Q: What can I do to stop feeling tired all the time?
A: Fatigue during pregnancy can often be extreme. Most women report that it is the worst during the first trimester, but it improves during the second and returns to some normal degree during the third. I often relate to my patients that first trimester fatigue feels like the life has been sucked out of you, and they all unanimously agree! This is particularly difficult for women who work outside the home or who already have other children. There are a few things you can try:
1. Take a nap. If you can, give in to your sleepiness; don't fight it.
2. Avoid making plans at night. Get to bed early -- remember that pregnancy is temporary and your social life can be put on hold for a bit.
3. Exercise. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day improves sleep habits in pregnant women. Just don't exercise right before bed, as this may worsen sleep.
4. Make sure you are eating well and drinking enough water. A word of caution, though, about water -- make sure you drink more of your daily intake in the morning, or you will be up all night going to the bathroom.
5. Empty your bladder right before bed. This way, there is a longer stretch of time before you have to wake up to go. The more times you wake up at night, the worse your fatigue will be.
6. Ask your partner for a massage. This can help you sleep better at night.
7. Talk to your practitioner. Occasionally, there is a medical reason for severe fatigue during pregnancy, such as anemia or thyroid disease.