While we can all agree that conception and pregnancy is a miracle, growing and nourishing a baby in your tummy for nine months can be physically and emotionally taxing. The truth is, your body undergoes many physical changes in a short space of time to accommodate your growing bump, and this can come with a few undesirable symptoms. Besides nausea and vomiting, pregnancy fatigue is one of the most common discomforts women suffer during pregnancy. “Fatigue is difficult enough to deal with at the best of times, but add pregnancy and a busy lifestyle to the mix and it can make you feel absolutely exhausted,” says Johannesburg-based homoeopath, Dr Vicky Compere.
Causes of pregnancy fatigue
Dr Compere believes the main reasons for pregnancy fatigue include:
- Hormonal changes
- Physical changes
- Acute illness
- Over exertion.
When it comes to ensuring your unborn baby thrives, your body needs all the key nutrients, adds nutritionist, wellness specialist and speaker, Desi Horsman. “Not only do you need more iron, you also need more of everything else including vitamins, minerals, protein and sleep!”
Here are a few of Desi’s key nutrition tips for managing pregnancy fatigue
Keep your blood sugar levels stable
Besides eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of whole, unprocessed foods, your blood sugar levels need to remain stable. Low blood sugar can make you feel nauseous, tired, weak or shaky, so it’s best not to skip meals, especially breakfast, and to opt for healthy, frequent small meals and snacks. Ensure you eat plenty of protein, complex carbs and other important nutrients to sustain you.
Snack on the right foods
Rather than reaching for sugary treats, cakes or sweets, snack on whole, natural foods. Bananas are rich in potassium and give you instant energy to help you through your day. Berries, avocado and nuts will help keep your blood sugar levels stable. Snacks like roasted chickpeas are a tasty alternative to crisps or crackers during pregnancy.
Watch your iron levels
Low iron will intensify your pregnancy fatigue, to the point that you may not want to get off the couch. It’s important to have your iron levels checked throughout your pregnancy and to focus on iron-rich foods to prevent anaemia. These include dark green vegetables, red meat, chicken, dried beans and dried apricots. To ensure iron is better absorbed, pair these foods with vitamin C- rich foods, like citrus fruits and tomatoes.
Minimise processed, sugary foods
While you might crave sweet, sugary foods like cakes or chocolates throughout your pregnancy, they’ll only leave you feeling more fatigued as your blood sugar levels rise and dip. Plus, they can contribute to unnecessary weight gain, which too, can leave you feeling lethargic and sluggish.
Choose the right supplements
Spirulina and other powdered greens offer a rich source of antioxidants like carotenoids, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium, plus vitamin B12, which helps to reduce mental and physical fatigue.
These greens also help to:
- Balance hormones
- Boost immunity
- Assist haemoglobin levels
- Improve overall energy and vitality.
Drink plenty of water
This can’t be over-emphasised! Your body needs loads of water to transport vital nutrients to your baby, as well as to help prevent constipation, dehydration, bladder infections and fluid retention.
Homoeopathic remedies to beat pregnancy fatigue
Homoeopathy is a wonderful benefit to pregnancy and is a safe, natural way to overcome fatigue, says Dr Vicky Compere. Try these natural remedies:
- Sepia is a great remedy to ease tiredness and irritability during pregnancy. Those who use sepia often feel better after exercise, which also helps to boost mood and energy levels.
- Ferrum Phos No. 4 tissue salt and Calc Phos No. 2 tissue salt can be alternated for fatigue caused by anaemia. Ferrum Phos helps to replenish iron levels in the body and Calc Phos assists the body in absorbing iron more effectively.
- Kali Phos No. 6 tissue salt is a good nerve tonic that helps to improve concentration and relieve exhaustion from mental strain.
- Calc Phos No. 2 tissue salt is a great remedy and tonic to speed up recovery after an illness. It’s also ideal for soothing sore, achy bones and can help to promote better digestion and to ease pregnancy cravings.
- Arnica can be used for tiredness in pregnancy after periods of increased physical effort, and can also help to soothe a sore, stretched tummy.
“Although homoeopathy is safe to use during pregnancy, it’s best to be under the guidance of a registered, experienced homoeopath who knows which remedies are best to use together, rather than self-medicating,” says Dr Compere.
More about the experts:
Desi Horsman is a leading authority on all things food. She is a qualified clinical nutritionist, wellness coach and professional speaker. She is also passionate about teaching parents how to feed their children so that they foster a healthy relationship with food from their earliest beginnings. Visit desihorsman.com to find out more about her.
Dr Vicki Compere is a well-known Homoeopath who has been in private practice for 17 years. She practices in Fourways and is focused on helping patients achieve personal health and wellbeing through Homoeopathy and natural medicines. She is passionate about the all-encompassing benefits of Homoeopathy because of its safety and its ability to benefit people on all levels. She is particularly interested in gut health, stress management, and hormone management naturally.
Tammy is a wife, mom and freelance writer with 15 years’ experience in the media industry. She specialises in general lifestyle topics related to health, wellness and parenting. Tammy has a passion for fitness and the great outdoors. If she’s not running around after her daughter, you’ll find her off the beaten track, running, hiking or riding her bike. Learn more about Tammy Jacks .