This Baby Is Eating My Brain!
April 19, 2005 6:42 PM   Subscribe

I am about 7 weeks pregnant, and still at the stage where we're keeping it a secret from almost everyone. I feel fine, except I'm so mind numbingly tired that I can't seem to function normally, which is increasingly becoming a problem at work. My midwife has made some suggestions, but none have worked for me. Any suggestions for foods/supplements/strategies that can help me feel less exhausted and non-functional would be greatly appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This is the most glorious time of your life. Do not hide it. Celebrate it. Best wishes and blessing to you and your child.
posted by caddis at 7:21 PM on April 19, 2005

Get twelve weeks pregnant. The energy will come back. Stay away from the caffeine, or keep it to less than 60mg a day. Get your partner to pick up the slack, that's what they're for.
I hope people haven't already told you all this. %)
posted by britain at 7:28 PM on April 19, 2005

When I say slack, I mean home slack, not work slack. I'm sure there's no slack at work. I just meant you should be able to rest at home as much as possible.
posted by britain at 7:29 PM on April 19, 2005

It doesn't seem to be about celebrating vs. hiding, but rather that the first trimester is traditionally a risky time, so people tend not to broadcast the news until everything is well underway. People also have various work situations where pregnancies are well or poorly received, despite the fact that there are laws about such things.

To the original question - I've never been pregnant, but know that many of my friends report the exhaustion clearing up by about week 12. Perhaps you can just claim some "under the weather" issues till then and get as much sleep as you can. Green tea probably is a safe mild stimulant...
posted by judith at 7:31 PM on April 19, 2005

(I've never been pregnant) but a friend recently had her 3rd baby, she worked full time through out her pregnancy, plus chased after her 2 other little ones! To keep the energy up she ate LOTS of fruit and veggies, did aquasize and attended a yoga class specifically for pregnant women, she felt it really did help! Good luck with everything :)
posted by bluehermit at 7:33 PM on April 19, 2005

B-12 vitamins. Make sure you're taking a folic acid supplement as well. If you have morning sickness, take the vitamins at night with a small snack, right before bed.

Take naps. You won't feel refreshed afterward (for a few weeks, anyway) but your body is tired for a reason. In fact, just last week you started growing a brain (the baby's brain, I mean) which is a lot of hard work for your body. Take naps at lunch in your car, or confide in a female superior at work so that you can nab an empty conference room or something for 3pm snoozing. Sleep as long as you can. Don't let it get you down - in a few weeks you'll be feeling much better. This is the worst of the fatigue (till baby comes, anyway). Good luck, and congratulations!
posted by annathea at 7:35 PM on April 19, 2005

Both times I've been pregnant my first trimesters were hard on me - I was always exhausted, couldn't do much physically (I was waitressing with my first and found it very hard to go up and down the stairs in the restaurant carrying trays), and nauseated most of the time. And yeah, it is hard when you haven't told anyone yet, trying to explain why you're so draggy. Maybe you could imply a change-of-season cold, or allergies? It *does* get better when the first term is over; the second trimester is usually an easier time, so only a few more weeks to go.

If your prenatal vitamins make you sick you can substitute children's chewables, two a day; make sure they total up to as much folic acid and iron as your prenatals have. Try to eat in a grazing pattern during the day so your stomach is never totally empty and you always have a little energy to draw on - that will also help with any nausea you might be having - keep your meals fresh and light, try to avoid processed or heavy foods. Drink a lot of water. Nap whenever you can. Take walks outside and get fresh air, open your windows. Make a tolerably firm and predictable schedule and keep to it, don't overload yourself - it really helped me to know I only had to get through two more hours, and then I could sleep, for example. Try ginger candies or ginger tea to help any nausea and wake you up a little bit. Congrats and good luck.
posted by Melinika at 8:31 PM on April 19, 2005

I'll second the B vitamins. Take a vigorous walk every day--assuming you don't have a heart condition or some other issue that would preclude physical activity. The resulting adrenaline buzz might help. Go to bed as soon as you feel like it in the evening. I think I slept 10 hours or more some nights.

