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Fatigue and Mood Swings During Pregnancy Fatigue and Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Fatigue and Mood Swings During Pregnancy

Fatigue and mood swings are very common during pregnancy.  They typically occur because of the hormonal and physical changes taking place in your body.

Fatigue During Pregnancy

Fatigue during pregnancy is so common that you should expect that it will occur during your pregnancy. 

Most women are more tired than usual during the first trimester of pregnancy and toward the end of the third trimester.  During early pregnancy, your body hormones that can make you feel sluggish and sleepy. Your body also changes the way it processes foods and nutrients and it needs to work harder to supply the needs of both you and your developing baby. During the last months of your pregnancy, difficulty sleeping and the additional weight of the baby further deplete your strength and energy..

The following suggestions may help you avoid excessive fatigue during pregnancy:

  • Rest when you can during the day, during your lunch hour, or before dinner.
  • Go to bed early since you may find yourself waking up several times during the night.
  • Try to reduce the number of times you will need to get up at night. Drink plenty of fluids but avoid drinking anything for 2-3 hours before bedtime so that you will not have to get up to urinate.
  • Try to eat your last meal of the day several hours before lying down or going to sleep so you can reduce the chance of indigestion and heartburn.
  • Gently stretch your leg muscles before bedtime to reduce the possibility of nighttime leg cramps.
  • Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • Do not be hesitant to ask your partner, children, or friends for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, talk to friends, relatives, and your health care provider about finding support and help.
  • Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of iron and protein. It is especially important to eat plenty of iron-containing foods during pregnancy.
  • Take a prenatal vitamin, an iron supplement, and folic acid as recommended by your health care provider.

Excessive fatigue can be a symptom of anemia, which affects approximately 50% of pregnant women, particularly if you also have shortness of breath, heart palpitations, weakness, pale skin, and dizziness. If you experience what you think is excessive fatigue, make sure to contact your health care provider.

Emotional Mood Swings and Pregnancy

You may feel elated at times and at other times depressed or anxious. Moodiness and frequent mood swings are very common during pregnancy.   Typically, this moodiness flares up in the first trimester, eases up in the second trimester, and then reappears in the later stages of the third trimester.

Mood swings are often related to hormonal changes that are taking place in your body and to the common, but uncomfortable, physical changes that accompany pregnancy.  Indigestion and heartburn, fatigue, frequent urination, sleeplessness, constipation, and worries about weight gain or looking "fat", worry about what can happen during the pregnancy, concerns about labor and delivery, how adding a child to your life will affect your future, how it will affect your relationship with your partner, and general anxiety about the future all contribute to moodiness and rapidly changing mood swings.

Some of the following suggestions may help you:

  • Try to keep in mind that emotional turmoil during pregnancy can be normal.
  • Educate yourself about the common concerns of pregnancy and recognize that many of the changes taking place in your body are temporary.
  • Eat regular meals and healthy food
  • Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
  • Ask your family and friends for support. 
  • Resist the desire to complete as many chores as you can before the baby arrives.
  • Make sure to try to include something that daily makes you feel good.

If your moods and mood swings seem severe or last for more than 2-3 weeks and do not seem to be getting any better, talk to your health care provider or a professional counselor. You may be suffering from depression or from some sort of anxiety disorder.

Additional Information

March of Dimes: Fatigue during pregnancy
Baby Center regarding mood swings and pregnancy

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