Exhaustion is an understatement during pregnancy.
As mom’s we understand that every pregnancy is different. The one thing that never changes is how exhausting it is to create life. Your body goes through so many changes over the course of 9 months and it feels like we never really get a break.
Don’t get me wrong, I love every one of my kids and I’d go through it all again in a heartbeat. But the extent of the exhaustion is something they really don’t warn you about.
1st Trimester of Pregnancy –
Congratulations! You just found out you’re pregnant and can’t wait to start feeling all the little flutters and kicks and experience everything that motherhood brings. But around week 5-6… BAM! You’re flat on your tail and can’t stay awake to save your life!
Oh and there’s also this terrifying thing that happens. We have all been told that bleeding during pregnancy is generally a bad sign. Around this same time that your energy is being completely drained from your body, you will probably have some light spotting.
GREAT! Blood when you’re not expecting or prepared for anything of this nature for the next 9 months. Here’s the good news. As scary as this is, it is completely NORMAL. Yes! Promise. Having spotting around 5-7 weeks is generally because the placenta is implanting itself to your uterine wall. This is a good thing. We want that to happen. We just don’t want to have the panic of thinking there is a possibility of a miscarriage or anything else going wrong.
I’m on my 4th pregnancy and I went through this scare EVERY SINGLE TIME! I know what it was. I knew why I was bleeding. BUT it’s still terrifying to see and not have a guarantee that implantation is the cause of the bleed.
During your first trimester all you’re going to want to do is sleep. And if you’re like me, you will take advantage of every quiet moment. (And even some not so quiet moments) Sometimes you just fall asleep in the middle of doing something.
Your baby is going though more changes now then it will for the rest of it’s existence. This requires a lot of energy usage in order to build the cells and organs and everything it takes to properly develop. And since the baby doesn’t have it’s own energy source yet, it is going to take it all from you. You are it’s only source of energy until birth. So take care of yourself and allow yourself to rest. It’s good for both of you.
In addition to wanting to sleep every second of the day, you may also be experiencing some nausea.
Some pregnancies are better, some worse when it comes to nausea. I was not able to eat anything but mashed potatoes for the entire first trimester! I tried to eat other things… but it didn’t stay down. (Yay! Cause I have the energy to vomit. I’m going to pass out now.)
Even the smell of cooking food would cause severe nausea and occasional vomiting. So, not only was I being drained dry of every bit of energy I naturally had, but I couldn’t manage to replace it with the necessary fuel. (Food)
This utter exhaustion does pass and eventually you do get your energy back a little bit. But not until your second trimester.
2nd Trimester of Pregnancy-
This is the most comfortable portion of your entire pregnancy. Your little baby is getting comfortable and is now well established in your womb. Everything is all set up and hopefully you are able to eat and sleep a little more like you used to.
You’ll still feel tired, but not as bad as before. After all, you’re still building a tiny human inside your body. That requires a lot of energy. Even though it’s not a conscious exertion, there is still plenty of effort being put into growing this baby.
The growth rate of baby is not as rapid during the second trimester and quite possibly why you aren’t as completely zonked all the time anymore.
We do have a new set of symptoms to introduce though. Such as, round ligament pain. UGH!
This is a side effect of your uterus growing and adjusting for baby. According to Americanpregnancy.org , “The round ligament supports the uterus and stretches during pregnancy. It connects the front portion of the uterus to the groin. These ligaments contract and relax like muscles, but much more slowly.”
Putting it bluntly…THEY SUCK! It’s tight, very painful and makes normal functions quite difficult.
This is also the time where all the good things start to happen though.
During your second trimester you’ll feel more regular kicks and movements of the baby. You won’t have to use the bathroom quite as much (for now), and you might even be having some fun food cravings.
Hooray for the second trimester! The redeemer of pregnancy struggles.
3rd Trimester of Pregnancy–
Welcome back to exhaustion and nausea. At least in my case. With all 4 pregnancies my nausea and exhaustion returns around the middle of the 3rd trimester. But how it comes is different than in the 1st trimester.
All the baby’s organs are in place and practicing what they’ll be doing outside of the womb. They need lots of practice while in there because there’s no going back. (Oops, not so good at this breathing thing yet. Let me go back in and practice some more till I’m ready to try again. -Baby) But now all they have left to do is practice living and getting fatter.
Your baby will gain most of it’s weight during the last trimester which means you have to feed it well. How do you do this? You eat! And eat! And eat!
But for the sake of yourself and the baby, try to eat the good stuff. Fruits and veggies, lean protein, and lots of water. While you are eating for 2, that does not mean you should eat 2 full meals. You’re eating for 1 full size human (you), and one tiny size developing human (baby). Baby doesn’t need a full steak dinner!
Here’s the thing though. Baby is taking up space in your belly so the amount of food you can consume at one time is less than usual. AND if you don’t consume enough calories for both of you….baby is going to take their share first!
(See, we start giving up everything for our children before they’re even born. )
This is a contributing factor to the fatigue we feel during this trimester. You can only eat so much at a time and if you don’t eat enough, baby gets their portion first and leaves you with whatever fuel is left. This is another reason to eat the right things.
There is also the fact that you are carrying around a lot more weight than your body is used to. Even if you have been overweight, this isn’t the same. You grew a 6-8lb human in your body in 9 months and have had to carry it around 24/7 . That is not an easy feat. And it’s not evenly distributed throughout your body. It’s ALL in your belly!
But it’s not just baby in there. You’re carrying baby, placenta and all that water. The average weight gain during pregnancy will vary depending on your body but generally ranges from 20-40 EXTRA POUNDS you are carrying with you all the time.
Ask your husband to carry a 30 lb sack of flour on the front of his body for 24 hours without putting it down at all. Not fun. Very tiring. But this is part of what we do.
Then there is always the actual sleep factor. I don’t know about the rest of you mommy’s out there, but I can’t get comfortable at all at night. Nothing I do matters. Lay on my left, restless legs. Lay on my right, groin pain. Try putting a pillow between my knees, no relief. Sleep on my back…yeah right. Baby crushes your organs and spine.
And it’s not easy to move to any different positions anyway. It takes many small movements in order to go from my left side to my right. So once you’re there you hope you can make it work so you don’t have to go through that adjustment again.
And let’s not forget that with baby taking up all that space in your belly, your bladder is smaller and can’t hold out as long. So you end up waking in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. More interruptions to your already inconsistent uncomfortable sleep.
Relief will come!
Once you have the baby everything changes. You’ll still be tired but it’s because your baby needs you. Diaper changes and feedings every 2 hours. Breastfeeding is exhausting and very uncomfortable in the beginning but so rewarding.
And just keep in mind that you will now be able to nap when your baby naps. Which is a lot in the beginning. Even a 20 min power nap will help.
All the pain and discomfort, exhaustion and nausea is worth it. But don’t ever let anyone tell you that pregnancy is easy. The easiest of pregnancies is still exhausting. And worth every second. 🙂
What was your pregnancy like? Did you experience anything like me? Are you pregnant now and I just freaked you out with my horror? Share your thoughts and your prego story in the comments. I’d love to hear how everyone else managed their pregnancies.
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