TIPS FOR IMPROVING ENERGY DURING PREGNANCY
Pregnancy is a beautiful gift, but the journey is not the same for everyone. This difference can include your energy level throughout pregnancy. For many, exhaustion or low energy is felt during the first trimester. Many factors contribute to this lack of energy, including hormone changes, increased blood flow, and emotional health and wellness (1). Luckily by the second trimester, many say they feel more energized, but some feel another round of exhaustion during their third trimester. Read on for some tips for improving your energy during pregnancy.
Movement and Energy During Pregnancy
When you’re feeling exhausted and possibly confused about whether physical activity is safe during pregnancy, it can be hard to get your body moving. The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) research shows there are MANY benefits to movement while pregnant. One benefit is improved energy levels (2). When you exercise, your heart rate and blood flow increases, resulting in better delivery of oxygen to your cells (3). This oxygen allows your cells to function better, and in turn lets your body use its energy more productively resulting in less “wasted” energy. Additionally, movement increases hormone release, giving you more energy (3).
It is important to remember that any amount of movement is good for you and your baby. Even a 10-minute walk can benefit and improve your energy. It is recommended to try and get a variety of movements such as resistance training, cardio, stretching and even pelvic floor training(2). Pelvic floor training can be extremely beneficial for pregnant women not only to help you control your muscles during labour and delivery but also to increase bladder control and reduce the chance of hemorrhoids (4). It is recommended that if you are feeling unwell when exercising that you speak to a healthcare professional to get the proper modifications.
Possible Benefits of Movement During Pregnancy (2,5):
- Reduce the risk of pregnancy-related illnesses such as high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and depression
- Better nights sleep
- Improvement in energy and mood
- Build strength for labour
- Prevent constipation
Well-Balanced Diet and Energy During Pregnancy
When pregnant, it is important to properly nourish yourself and provide your baby with the appropriate nutrients to support a healthy growth and development (6). A well-balanced diet includes vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and proteins(7). Including all types of foods however, especially those that you enjoy, is also important to both your physical and mental wellness. To learn more about building a healthy relationship with food, check out our blog post here.
It is also important to note that you need a little bit more food during your second and third trimesters. An additional 350 calories a day is needed in the second trimester and an extra 450 calories in your third trimester(8). Although there may be times throughout your pregnancy when you don’t have much appetite, try eating small, more frequent meals and snacks throughout your day (9).
It is also important to remember to hydrate yourself throughout the day. Similar to the increased nutrient needs during pregnancy, your fluid needs will also increase (10). It is recommended to limit large consumption of water or fluids before bedtime to reduce nighttime bathroom visits and help improve the quality of your sleep. Click here to learn more about your fluid requirements during pregnancy.
Sleep and Energy During Pregnancy
The more you sleep results in more energy. However, this is easier said than done when growing a baby and sometimes you just can’t seem to get comfortable. Try to take advantage of resting when you can. This might include mini naps throughout the day or planning to go to sleep slightly earlier than normal (1)
Tips for a better nights sleep (1,11):
- Go to bed slightly earlier
- Use Pillows
- Sleep on your side
- Move your body regularly throughout the day
- White noise
- Reduce or limit caffeine later in the day
Final Notes from The Nest
Overall, your energy levels throughout pregnancy will change, but there are things you can try to help feel better rested and more energized.Focusing on daily movement, a well-balanced diet, proper hydration, and sleep are important for improving your energy while pregnant. If you would like more tips for improving your energy during pregnancy, reach out to one of our Registered Dietitians for more support.
~ Article Written by Bailey McDonagh
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- Lack of Energy During Pregnancy [Internet]. American Pregnancy Association. [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/lack-of-energy-during-pregnancy/
- 2019 Canadian Guideline for Physical Activity throughout Pregnancy [Internet]. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology. 2019 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://csepguidelines.ca/pregnancy/
- Ricciotti H, Golen T. Does exercise really boost energy levels? [Internet]. Proquest.com. 2021 [cited 10 October 2021]. Available from: https://www.proquest.com/docview/2551593683?pq-origsite=primo&accountid=15115
- Kegel Exercises [Internet]. American Pregnancy Association. [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/labor-and-birth/kegel-exercises/
- Healthy eating when pregnant and breastfeeding [Internet]. Canada Food Guide. 2021 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/tips-for-healthy-eating/pregnant-breastfeeding/
- Eating for a Healthy Pregnancy [Internet]. Unlockfood.ca. 2018 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Pregnancy/Eating-for-a-Healthy-Pregnancy.aspx
- Healthy food choices [Internet]. Canada Food Guide. 2020 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-food-choices/
- Canada H. Prenatal Nutrition Guidelines for Health Professionals – Background on Canada’s Food Guide – Canada.ca [Internet]. Canada.ca. 2010 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/publications/food-nutrition/prenatal-nutrition-guidelines-health-professionals-background-canada-food-guide-2009.html
- Tips to Help You Feel Better During Pregnancy – Unlock Food [Internet]. Unlockfood.ca. 2020 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Pregnancy/Tips-to-Help-You-Feel-Better-During-Pregnancy.aspx
- Montgomery K. Nutrition Column: An Update on Water Needs during Pregnancy and Beyond. The Journal of Perinatal Education. 2002;11(3):40-42. https://doi.org/10.1624/105812402X88830.
- Sleep during pregnancy: Follow these tips [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. 2021 [cited 8 October 2021]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/sleep-during-pregnancy/art-20043827