Today I want to talk about something that I personally experienced, and I think a lot of expecting women experience: Pregnancy fatigue. And specifically, how to combat pregnancy fatigue and boost energy level naturally. First, let’s just acknowledge that pregnancy fatigue is nothing to feel ashamed of. It’s totally natural, and a part of the process. You are growing a human! It’s normal to feel tired all the time while you’re pregnant! So go easy on yourself and lean into it when you have to. Pregnancy changes your body in so many ways, including your energy levels. It’s typical to feel the most tired in the first 12 weeks and the last 12 weeks. I definitely experienced that!
Natural Energy Boosters For Pregnancy
In the early stages of pregnancy, specifically the first trimester, one of the reasons why you feel pregnancy fatigue is because you’re building your placenta. It slowly develops in your uterus. The placenta is the organ that supplies the nutrients and oxygen needed as your baby grows.
In addition to growing an organ, in the first few weeks of pregnancy your body is producing more blood. As your body changes, your hormones also fluctuate to support the growth of the fetus. Your adrenal glands and placenta will produce estriol, an estrogen, in the first trimester. It’s also known as the relaxing hormone because of its mild sedative effect. Therefore, pregnant women will experience tiredness in early pregnancy. I took naps in the afternoon most days of my first trimester and I’ve never been a napper! (Being self employed definitely helped me fit that into my day!)
To top it all off, pregnant women experience lower blood sugar and lower blood pressure, which also contributes to your feeling tired. One of the best ways to combat tiredness and exhaustion during pregnancy is to eat energizing foods and graze throughout the day, and slightly alter your lifestyle to make sure you don’t slip deeper into fatigue. So, below is a list of natural energy boosters for you to try during pregnancy.
Below I’m going to share activities and food that helped me boost my energy during pregnancy naturally.
(And many of these have helped me even after our baby arrived!) However, before trying anything on this list, always talk and consult with your OBGYN. Don’t just follow my tips to combat pregnancy fatigue without keeping your doctor in the loop. You always want to take extra precaution to avoid any issues during pregnancy since every pregnancy is different.
Let’s start with the things you can do, even at home, for a natural energy boost!
Get More Vitamin D
Vitamin D is proven to be one of the best natural ways to gain more energy. You can take a supplement, or even better, get your Vitamin D naturally through sunlight. Personally I recommend getting outside first thing in the morning to go for a walk and get some sun. I walked a LOT in my first trimester, especially since I was injured and couldn’t run.
The sun is the ultimate energy boosting, pregnancy efficiency trick. You’ll get your Vitamin D, get your body moving, AND getting sun exposure first thing in the morning helps regulate your circadian rhythm! And that will help you naturally feel more energized in the morning as well.
Move Your Body
Staying active during pregnancy is super important for maintaining proper blood flow, avoiding blood clots, and for feeling energized during pregnancy. Some women are concerned with their heart rate while exercising when pregnant, but there’s no heart rate limit during pregnancy that’s prescribed for most pregnancies. The main thing is to not over exhaust or exert your body. So if you’ve never had a workout routine, you’ll want to start slow. And if you’ve already been taking spin classes (or Peloton classes!), it’s probably okay to keep going. Just don’t go too hard and listen to your body. Also, always talk to your doctor and get the okay. You can share your current workout routine with your doctor and get their feedback.
Here’s what I personally recommend. You can take daily walks, stretch, swim, ride a stationary bike, or do yoga. Just be careful not to over stretch or use too much core strength. I also golfed throughout my pregnancy, including on our babymoon and on the day I went to the hospital! The right pregnancy workout outfits will help you be much more comfortable too!
If you like running, read this post on running during pregnancy which can also help. Always follow your physician’s advice, pace yourself properly when exercising, and stay hydrated. Again, if/when you feel uncomfortable, stop what you’re doing immediately.
Switch From Coffee To Green Tea
Coffee can make some pregnant women sick. I couldn’t stand it in my first trimester! So one of the best options is to drink green tea instead of a cup of coffee. It contains less caffeine, but still provides a little energy boost. You’re also less likely to crash from green tea. I especially loved matcha in my first trimester. Stay away from energy drinks that tend to be loaded with chemicals and artificial sweeteners.
