Staying energized during pregnancy

Staying energized during pregnancy can be difficulty, particularly if you were a ten-cups-of-coffee-a-day kind of person before pregnancy. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help keep you full of energy (or maybe half-full) throughout pregnancy.

Why is it hard to stay energized during pregnancy?

Nobody ever said growing a human being was easy – between the extra weight, the 50% larger blood volume, the decrease in lung capacity, and the hormones coursing through your veins that are likely to make you feel sluggish, it’s completely normal and expected to feel fatigued during pregnancy. Fatigue can start early – even before you get that positive pregnancy test – and extend throughout pregnancy, though the reasons for fatigue trend from more hormonal causes early, to physical causes (gaining weight) later.

What are some ways to stay energized?

  • Exercise: Even though it can be difficult to work out during pregnancy, particularly if you’re already feeling fatigued, getting enough activity is actually a great way to help you increase your energy level
  • Nutrition: Keeping a well-balanced, healthy diet is one of the best ways to ensure that you have the energy to go about your day. It’s important that you get plenty of carbohydrates (ideally from whole-wheat sources), as your body uses these as its energy source. Getting enough protein, and avoiding fatty, processed foods can also make a significant impact in your energy level, as processed foods are known to cause gassiness and fatigue.
  • Rest: As you probably know, getting enough rest is absolutely crucial for your energy level, but getting enough sleep is easier said than done. You may want to look into pregnancy sleep aids if you’re having trouble finding a comfortable spot, but even a quick powernap can really do the trick when it comes to your energy level

Is there a place for caffeine?

Although the research is still coming in, it appears that a caffeine intake of under 200 mg a day (about one or two small cups of coffee) does not pose a risk to pregnancy, but the effects of larger amounts are unknown. While coffee might not be the best choice when pregnant, as it could also contribute to frequent urination, women who enter pregnancy as major coffee-drinkers can probably get away with a cup or two a day. Most experts recommend staying on the safe by limiting your intake, but you should always talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
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  • F Hytten. “Blood volume changes in normal pregnancy.” Clinics in Haemotology. 14(3):601-12. Web. Oct-85.
  • MS Kramer, R Kakuma. “Energy and protein intake in pregnancy.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev. (4):CD000032. Web. 2003.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Pregnancy diet: Focus on these essential nutrients.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 3/1/2014. Web.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Bed rest during pregnancy: Get the facts.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 4/13/2014. Web.
  • “Caffeine in pregnancy.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes, 6/12/2015. Web.
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