you have some tough months ahead of you!
Make sure you keep up your intake of water and always have a small snack with you in case you feel drained because you haven’t eaten.
When to get help
If you still feel constantly tired, talk to your GP or midwife at your next check-up. By about the seventh month you may find your iron levels have been depleted, and if there are other signs of possible anaemia, your doctor may want you to have a blood test to rule this out. If you do have anaemia, the doctors can treat this simply and safely.
Find out more about achy legs and back pain in pregnancy