Pregnancy can be an incredibly exhausting experience, especially during the first trimester when your body is working on overdrive to create a new human being. However, when you’re pregnant and raising a toddler at home, that exhaustion is taken to a whole new level.
I remember when I was pregnant with each of my kids. The first time around was a no-brainer. When I was tired and could no longer keep my eyes open, I would sleep. I would nap on the weekends and go to bed early when my body needed to rest. Of course, that’s much easier to do when you have no other children around to care for. With my second (and third) pregnancy, I found that getting the rest I needed became almost impossible, without a few major adjustments in my routine.
I learned that along with these shifts, I had to come up with some practical ways for mom to survive pregnancy fatigue, even with an energetic toddler at home. And that’s exactly what I did. These ideas can be incorporated into your already jam-packed day to get the much-needed rest you deserve!
Take naps together IF possible
I always hated hearing the phrase “nap when baby naps.” Because as moms we know that doing so is usually impossible, when you have a.) a baby that doesn’t sleep much, b.) an ever-growing to-do list or c.) other children to care for. So if your toddler still naps, consider yourself lucky — and ready to take advantage of it.
Take the time to rest when your child does. Even if you have piles of laundry and things that things to follow-up on, now is not the time to focus on that. Extreme tiredness during early pregnancy (first trimester) is one of the most critical times to follow the signs of your body — because your body is working hard to create another life inside of you. If you’re feeling weak or even the slightly bit of tired, you should find that quiet time for shut eye. You will feel much more energized and ready to tackle the demands of motherhood once you take care of yourself.
Teach your child simple, quiet activities
I cannot overstate the importance of teaching your active toddler to also engage in quiet easy-set up play time. After running after a toddler all day, you’ll both crave some down time. Set up some minimal effort, simple activities that are safe for your child to partake in while you lay down on the couch. This could mean, coloring books, reading books, playdough or their favorite animal figurines. Even if you are limiting screen time, turning on a cartoon for an hour while you rest will serve everyone well.
Maintain a proper diet
We all know healthy food choices while pregnant are a must. But your diet should also be well-rounded to ensure mom has enough energy and doesn’t burn out. Pregnancy cravings can no-doubt lead to snacking on cookies, donuts or even candy, but remember moderation is key. Too much sugar will only leave you feeling more sluggish and sleepy.
Finally, try to incorporate high energy foods such as fruits, leafy greens, grains, and nuts. These all help you to boost up your energy and while you’re pregnant, you really need that!
Keep yourself hydrated
Along with a healthy diet and proper nutrition, comes hydration.
Drinking enough water is one of the most important things you need to be doing while pregnant. It keeps your energy levels up but it also keeps baby safe and healthy. Your body uses tons of water at this time and you need to make up for it.
According to the experts, dehydration during pregnancy can not only lead to exhaustion, but also some serious pregnancy complications, including neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. These risks, in turn, can lead to birth defects due to lack of water and nutritional support for your baby.
A good rule of thumb for how much water to drink while pregnant, is half your body weight in ounces. So for example, a nurse recommended that a 140 pound person drink 70 ounces of water each day.
Go to bed earlier
In general, going to bed earlier works wonders for everyone. This is even more so when pregnant. Because staying up late, to try and sleep in doesn’t work so well. You are left feeling even more tired in many cases. As a pregnant mom, you should just plan on going to bed soon after your toddler is safely tucked into bed. Because from experience, I can also tell you that sometimes your toddler will NOT sleep through the night and neither will you!
Get help from family and friends
Okay so maybe you aren’t lucky enough to have a toddler that will nap…but you’re so tired, you’re about to fall over. It’s time to call in some reinforcements! Make sure you have a go-to list of local friends or family that can come to your aid on short notice.
Whether they take an hour to play with your toddler or help with housework, it will be time you can take to get the rest you need. And i’d strongly recommended finding a young girl in your neighborhood that can serve as your mother’s helper for times like these. Keep her number on speed dial and you’ll be in good hands.
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Ana, a mom to three rambunctious little boys, has supported thousands of women throughout their pregnancy and motherhood journey since 2012 as a prenatal and postpartum educator at MommysBundle.com.