Pregnancy and Wellness - Maintaining energy in each trimester


31 Aug 2022

Pregnancy and Wellness - Maintaining energy in each trimester

Dr Karen Joash
Pregnancy and Wellness - Maintaining energy in each trimester
Pregnancy is a wonderful state and it’s an amazing time of growth and excitement. It Is however a time of transition. Some of us can ease into this and stay energised some of us find it more of a squeeze. Energy is important for avoiding physical and mental fatigue. But what can make it easier for us all? Let look at each stage.

The first trimester challenge

There aren’t many women that get through this phase without any symptoms. The common ones are:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Tiredness

For tiredness and dizziness, make sure you keep well hydrated. Dehydration can lead to weakness, tiredness and make nausea worse. If water isn’t your thing, try adding a slice of fresh fruit, mint or ginger. Many women also find sucking on ice is a great way of easing thirst and vomiting.

Our protein requirements increase in pregnancy and are important to maintain our muscle mass and energy. You can get protein from foods such as eggs, meat, fish and beans.  Slow release carbohydrates are good to give you energy across the whole day. These include, sweet potato, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice. Try to minimise refined sugars such as sweets which aren’t great for teeth in pregnancy and can give you short bursts of energy then drop suddenly to make you feel tired and hungry again. Nuts and seeds are great for energy and packed full of essential nutrients such as omega 3. Make sure you have a diet full of fruit and vegetables which are full of energy producing antioxidants.

There are many nutrients which are important for energy levels in pregnancy. These include iron, folate, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. These are all involved in the pathways of energy production in our body.  Make sure you take a good supplement which contains good levels of these. Particularly iron and B vitamins which are important in preventing anemia which is common in pregnancy.

One tip is to try a homemade smoothie packed with nutritious energy items such as flax seed, berries, oats and iron-rich spinach; try adding in your supplement into your smoothie if you are finding it hard to take.

Most people find that their nausea settles by weeks 12 to 14. If you are finding it particularly hard please see your doctor who can prescribe anti-sickness or intravenous hydration with B vitamins (Pabrinex) which many women find to be a life saver!!!

The second trimester boost

Many women find they recover from the tiredness and vomiting or nausea. To boost and maintain energy levels the second trimester is the time to focus on exercise. Women are recommended to exercise around 150 mins per week. This includes

  • Walking

  • Pilates

  • Yoga

  • Strength training

  • Cardio such as running/HITT/swimming

Exercise boosts your metabolism and thus raises your energy levels. In addition, it builds muscle which helps you to feel stronger. It also boosts your serotonin levels and your overall feeling of happiness. In addition, it helps you to sleep better which is vital for restoring your energy levels.

So, exercise is a must if you want to maintain or increase your energy levels. If you aren’t doing any start off slowly with walking 20 mins and add in Pilates or simple stretching using popular APPs such as Baby2body.

The third-trimester aches

This is the time for a lot of self-care !!!! as many women report feeling tired with numerous aches and pains.

The common ones are:

  • Backache

  • Restless legs

  • Carpal tunnel/painful hands

  • Headaches

  • Pelvic and hip pain

Relaxation practices which can help include progressive muscle relaxation, a daily stretching routine and massages. These all promote blood flow into the muscles and the release of toxins which can cause cramps and stiffness.

The use of magnesium salts in the bath can also help to relax tired muscles and ease restless legs. Many women also find taking magnesium and beetroot supplements great for energy and for treating restless legs.

Collagen can also be safely taken in pregnancy and is great for joints, muscles and overall health.

Therapeutic options include reflexology which promotes sleep and reduces fluid retention; lymphatic massage to reduce swelling and edema; and osteopathy or physiotherapy for musculoskeletal aches.

A common symptom that occurs In the third trimester is reflux which can show as a bitter taste in the mouth or nausea. Try taking a probiotic, apple cider vinegar or over the counter medicines such as Gaviscon. If this doesn’t work see your doctor to provide stronger medicine.

Mental energy

There are several practices which help to reduce mental fatigue. These include

  • Mindfulness

  • Gratitude journaling

  • Short restorative naps

  • Stretching

  • Hobbies such as gardening, dancing and art or pottery

These all have the effect of reducing down the adrenaline-fuelled stress system and activating our calm mental health system. Our minds need to have a time to relax in order to reduce the chance of illness. It is important to realise that up to 30% of women are affected by anxiety and depression. Our schedules thus need to incorporate a restful time to reset and recharge.

Great nutrients for mental strength boosting include choline, vitamin D, probiotics and omega 3. Choline is important in memory processing and speed. Vitamin D is a precursor for serotonin our happy hormone. Probiotics are essential to promote healthy bacteria which produce serotonin and some studies have shown them to be as effective as a mild antidepressant. Omega 3 is important for the production and turnover of nerve and brain cells. Nut and seesa are high in omega 3 and are part of the MIND nutrition. Collagen also contains an important protein called glycine which is important in brain health.


 Hope these tips help you to energise and enjoy your pregnancy for more tips follow us on Instagram @purermama


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