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Dealing with Fatigue


Wasn’t it just yesterday that I carried all my precious babies? My children are all adults now but I will never forget the wonderful feeling of every child I carried.  Watching each sonogram and seeing the heartbeat is such an amazing experience. I wished my mom were with me during those days to give me advice on diet, rest, and baby care.  I relied on books because the internet came into my life only in 1996. Expecting moms are very blessed these days because there is a whole world of information out there.


I felt my body changing as it adapted a life-support system for my growing baby.   It is normal to feel some strain on your energy especially during the first trimester.   Renewed energy comes during the second trimester but fatigue could surface back in the last trimester.


Now, you need not feel all that tired if you are aware on how to beat pregnancy fatigue. Here are some tips:


1. Eat well and focus on energy boosters such as protein and complex carbohydrates.  Fatigue may be caused by low iron levels so eat iron-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, red meat, dried fruits, eggs, sardines, and beans. Of course check with your doctor if you experience extreme fatigue.


2. Eating frequent mini-meals and snacks ensures even blood sugar level that keeps your energy steady, as well. During breakfast, I took fiber-rich foods like whole grain cereals, oats, or brown rice.  These complex carbohydates provide a slow yet constant release of energy compared to foods that are high in sugar.


3. If you’re tired, get enough rest. As a general rule, if your body's screaming for ‘Sleep!', do what it says.  One way to getting enough rest is learning to say no especially at work. This means don’t bring work at home or volunteer for overtime work. Try not to travel too much with your job.


4. If possible, go to bed earlier, or stay in bed later — or do both.  If you have trouble sleeping, prop any old pillow between your knees to help ease any lower back and hip discomfort that you may experience while sleeping on your side.


5. Take short brisk walks . Not only will it make you feel energetic, but happier due to the mood-elevating hormones, endorphins.  It also aids in sleeping  better at night. More sleep tonight means more energy for the next day but  don't overdo it though.



It is wise to play safe and get medical advice if you're worried about unusual changes or extreme fatigue in your body. If your fatigue is severe and persistent, contact your medical doctor.

Is It A Boy or Is It a Girl?


“Is it a boy or is it a girl..?”


Next to “How many months are you on the way..?”, this is probably the second most frequently asked question soon-to-be-mothers face everyday.


For first time parents, the norm seems to be that the father usually wants to have a boy. But ask the mother what she wants her baby to be and the answer you’ll get is “Any! As long as the baby’s healthy!” And that’s exactly what my answer was every time I was asked that question.


To know or not to know.


I guess the foremost reason why parents usually want to know what gender their baby is stems from the fact that being first-time parents, they are both excited and nervous so they want to be prepared. What color should we paint our nursery? What baby accessories should we buy? Should we go with pink or blue? The list goes on and on…


But believe me, nothing compares to the excitement of not knowing what gender your baby is until that last push and your doctor screams “IT’S A BOY/GIRL!”


So yes, I personally chose not to know. On the other hand, Paolo wanted to know. But I was adamant in enforcing the “We-will-not-find-out-what-gender-the-baby-is-until-his/her-birth Rule”. And of course, he abided. J But you see, this has to be a joint effort. You can’t have one parent know and the other not know. Its just plain silly, if you ask me. The one who knows is bound to slip. So if you intend to keep the gender a mystery till the birth of your baby, again, it must be agreed upon and done by both mommy and daddy.


I must say, though, that it took quite a bit of willpower and patience to stop myself from asking the doctor what my baby’s gender was. But as I always say, patience is a virtue (and a good thing to practice, I might add) and good things come to those who wait. And the most wonderful being did come! The 9-month wait was definitely worth it. Lo and behold, I finally held the most beautiful baby boy in my arms --- my dearest Tomas. And the next pregnancy later --- and yes, I still chose not to know --- my dearest Lucas.



So my heartfelt and highly insistent recommendation is to give in to that element of surprise and live a little. Its only 9 months… Gee whiz. Worried about coming up with the perfect baby name? Well, prepare names for both a boy and a girl! And baby colors? Well, if I had a girl, I wouldn’t want an all-pink room like Barbie threw up in there anyway.


And hey, there’s always yellow. :)



Pregnancy Fatigue


You’re exhausted. You don’t know which way is up or down. All you want to do is lie down on a soft bed and sleep. Is this normal? If you’re pregnant, absolutely! For the first few months of pregnancy, many women feel lethargic. Fatigue is a common complaint. When I’m pregnant I can usually only last until 8pm everyday and then I need to be in bed. I also require daytime naps. I’m one of those women who normally has a pretty challenging three months.


Thankfully the tiredness usually disappears during the second trimester and you will feel as though you have gotten your second wind because your body has finally acclimated to housing the two of you together. The lethargy tends to make a reappearance during the final trimester, running up to the day you give birth.


What brings on these feelings of exhaustion? For first trimester fatigue, there are many theories about the causes. These include the high levels of progesterone your body is suddenly making, which can induce tiredness. Frequent bathroom trips during the evening as well as morning sickness will also contribute to your tiredness. For me this means I never get a restful night of sleep because I have to get up to go to the toilet every few hours. If you think that your weariness may be the result of something else, ask your doctor to test your iron levels because you could be suffering from anemia (tiredness is one of the symptoms).


Third trimester energy zappers include the extra weight you are carrying around as well as those routine trips you will probably have to make to the bathroom every two hours. Yes, you only get a respite from those frequent toilet visits during the second trimester so enjoy it. As I mentioned the extra weight will make you feel exhausted. I gained a total of 55 lbs. during my first pregnancy and carrying all that weight made it harder for me to get around and be active.


What can you do to fight pregnancy fatigue?

1. Get rest. It’s as simple as that. For me, taking naps really helped. Get to bed earlier. Learn to listen to your body and its needs.

2. Eat healthily. This will give you more energy. Cut back on the junk and eat nutrient-dense foods. 

3. Don’t forget to exercise moderately. This will help balance you and provide energy boosts. Always obtain your doctor’s approval before you embark on any exercise program. 

4. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water.


My advice to any pregnant woman is to sleep as much as she possibly. Take advantage of the quiet and solitude. Once your baby makes his entrance into the world, there is very little sleep to be had for the next few years.