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Dealing with fatigue during your pregnancy

3-minute read

Feeling hot, tired or faint is quite common during pregnancy. Hormonal changes taking place in your body at this time can make you feel nauseous and emotional.

Being tired and run-down can also make you feel low. Try to look after your physical health by eating a healthy diet, doing some gentle exercise and getting plenty of rest and sleep.

It’s common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy.

Feeling hot

During pregnancy you’re likely to feel warmer than normal. This is due to hormonal changes and an increase in blood supply to the skin. You’re also likely to sweat more. It helps if you:

  • wear loose clothing made of natural fibres, as these are more absorbent and breathe more than synthetic fibres
  • keep your room cool — you could use an electric fan to cool it down
  • wash frequently to help you feel fresh
  • drink plenty of water

Feeling tired

It’s common to feel tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks or so. If you have morning sickness, fatigue can also make the nausea worse. Feeling tired won’t harm you or your baby, but it can make life feel more difficult, especially in the early days before you’ve told people about your pregnancy.

Later in pregnancy, you may feel tired because of the extra weight you are carrying. As your baby gets bigger, it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You might find it uncomfortable lying down or, just when you get comfortable, you have to get up to go to the toilet.

Your sleep patterns change when you are pregnant and you are likely to have less deep sleep and to wake up more often during the night.

The only answer is to try to rest as much as possible. Make time to sit with your feet up during the day, and accept any offers of help from colleagues and family.

You can read more about getting better sleep during pregnancy on the Sleep Health Foundation website.

Feeling faint

Pregnant women often feel faint. This is because pregnancy affects your circulation. If your brain does not getting enough blood and your oxygen levels get too low, it may cause you to faint.

You are most likely to feel faint if you stand up too quickly from a chair, off the toilet or out of a bath, but it can also happen when you are lying on your back.

Here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Try to get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
  • If you feel faint, sit or lie down and put your head between your legs until the faintness passes. If it doesn’t, lie down on your side.
  • If you feel faint while lying on your back, turn on your side (it’s better not to lie flat on your back in later pregnancy or during labour).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat regularly to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Make sure you let your doctor or midwife know if you frequently feel dizzy or faint.

If you feel very dizzy or faint early in the pregnancy and you also have bleeding from your vagina or tummy pain, you could have an ectopic pregnancy. It’s important to see a doctor right away.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: November 2020


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