Here's Why You Feel *Super* Sleepy During Pregnancy
For plenty of people, intense feelings of tiredness go hand-in-hand with a positive pregnancy test. But can pregnancy itself make you feel sleepy? There's a whole lot going on in your body at this time, after all.
As it turns out, many people feel wiped out while expecting. "Fatigue and sleepiness is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester," as Caitlin Szabo, MD, OB-GYN at Taylor, Suarez, Cook, Khan, and Zertuche (Atlanta Women’s Healthcare Specialists) tells Romper. The many hormonal changes associated with pregnancy are partially behind this fatigue. "There is a large increase in the amount of circulating progesterone which can cause excess sleepiness," says Dr. Szabo. Progesterone is the sex hormone that helps maintain pregnancy, as explained in Healthline. Metabolic changes during pregnancy can also contribute to these feelings of sleepiness, as Dr. Szabo further explains.
Plus, your morphing body can disrupt your ability to get a good night's sleep. "Later in pregnancy, fatigue is common because it’s often hard to get comfortable during the night, with increased weight gain and pelvic discomfort, making sleep in general very hard," explains Dr. Szabo.
That said, there are a few ways pregnant people can safely combat this fatigue. Staying well-hydrated, eating balanced meals, and getting rest whenever you're able can all help you feel less sleepy, Dr. Szabo suggests. For the first part, remember that feelings of dehydration can be intensified during pregnancy, so it's extra-crucial to drink up, as explained in Romper. Definitely talk to your medical provider about a healthy hydration goal throughout your pregnancy.
If you aren't typically much of a nap person, consider resting during the daytime as much as you can. Even people who have seen plenty of others go through pregnancy find the fatigue surprising. "I do think probably what surprised me most is just being so tired all the time," said first-time mom Jinger Dugger to Us Weekly. "I was never a napper, like having to take a nap, and now it’s like, 'Ooh! I think I want to nap every day!'" Consider following Jinger's lead and resting whenever you can.
Also, focus on making your bed as comfy as possible. Maybe it's time to consider a new mattress or topper, or even just a fresh set of cozy sheets. "Pregnancy pillows can help as well," says Dr. Szabo. There are plenty of pregnancy pillows in a whole range of shapes and sizes, including the Hiccapop Pregnancy Wedge Pillow, an Amazon bestseller. Making your bed and belly as comfy as possible might make all the difference in your ability to sleep better at night.
For the most part, it's super common to feel a little extra fatigued when you're expecting, especially during the first trimester, thanks to all the hormonal and physical changes you're going through. But keep in mind that for many women, by the second trimester you'll feel your energy levels start to pick back up, per What To Expect. In the meantime, do whatever you can to conserve the energy you do have and get the rest that you deserve.