combating pregnancy fatigue

What the experts say about dealing with pregnancy fatigue… and what a pregnant mother of a toddler says in response.

Fatigue is the unwelcome tag-along to pregnancy.


They say that the first trimester is the worst, the second trimester is the “golden” one, and the third gets hard again as your weight skyrockets through the roof and your sweet little baby is perfecting his karate moves in your belly.

But whoever ‘they’ are… I’m thinking ‘they’ have obviously only had one child. Or maybe ‘they’ are sane people . (You know the ones… the ones that space their children at least two or three+ years apart.)

The thing is, any pregnant mother of a barely-not-a-baby-slash-new-toddler knows that there is no “golden second trimester”… at least not how she remembers it from the first round of pregnancy (when it really was golden).

Because baby-growing combined with toddler-chasing just makes for two kinds of days: tired days… and super tired days.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, or not worth it (I wouldn’t trade being pregnant for anything!). But seriously… does tired get any more tired??! (Don’t answer that please.)

In my attempt to figure out how to deal with my exhaustion (and—to add insult to injury—insomnia) I’ve come across these tips from the professionals. These are things ‘they’ say that will help curb pregnancy fatigue:

1. Go to bed early.
2. Take a nap.
3. Eat mini meals.
4. Exercise.
5. Get help.
6. Eat healthy – lean proteins, veggies, water, etc.
7. Use essential oils such as grapefruit and mandarin.
8. Adjust your schedule.
9. Avoid stressful situations.
10. Avoid caffeine.

And here are the things that a baby-making mother of a 17-month-old recommends to help curb pregnancy fatigue:

1. Hire a house cleaner.

2. Figure out how to make your toddler nap three 2-hour naps a day and then go ahead and “sleep when the baby sleeps” for at least two of them.

3. Hire a cook to make your meals. (Any meals, not just mini-meals.)

4. Make sure you go surfing every day for at least an hour – channels or internet will do.

5. Get help… mental help if necessary.

6. Eat. Period. As in make sure you are actually getting a few decent meals yourself. (Handfuls of Cheerios with “no added sugar” don’t count.)

7. Ask your husband to use those essential oils to give you back and foot rubs.

8. Hire a babysitter so you can take naps, read home-decorating magazines, and watch re-runs of Friends. (I’m positive this will help with the fatigue.)

9. Hire a fairy-toddler-feeder to come over at mealtimes and deal with your vegetable-rejecting (and sometimes everything-but-toast-rejecting) fickle eater. (This will be a drastic stress-reducer.)

10. Find a money tree so that you can afford to hire the cook, house cleaner, psychologist, babysitter, and fairy-toddler-feeder.

Dear friends, my tips may or may not be realistic… but I’m pretty sure they would work in helping to curb that dreaded pregnancy fatigue. Have you tried any of these? Have I forgotten any good tips? Or perhaps you’ve stuck with the conventional tips as stated in my first set. Any luck with those?? I’m pretty much game to try anything these days.








About Author

Adriel Booker is an author, speaker, and advocate based in Sydney, Australia who believes storytelling, beauty, and the grace of God will change the world. Adriel has become a trusted voice in areas of motherhood and parenting, Christian spirituality, and global women's issues. She's also known for her work with the Love A Mama Collective—serving under-resourced women in developing nations through safe birth initiatives—as well as her years spent as a Bible teacher and leadership coach. Her latest book is Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss and she's made the companion grief journal available for free. Find Adriel across all social media platforms at @adrielbooker or sign up for LoveNotes, Adriel's 'secret posts' that aren't published anywhere else online. ✌️


