Q: I’ve felt so tired during my pregnancy that even getting up for work every day is becoming difficult. Are there any safe, natural ways to boost my energy?
A: Fatigue associated with pregnancy ranges from mild to debilitating, and it most commonly occurs in the first trimester but often reappears during the third trimester. The good news is that you can increase your energy levels naturally by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Start by following a satisfying and nutritious anti-inflammatory diet (one high in a variety of organic fruits and vegetables and as few processed foods as possible), being sure to avoid rapidly digesting carbohydrates, such as white bread, and staying well-hydrated. Commit to daily exercise even when you feel tired—aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, almost always makes you feel better, all the more so if you walk outdoors. Accept your need for more sleep by going to bed at an hour that realistically enables you to get eight to nine hours a night, and nap when you can—catnaps of 15 to 20 minutes can be rejuvenating.
Although the American College of Obstetricians and gynecologists concluded that moderate caffeine consumption (less than 200 milligrams or 1½ cups of coffee per day) doesn’t contribute to miscarriage or preterm birth, I don’t recommend regularly drinking caffeinated beverages during pregnancy or using natural stimulants, such as rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) or ginseng. Their stimulant effects might adversely affect your sleep and moods.
Speak with your doctor if you’re pregnant and experiencing persistent fatigue—he or she might want to run tests to make sure you’re not suffering from anemia or hypothyroidism. You can also search my website (drweil.com) for sample anti-inflammatory diets and how-to articles on breath work.
Have a question for Dr. Weil? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Answers are not intended to replace advice from your doctor; always consult your caregiver before making any changes in your prenatal routine.