Low energy? Constantly in need of a nap? Feel compelled to lay down just about anywhere?
Fatigue is very common during pregnancy. It is estimated that about 50% of all women report fatigue during pregnancy, and with good reason.
Your hormones are having a free-for-all. The resulting increase in progesterone makes you feel sleepy and exhausted - like you can barely make it through the day.
Add to that sleep difficulties so common during pregnancy, especially late pregnancy, and the result is ONE TIRED MAMA.
Here are 5 things that helped me (and many others) combat fatigue.
1 - Walk, exercise and stay moving. This seems counterintuitive. But exercise will actually boost your energy and mood. Try prenatal yoga, light swimming or just walking. Exercise also helps you have an easier, more comfortable birth.
2 - Eat smaller, more frequent snacks/meals. Make sure to include protein, healthy fats and healthy carbs (vegetables, fruits, some whole grains), and avoid sugars and refined grains.
3 - Drink plenty of fluids. Water is best. Herbal teas and smoothies with coconut milk, fruits and green, leafy vegetables are great too. Avoid caffeine as it depletes your fluids and taxes your adrenals. I occasionally drank a natural energy drink called Boost It Up™, which is formulated especially for pregnant and nursing moms. It has no artificial flavors, preservatives, gluten, sweeteners or caffeine.
4 - Make sure you get enough iron. While it’s normal to be tired, fatigue can be a symptom of low iron. Iron deficiency affects about 50% of pregnant women. Iron-rich foods include red meat from grass-fed cows, poultry, seafood (avoid high mercury fish), dark green, leafy vegetables and beans.
You can also get iron in an iron supplement. Because some iron supplements can cause constipation, start with a lower dosage. Or, start by taking a prenatal vitamin with iron, which typically has a lower iron dosage than a dedicated iron supplement.
5 - Take a prenatal vitamin with a methylated folate, NOT folic acid. Why? Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate. It is not fully metabolized by the body.
Most people, including many doctors, assume that folic acid is simply the supplemental form of folate, but there are some important differences. Recent research shows that folate should be used rather than folic acid.
Folic acid is known to mask vitamin B12 deficiency which can zap your energy.
Although folic acid has become commonplace in most supplements because it is cheaper, more than 50% of the population have a genetic variation preventing them from getting any benefit from folic acid, or converting such a small amount of it to a bioavailable nutrient, leaving it essentially useless. This variation is known as MTHFR.
That means that many women taking prenatal vitamins with folic acid are not getting the folate they need. Not only do they face energy depletion, they are putting their baby at risk for neural tube defects - like spina bifida, skeletal deformities, anemia, lung and kidney malfunction, brain deformities, and underdevelopment of the heart, blood vessels, adrenals and eyes.
Furthermore, unmetabolized folic acid in the blood stream is associated with decreased immune function.1 Some research shows that unabsorbed folic acid in the blood can increase risk of certain cancers.2
Prenatal Vitamins With Methylfolate
By contrast, taking L-methylfolate, the natural and active form of folate found in our bodies, improves lifelong health and helps protect against neural tube defects.
Methylated folate activates, synthesizes, and repairs DNA to support healthy neurological development. That's why it ensures optimal neurological development for your baby.
It is free of the side effects associated with synthetic folic acid, can increase your overall energy and help with sleep.
BEST Prenatal™ Vitamin is one of the only one-a-day prenatal vitamins I know of that contains both L-methylfolate and methylcobalamin, rather than their less-absorbable, synthetic counterparts.
It is also a 100% natural, whole-food based vitamin, and contains a unique organic herbal blend supports you before, during, and after pregnancy, IVF, and breastfeeding and helps ease morning sickness.
It’s $36.99 on the Best Nest Wellness website, and I got it for $34.95 on Amazon.
Update: The awesome team at Best Nest Wellness is extending an exclusive limited-time offer to our readers. Follow this link to get 20% off a 3 month supply of BEST Prenatal™ Vitamin (normally $34.95) + free shipping with Prime!
2 Smith AD, Kim YI, Refsum H. Is folic acid good for everyone? Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):517-33.