Feeling tired is extremely common during pregnancy. Your body is working hard to support your growing baby and prepare for labor and delivery. Many women find they feel more fatigued in certain trimesters than others. Keep reading to learn when you’re most likely to feel exhausted during your pregnancy.
The first trimester is often when women feel the most tired and fatigued. There are a few key reasons why:
- Hormonal changes – Your body ramps up production of the hormone progesterone early in pregnancy. Progesterone relaxes muscles and makes you feel more sleepy.
- Lower blood pressure – Blood pressure drops during the first trimester, which can lead to exhaustion and dizziness.
- Lower blood sugar – Blood sugar levels may dip in early pregnancy, also contributing to tiredness.
- Nausea – Coping with morning sickness and nausea can be draining and zap your energy.
- Earlier waking times – Many women need to wake up early to urinate more frequently starting in the first trimester.
The extreme fatigue of the first trimester is often one of the first pregnancy symptoms women notice. It can be overwhelming and make it hard to get through your normal daily routine. Here are some tips that may help:
- Take naps when you can
- Go to bed earlier
- Eat frequent, small meals for steady energy
- Stay hydrated
- Ask for help with chores/errands
- Exercise regularly if possible
While fatigue usually improves after the first trimester, some women continue to feel very tired in the second and third trimesters too.
The second trimester (weeks 14-27) is often considered the “golden period” of pregnancy when nausea subsides and energy returns. However, some women continue to feel fatigued during the second trimester for a few reasons:
- Growing belly – Your expanding uterus and shifting center of gravity can feel tiring.
- Heart working harder – Your heart is pumping more blood to support your baby, which can be draining.
- Sleep disruptions – Many women have trouble getting comfortable and sleeping well in the second trimester.
- Anemia – Anemia from low iron is common and exacerbates fatigue.
- Round ligament pain – Abdominal muscle pain can sap your energy.
While you may feel a burst of energy after the first trimester, remember to continue pacing yourself. Don’t overdo it. Maintain the same healthy habits you established earlier in your pregnancy:
- Listen to your body’s needs for rest
- Take daytime breaks when possible
- Eat nutritious foods and stay hydrated
- Build physical activity into your routine
- Go to bed early when exhausted
- Ask your partner or friends for support
Second Trimester Energy Levels
In one study of over 600 pregnant women, researchers found that women reported the highest fatigue levels in their first trimester. Fatigue decreased in the second trimester but was still higher than pre-pregnancy levels. Here is a table summarizing the study findings:
|Average Fatigue Level (0-100 scale)
As you can see from the table, even though second trimester fatigue improves from early pregnancy, women still felt more tired than before pregnancy. Listening to your body and maintaining healthy habits continues to be important.
It’s very common for women to feel extremely fatigued again during the third trimester (weeks 28-40). There are several reasons for this:
- Metabolism increase – Your metabolism speeds up in late pregnancy to provide energy for your baby’s growth. This accelerates fatigue.
- Uncomfortable – Carrying around a heavy, full-term belly can be tiring and strain your back.
- Frequent urination – More bathroom trips disrupt sleep in the third trimester.
- Anxiety about labor – Worrying about the upcoming delivery can make it hard to rest.
- Lower lung capacity – Your expanding uterus presses up against your lungs, making breathing harder.
Make sure to continue giving your body the care it needs in the home stretch:
- Take daytime naps and rest breaks
- Try pregnancy pillows to make sleeping more comfortable
- Eat small, frequent meals for energy
- Stay as active as possible through walking, prenatal yoga, swimming
- Drink plenty of water
- Plan relaxing activities before bed like reading or baths
- Ask loved ones for help around the house
Coping with Third Trimester Fatigue
Studies consistently show that the majority of pregnant women report feeling “worn out”, “exhausted”, or “pooped” during their third trimester. Here is a table summarizing data from one study on 600 pregnant women:
|% Reporting Fatigue
As you can see, 85% of women said they experienced significant fatigue during the third trimester – more than the first or second trimesters. Being gentle with yourself and accepting help from others is key to getting through the final weeks before delivery.
When Are You Most Tired? – Conclusion
In summary, fatigue is most common during the first and third trimesters. The first trimester brings profound exhaustion from hormonal changes, morning sickness, and other early pregnancy adjustments. Many women start to feel improved energy in the second trimester, only to experience fatigue again as their due date approaches.
No matter which trimester you’re in, listen to your body’s needs for extra rest. Take naps, go to bed early, eat nutritious foods, stay active if possible, and don’t hesitate to ask loved ones for support. With proper care, you can help minimize fatigue and try to cope with those exhausting trimester transitions. Stay positive knowing this too shall pass!