By: Em Cruz
My daughter is 5 years old, turning 6 this year. So admittedly, my pregnancy experience is hazy and has been relegated to the back of my mommy mind. Well, everything and more came rushing back to me during the start of this year — when surprise, a pregnancy test came back positive!
After the initial high came an all-time low — in terms of my energy levels, that is. I had a hard time getting out of the bed and on days that I was able to peel myself out of it, I spent more than half the time in a seeming daze and counting down the minutes until I can rest my what felt like weary body again.
As it turns out, I’m not alone. This feeling of wanting nothing more than to stay in bed is quite normal for other moms as well. In fact, there’s already a term for it — pregnancy fatigue — and it is one of the most common and persistent pregnancy symptoms, especially in the first trimester.
The reason behind pregnancy fatigue is simple — your body is devoting all its energies in growing your little one (and his placenta). At the same time, progesterone — also called the pregnancy hormone, can also make new moms feel tired all the time.
While staying in bed all day can be a dream, it’s simply not possible for a majority of women. Moreso for working moms and nth-timer moms. So what does a working mom with a lively 5-year-old like me have to do to cope with pregnancy fatigue? Here are a few ways:
Sleep as much as possible.
Yes, getting enough sleep can be impossible for working moms, but I found that it really helped me cope with my pregnancy fatigue. It was hard, but I tried to cut my social media browsing and instead sleep along with my daughter on her bedtime. I also became a bonafide member of masa — masandal tulog (sleep anywhere club). I grabbed a few minutes of sleep or even rest whenever I can — while traveling in between errands, a few minutes in the afternoon, during commercial breaks while watching TV with my daughter. Every dull moment was an opportunity for me to relax and just rest.
Try to move it.
I was never much of an exercise person and my physical activities revolve mostly around running errands, walking during the commute to and from the office and my daughter’s school, and any activity with my daughter. During the start of this pregnancy, I mostly felt too tired to do any of these. But pushing myself to just wake up and do it got me through the day — even on times when I didn’t really felt like it. So if you’re the kind of mom who has her own fitness routine, then doing it regularly (of course upon the advice of your doctor while pregnant) can help give you a boost of energy to cope with pregnancy fatigue.
Eat through the fatigue.
Another thing that powered me through — literally, is by eating energy-rich foods. Eating and snacking on protein and complex carbohydrates-rich food such as meats, rice, and veggies helped keep my energy up.
Eat, eat, eat.
Aside from energy-rich meals, healthy snacking between meals also kept my energy levels steady.
Take it easy.
If there’s one thing that pregnancy has taught me, it is to listen to my body. So I did. I snacked when I wanted to and slept when I felt like it (as much as possible). I enlisted the help of my husband so I can take a break from some of our daughter’s activities and even household chores. I made a few adjustments at work. And edited my social obligations. Such adjustments might not be feasible for everyone but talking to your tribe — husband, family, friends, workmates — to make them understand and seek their help will definitely go a long way in lightening your load.
Discuss it with your doctor.
Just like every expectant mom who wants to ensure that everything’s normal and healthy in my pregnancy, I brought this up with my doctor. Because while pregnancy fatigue is normal for most moms, intense and persistent cases can be a symptom of an underlying health issue.
Em is MomCenter’s editor and a doting mom to a decisive yet sweet daughter and a new bubba. When she doesn’t have her hands full of motherhood, she moonlights as a geek and bibliophile. Follow her mom-adventures via her Instagram.