7 ways to increase energy during pregnancy

Between the hormone changes, and the weight gain, and everything else, it can be difficult to keep your energy level up during pregnancy, especially if you’ve relied on caffeine in the past to help keep you going. If you’re struggling to stay active (or even awake), you may find some helpful tips in this list.

Get more sleep!

Any good list of tips to help you stay energized simply must begin with sleep. Getting enough sleep at night is probably the most effective way to help yourself recharge and stay energized throughout the next day, but getting enough quality sleep during pregnancy isn’t always so easy. Pregnancy pillows are specially-designed pillows that curve with your body, helping to support your back and belly, so you’ll be able to get comfortable and sleep through the night.

Squeezing in a quick nap during the day can also help you stay energized, especially if you’re having trouble getting the sleep you’d like (both in terms of quality and quantity) at night.

Exercise, even just a little bit

Even though it’s a bit counter-intuitive that exercising can help boost energy, that’s exactly what it does. In fact, one study out of the University of Georgia suggests that people can increase their energy levels by 20 percent, and decrease their fatigue by 65 percent, simply by going out and getting some exercise.

Granted, exercising when you’re pregnant is far from the easiest thing in the world, particularly as you move later and later into pregnancy, but even a light walk around the block — even if it seems more like a marathon — can do wonders for your energy level, and releases endorphins that could help make you happier overall.

Skip the fried food and have some fruit or protein

Our bodies are finely-tuned machines, and they need the right fuels to run most efficiently. Fried, fatty, and processed foods can greatly contribute to fatigue, in addition to causing heartburn, bloating and other unwanted side effects. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats like chicken, and complex carbohydrates are your best bets during pregnancy, and especially if you’ve been battling against the shadow of fatigue.

Foods that contain a lot of Vitamin B6, like bananas and chicken, are especially good for boosting your energy level, as B6 helps your body recharge, and boost its serotonin levels, which will get you feeling better and more energized overall.

Eat something with magnesium, or take a magnesium vitamin

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that we don’t hear too much about, as it is crucial for many bodily processes to occur, like converting sugar into energy. Women with deficient magnesium levels tend to have higher heart rates, and need more oxygen to accomplish physical tasks, however small.

The suggested daily intake of magnesium during pregnancy is only about 350 mg (compared to 310-320 mg for non-pregnant women), and magnesium is included in some prenatal vitamins, but not all of them, so you should make sure that either yours has magnesium, or you are getting enough elsewhere in your diet that you won’t have a deficiency.

Almonds are among the foods highest in magnesium (not to mention high in protein and fiber), and are light on your stomach, so they are among the best bets for energy that you could possibly eat during pregnancy.

Drink some water. Really.

Your body needs lots of water to function at its best, so if you aren’t getting enough fluids, you may notice some undesirable results. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of fatigue, so for this reason (among many, many others) you’ll want to drink at least 64 oz. of water (about 8 glasses a day) in order to keep your body running smoothly, and preserve your energy.

Having a BPA-free, non-toxic reusable water bottle is an excellent way to help make sure that you have easy access to water throughout the day.

Get more regular snacks

Your body gets its energy by burning calories, so it’s important that you eat enough in order to stay energized, but oftentimes, three meals isn’t enough. Eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day can seriously help you replenish your calorie pool, giving your body plenty of resources to make energy.

Snacking is especially important if you’re dealing with morning sickness, as it can be extremely difficult to stomach full meals. Light snacking every couple of hours will help keep some food in your stomach, and keep you alert and awake, despite the nausea and fatigue.

Use caffeine wisely

Traditionally, pregnant women have been advised to stay away from caffeine during pregnancy, believing it may be responsible for miscarriage and birth defects. However, most data shows that a moderate amount of caffeine (about 200 mg, or a cup or two of coffee a day) is safe for your developing baby.

This said, caffeine can contribute to other annoying pregnancy symptoms, like difficulty sleeping, restless legs, and constipation, so it is probably a good idea to at least cut down on caffeine during pregnancy.

You do not need to cut out caffeine in order to have a healthy pregnancy — if you’ve been a coffee or tea drinker for a long time, and need a cup to get going in the morning, it’s still normally safe to indulge. The most important thing is that you don’t depend on solely on copious amounts of caffeine throughout the day in order to keep your motor running. 

  • Nutrition During Pregnancy: Part I Weight Gain: Part II Nutrient Supplements. Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Nutritional Status During Pregnancy and Lactation. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 1990. Web. Accessed 12/6/17 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235223/. 
  • “Staying healthy and safe.” WomensHealth.gov. US Department of Health and Human Services, Feb 2017. Web. Accessed 12/6/17. Available at https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/staying-healthy-and-safe. 
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