Along with many benefits, pregnancy can also come with many discomforts thanks to the huge amount of hormonal changes occurring in the body. Feeling hotter, more tired, and a bit faint through pregnancy is a common issue. We’ll expand on these discomforts in the following article and offer some tips and advice. Slight discomforts are normal, however if you notice any problems that seem unusual, make you feel ill, or are continuous, please raise these immediately with your health team or phone an ambulance in the case of an emergency.
Hormonal changes occurring in pregnancy can often result in pregnant women feeling faint. If your brain isn’t getting enough blood, it is therefore not getting enough oxygen and that may cause you to faint. This can happen when your body isn’t yet producing enough blood to fill its rapidly expanding circulatory system. High levels of progesterone can also make blood vessels relax and widen. This increases blood flow to your baby, but it can reduce your blood pressure.
Feeling faint can happen if you stand quickly after sitting on a chair or stand quickly from lying down or getting out of bed. Try to stand slowly. If you’re feeling faint when standing still, it’s important to sit down on a chair or the floor quickly and wait for the feeling to pass and if it doesn’t, lie on your side. If the weather is hot it is also important to drink plenty of water. If you are indoors a lot during the day, ensure you take regular breaks and get plenty of fresh air – a tip is to put your water bottle out of reach to encourage you to get up and mobilise.
Feeling the heat
When pregnant, hormonal changes and an increased blood supply to the skin can cause you to feel warmer than usual. By the end of your pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body will have increased as much as 50 per cent. As your body works harder to pump the extra blood it can also cause you to sweat more. It helps if you drink plenty of water to keep your body cool, wear loose clothing made of natural fibres like bamboo or cotton, and keep your environment cool using fans or air-conditioning. If it helps, try and shower more frequently in cooler water. If it is summertime, it’s the perfect time to go for a swim while getting some gentle exercise at the same time. Swimming can also help ease pregnancy aches and pains.
Tiredness and sleep
In the first trimester, it is common to feel tired or exhausted thanks to the hormonal changes taking place. In fact, it’s an early sign of pregnancy. As well as extreme fatigue, you may also feel nauseous and emotional so it’s important to get as much rest as you can. Being tired and exhausted can make you feel run down, so accept help wherever you can, look after your physical health by embarking on pregnancy-safe exercises and eat a healthy diet. Eating small, frequent healthy meals and snacks – which are comprised of protein, complex carbs and other nutrients – can help keep your blood sugar levels and energy steady.
The second trimester is generally when most pregnant women feel at their most energetic, and less tired, while the third trimester is when fatigue often returns due to sleep disturbances. The extra weight you are carrying can contribute to this, as well as added pressure on your pelvis which causes you to want to urinate more (particularly overnight). It is recommended pregnant women sleep on their side, so if you cannot get comfortable try using pillows as supports for your hips and legs.
Try and get rest in the day if you can or set earlier bedtimes if you know your sleep is going to be broken throughout the night. For an hour before bed, try too to relax your mind and body and switch off any screens. Having regular pregnancy massages in your last trimester has also shown to improve sleep.
For sources and more information about fatigue, tiredness or faintness in pregnancy visit:
- Health Direct: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/dealing-with-fatigue-during-your-pregnancy
- What to Expect (fatigue during pregnancy): https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/pregnancy-fatigue.aspx
- What to Expect (dizziness): https://www.whattoexpect.com/pregnancy/symptoms-and-solutions/faintness.aspx
- Healthline (heat safety article): https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/hot-pregnant