Drink A Lot of Water
Of course, drinking water is one of the best options to increase your liquid intake. If you want to spice up your water you can add lemon, lime, or frozen berries. Try to drink water consistently throughout the day rather than chugging it randomly. It will help with not needing to go to the bathroom every 15 seconds. Although, that will probably come eventually too.
Stay Out Of The Heat
Heat is draining. Especially when your pregnancy hormones are raging and you’re carrying around a developing human. As much as possible, stay out of the heat to keep your body cool and hydrated. When exercising or walking outdoors, choose the coolest time of the day or, better yet, stay indoors if you can until the temps drop a bit. We visited the mountains a few times to escape the heat and enjoyed afternoon hikes that were shaded most of the way.
Increase Your Liquid Intake Through Food
Water isn’t the only way to improve your hydration. You can increase your fluid intake through the foods you eat. For example, add more fruits to your diet. Or opt for soup if you have the chance. Celery, apples, watermelon, peaches, cucumbers, etc. are all packed with hydration and help keep you energized.
You’re building a human. At the end of the day, no matter what you do, your body is working overtime. So take time to rest and let your body recover. A nap, sleeping in, going to bed early, it’s all part of making sure that your body can recover and have the energy it needs to get through the day and provide the healthiest home for baby. Just try to find a balance between your day to day activities, workouts, and proper rest.
Best Foods For Boosting Energy During Pregnancy
Pregnancy fatigue is real, and the food we eat can seriously impact our energy levels. So if you want to increase your energy levels, add these foods to your grocery list.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts are great for boosting energy during pregnancy. They are high in healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Plus they’re rich in energizing folate, vitamin E, iron, potassium, and other vitamins for more energy. Oily seeds also contain antioxidants. I personally love almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. You can throw them in smoothies or top off a salad with them. I especially love this chia seed pudding!
Oatmeal is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates that help keep your blood sugar levels at a healthy level. It also contains vitamins and minerals that can help keep you and your baby healthy! Two cups of oats, with fruits of your choice, throughout the week is enough to add to your daily diet. I made this baked oatmeal a lot during my pregnancy, as well as steel cut oats!
Considered a superfood, sweet potatoes contains vitamin A and antioxidants, and it’s also a starchy vegetable. That means sweet potatoes help in increasing your energy levels. It’s also high fiber which is always a win during pregnancy when constipation is a common woe. Sweet potatoes are also on the sweeter side which can help satisfy your sweet cravings. I love one topped with almond butter and blueberries for breakfast! And baked sweet potato chips are always a go-to side dish with dinner and especially so during pregnancy! I also make them in my Instant Pot.
Apples can help regulate your blood sugar and increase energy because it naturally contains boron. Plus, apples are great for digestion and curbing hunger cravings. Apples are easy, as you can eat them as is or slice them up and add your favorite toppings. Apples are also super tasty with almond butter, dipped in chocolate, or even wrapped up in a slice of cheese.
Avocado is one of the best things you can eat during pregnancy. It’s healthy, is packed with nutrients (especially fiber!) and it’s versatile so you can add it in salads, in a sandwich or even eat plain or topped with sea salt. I even put it in my supergreen smoothie!
Think spinach, lettuce, and kale. Spinach and kale are loaded with iron, which is a key component of energy production in our bodies. Throw a salad together with tons of leafy greens, hearty kale, or even make a green smoothie with a handful of spinach in the morning and you’ll be good to go! You can get a lot of salad recipes here and I LIVED on this mint smoothie in my first and second trimester.
Salmon is one of the best proteins to eat while you’re pregnant. It’s loaded with healthy nutrients like Omega 3 fatty acids and is considered a clean, lean protein. But it also contains vitamin B6, niacin, and even riboflavin, which are proven to help convert food you eat into energy. Plus, studies show that eating salmon is great for baby’s development as well! Salmon cakes and foil packet salmon are two of my favorite, easy ways to prepare it.
What are your favorite natural ways to boost energy during pregnancy?
For all the mamas and soon to be mamas out there, would love your tips and tricks for staying energized! Share how you got more energy and make it through your nine months of pregnancy fatigue in the comments below. Also, I would love to know if any of you have tried my tips above and if they helped at all!