HORMONE changes, weight gain and fatigue can all contribute to low energy levels during pregnancy, which can worsen as the pregnancy progresses. Caffeine is usually a nice “quick fix” for the non-pregnant patient, but high doses of caffeine are not recommended in pregnancy. So how can one get energy in pregnancy? Here are five ways:
Believe it or not, getting enough sleep is the first way to become re-energised. However, this can become difficult as the pregnancy progresses and the abdomen enlarges. Sleeping on your left side is advantageous as it increases blood flow to the uterus, foetus and kidneys. However, I recommend sleeping in whatever position you find comfortable to achieve a good night's rest. Pregnancy pillows are pillows that curve with the body, helping to support the back and abdomen during pregnancy and can help you get a good night's rest. Quick “power naps” during the day can also give an energy boost.
While pregnant, your diet should be extremely nutritious to aid with the development of the baby and also help you to fight fatigue. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables and consume a lot of water (seven to eight glasses per day) to avoid dehydration (which causes fatigue). Consume foods rich in vitamin C, A and B6. Avoid alcohol and excess caffeine, as not only are they harmful to the baby, but they can disturb the sleep cycle. Consume dairy-rich foods to help ward off leg cramps.
Pregnancy is not an excuse to avoid exercise; in fact, this is the time to exercise! Exercise will boost your energy levels even if you're not pregnant. It is recommended to do at least 20 minutes of exercise three times per week. Yoga and light weights are safe and recommended. Do not exercise before bed as this may disturb your sleep cycle.
This helps you to unwind both physically and mentally. It relaxes the mind and soul. Take 10 minutes per day to sit comfortably and encourage thoughts that make you happy. This decreases your blood pressure and also increases your energy levels.
5. Practise good hygiene
While pregnant, the body is more susceptible to infection and usually there is prolonged recovery. Common bugs like the flu or a stomach bug can lead to more fatigue and decreased energy levels as the virus takes over the body. Ensure you wash your hands frequently, use hand sanitiser, and are on top of your prenatal vitamins to decrease these bugs from entering the body. Avoid being around people who have the flu.
Dr Daryl Daley is a cosmetic gynaecologist and consultant OBGYN at Gynae Associates, 23 Tangerine Place, Kingston 10, and shops 46-50, Portmore Town Centre. He can be reached at 929-5038/9, 939-2859, 799-0588 or email@example.com.