How to Manage Pregnancy Fatigue
by Nikki Warren on Dec 12, 2023
Being pregnant can be such an exciting and joyful time but it can also be exhausting. Ensuring adequate nutrition through your diet alongside taking a high-quality prenatal multivitamin in each trimester of pregnancy is helpful to support a healthy pregnancy.
- Fatigue is common in pregnancy, in this study, 94.2% women suffered from fatigue.
- Nutrient deficiencies can contribute to pregnancy fatigue.
- Diet and blood sugar balance is important in preventing pregnancy fatigue.
- Prenatal multivitamins can support a healthy pregnancy.
- Sleep and stress are important to manage.
Read on to find out more about pregnancy fatigue and how prenatal multivitamins can support a healthy pregnancy.
Fatigue in Pregnancy is Common
Research has shown that fatigue is one of the most common and persistent complaints of pregnant women. Increased severity of fatigue during pregnancy can increase the risk of preterm labour, prolonged labour, caesarean section, and postpartum depression.
Fatigue can be due to hormonal and metabolic changes that occur during pregnancy. Illness and the body’s adaptation to pregnancy can also contribute to fatigue.
Women that experience nausea and vomiting during pregnancy will often be more fatigued. This is due to the physical impact nausea has on energy levels and how it can impact nutrient status. Dietary and prenatal intake may be low from nausea and a lower nutrient intake can increase fatigue.
Nutrient Deficiencies & Pregnancy Fatigue
Many nutrient deficiencies can contribute to fatigue in pregnancy. Different nutrients are required for energy production in the body. Some common nutrient deficiencies that may contribute to fatigue in pregnancy include:
- Vitamin D
- B vitamins
Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with poor sleep quality and fatigue during pregnancy. Iron deficiency can contribute to anaemia and poorer oxygen and nutrient delivery to tissues. This can contribute to brain fog, dizziness, feeling faint/weak and tired during pregnancy.
Vitamin B12 is important for the formation of red blood cells and for energy production pathways in the body. B12 deficiency in pregnancy can contribute to fatigue and if significant, anaemia too.
Magnesium is important for energy production as it helps the mitochondria in our cells produce ATP for energy. Mitochondria are the ‘powerhouses’ of the cell. Magnesium plays an important role in nervous system health for healthy moods and sleep. Our body requires more magnesium when stressed so our intake needs to increase too. As magnesium is involved in over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, magnesium deficiency can contribute to low energy levels in pregnancy.
Zinc is a mineral that is needed for many processes in the body. Zinc is required for healthy thyroid function, assists red blood cell health, acts as an antioxidant, and supports the nervous system with healthy sleep patterns and moods. Zinc deficiency can contribute to fatigue and poor moods in pregnancy.
The Role of Diet in Pregnancy Fatigue
What we eat during pregnancy can impact our energy levels. Foods that are low in nutrients and processed foods that are high in sugar may make our energy levels worse. If we consume foods that are low in nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, iron, B vitamins and vitamin D then we may need to increase these nutrients in our diet to improve our energy levels.
High sugar intake and processed foods may contribute to blood sugar imbalances which can contribute to fatigue during pregnancy. Morning sickness can impact the ability to eat regularly, which may lead to low blood sugars and fatigue.
Dietary intake of adequate protein, fats and carbohydrates with wholefoods is important to maintain and support energy levels during pregnancy.
Prenatal Multivitamins in Pregnancy Fatigue
Prenatal multivitamins can support our nutritional status during pregnancy. They are important to take alongside a healthy diet to help you meet your nutrient intake and avoid nutrient deficiencies. Morning sickness can make it hard to eat well and have a perfect diet, therefore prenatal multivitamins are important.
Prenatal multivitamins can help:
- Decrease morning sickness (when formulated specifically for trimester one).
- Maintain maternal health.
- Support healthy foetal development and brain function.
- Support a healthy pregnancy and healthy development of the placenta.
Other supplements that contain calcium and magnesium during pregnancy can help support nervous system health and sleep quality to help with fatigue.
Sleep & Stress in Pregnancy Fatigue
Poor sleep quality is very common in pregnancy. Sleep quality in pregnancy may be impacted by anxiety, stress, reflux, nausea, restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea. Changes to the body and not being able to sleep on your back during pregnancy can make it difficult to be comfortable for sleep, impacting the quality.
Poor sleep quality during pregnancy increases the risk of exhaustion and postpartum depression in the last trimester of pregnancy. Sleep quality will often decline during pregnancy which can impact many women’s energy levels during the day.
Seeking assistance from your healthcare provider will be important to help you manage your sleep during pregnancy. Meditation, massage, and comfortable bedding during pregnancy may help improve sleep quality.
To summarise, fatigue in pregnancy is very common and is multifactorial. Nutrient deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and iron can cause fatigue and diet plays an important role in preventing nutrient deficiencies and stabilising blood glucose levels.
Prenatal multivitamins can support pregnant women to meet their recommended daily intake of nutrients. Managing other factors such as poor sleep and stress are also important to help manage fatigue during pregnancy.