You need iron, as you are increasing your blood volume like crazy. Try to eat iron with a vitamin c food to help with absorption, e.g. dark green leafy veggies with fresh cut tomatoes, meat with citrus juice or tomato paste, etc.

Getting through this part is hard, but hormone nirvana, lush hair and a voluptous figure are just around the bend. Good luck!
posted by whatnot at 9:35 PM on April 19, 2005

I'm in week 19 of pregnancy #5, and I've worked up some tricks.

* Stay extremely well hydrated.
* A supplement that covers the entire B spectrum will not only help boost energy, there is some evidence that it will help zap any lingering morning sickness.
* A good complex carbohydrate for breakfast (oatmeal, whole grain toast, etc.) plus some fruit is a good start. Small snacks of raisins and other dried fruits (get organics) and nuts will help keep you energized.
* Make sure that you're eating well in general. I've had a lot of success (even as a vegetarian) with the eating plan outlined by Dr. Brewer.
* Nap. If you can't nap during the work day, crash as soon as you get home. Now isn't the time to worry about housework or other activities if you're not feeling energized enough for them.
* Get a bit of exercise at lunch time. Nothing heavy, but a lap around the building/parking lot/block can give you some momentum to get through the afternoon. A series of gentle stretches morning and evening will also help with any back pain or bloating that you may be experiencing.
* Enjoy your pregnancy!
posted by Dreama at 9:37 PM on April 19, 2005

Yogurt, milk, ice, banana into the blender and whip. My wife appreciated me making her those, and it's darn easy. Actually, most of the stuff mentioned above about vitamins and folic acid is good. Congratulations and good luck! Staying positive is one of the greatest things you can do for your baby's development now, through the potential morning sickness (doesn't happen to everyone, every pregnancy really is so VERY different) and down the home stretch. Keep your eyes on the prize.
posted by planetkyoto at 10:00 PM on April 19, 2005

I had miserable first trimesters for both pregnancies, and nothing really worked. The first time, I just pled allergies/flu, like Melinika suggested, and took my allotment of sick days. But I felt guilty - like I shouldn't make allowances for my condition until it became physically more apparent. But the first trimester is usually the most uncomfortable, except for the last few weeks or so. This time (I'm almost at 34 weeks now), I was like - screw it, the stick I peed on turned blue yesterday and I feel like crap - and then took my allotment of sick days. The second trimester is great - you have this little bump to show off, you're not completely sick of your limited maternity wardrobe, and you feel so much better comparatively. So I guess I am violating the ask.mefi rule by not contributing any concrete suggestions to the discussions beyond the advice that all of these ideas, while good, might not get your energy up. So don't feel bad about taking it easy while you can. And it gets better. And then worse. And then slowly better again. And then it's great!
posted by bibliowench at 10:39 PM on April 19, 2005

I was going to suggest coenzyme Q10 but unfortunately it seems that it is not recommended due to a lack of research into its effects in pregnant women. One thing that you can take is fish oil supplements (not those made from the liver which contain too much vitamin A). Google for "omega 3 fish oil pregnancy", you'll find a ton of information on possible benefits for you and the baby. Also, I am not pregnant (or even a woman!) but my energy has increased unbelievably since I started exercising.
posted by teleskiving at 4:26 AM on April 20, 2005

I second annathea; rest when you can at home as your body is working very hard right now. My midwife said one cup of coffee a day was absolutely fine and it really helped me.
posted by Mrs. Green at 6:05 AM on April 20, 2005



Also, what bibliowench said; definitely try any/all of these suggestions. They might not fix it for you, but they'll help at least a little. Your body is busy doing a very complicated exhausting amazing thing right now, so allow yourself to relax - inside you're working triple time.
posted by raedyn at 7:25 AM on April 20, 2005

I remember what you're describing. It felt for a while like I had been hit by African Sleeping Sickness. My husband and I were out at a diner, I leaned on my hand as I listened to him talk, and the next thing I knew I he was shaking me awake. I was snoring as I sat there.

It will pass. Just wait until you're further along.
posted by FunkyHelix at 7:31 AM on April 20, 2005

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