  • Rosilind
    6 July 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Okay – I totally love this! And I had to chuckle because I relate on EVERY SINGLE LEVEL!!!!! Add to that, Robi is sick this week….we’re talking 104+ temps everyday…and it’s slated to last for 5 days and on the 6th day he’s supposed to get a rash. Yea, so I’m sitting here throwing myself a grand pity party themed, “Why Me????” And that whole idea of “nap when baby naps” – I’d love to punch the face of the person who thought up that line. Because how are moms with toddlers supposed to get certain housework done that way? I mean, if you mop the floors when a toddler is playing…well, just imagine a toddler running across a freshly mopped floor (as Robi has done once or twice – when I tried to follow the advise of this clinically insane person who thought I needed to nap when he naps!!!) Oh – and ironing – like I’m really going to iron when he’s awake, because I can just see him grabbing the cord and pulling the iron down right on his widdle noggin. Before I spew more bitter thoughts, I guess I better go put my swollen feet up and pray that a cleaning fairy will appear out of nowhere….maybe I’ll find a genie in a bottle or something. One can at least hope and dream (while dust collects and toddlers throw their toys from here to kingdom come). 🙂 🙂

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:31 pm

      oh, i’m so sorry your little one is sick. that’s terrible!!! i hope you survive this week. it can only get better, right??! x

  • Joey
    6 July 2011 at 8:24 pm

    My wife and I could relate. It was one thing for my wife to be tired when she was pregnant with #1. But then we had the same issue as you with #2.

    But the toughest was #3. He turned us into coffee drinkers. I wrote that here (and gave a link to a friend’s blog post about having 3 kids):

  • Kirsten
    6 July 2011 at 9:45 pm

    Unfortunately I can offer nothing helpful (other than hoping that those cooks, cleaners, and fairies show up for you 🙂 ), but I just wanted to say: What is it with the toast?! My 3-year-old would eat toast all day everyday if I’d let her. Weird.

    I hope you find some rest (or that money tree)!

  • Katherine
    6 July 2011 at 10:25 pm

    Can I add:

    Use the t.v. as a babysitter so you can power nap on the couch. And DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT. Repeat once baby number two comes.

  • Greta
    6 July 2011 at 11:38 pm

    “But seriously… does tired get any more tired??!” 🙂

  • Micheline
    7 July 2011 at 3:44 am

    Oh, I am so there with you, Adriel! Third trimester, fluctuating hormones, rambunctious toddler. I think the only way tired can get more tired is when the baby comes and the two have yet to get on a similar napping schedule, so no time for mama to nap. I’m kind of terrified of this pending tired.

    And I’m all about hiring a housecleaner, but of course my husband is hesitant to spend the money on one. But it’s not like he’s going to volunteer to deep clean the house. You know what his rational was for not hiring one? “But it’s just going to get dirty again.” I don’t even have a response for that.

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:35 pm

      here’s your response for your hubs: “yeah, it’s kind of like food – i keep buying it but it keeps getting eaten!” 😉

      i’m definitely hoping to get them on some sort of napping schedule quickly that will give me some sort of break through the day. the other thing i’ve started doing is giving levi some “quiet time” every day in his crib with some books and toys. i want him to be used to it now so that when baby is here i can do his “quiet time” during one of the baby’s naps. fingers crossed this strategy works and i can buy myself an hour somewhere! have you thought of trying for something like that??

  • Alicia
    7 July 2011 at 4:04 am

    Stumbled upon your blog last night. Read this post….loved it…. but I was to tired to post a comment. I can relate so well to the pregnant and very tired part of your post…..but I have yet to experience the being pregnant, tired & having a toddler running around. You’ll have to keep me posted on all the tricks that worked for you. 🙂

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:37 pm

      oh yes, no doubt you get so tired during any pregnancy! i hope you get the naps you need. 🙂 and congrats on your baby coming!!

  • carissa
    7 July 2011 at 5:48 am

    i get your pain… my kids are 16 mos apart. my 1st didn’t start walking until i was 8 1/2 mos pregnant. it was so hard. i say amen to all of these tips, with a special hallelujah to #9!!!

    i love your blog and your heart!!!

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:38 pm

      wow, that’s a tough one! and seriously, what’s with these kids and their food?? don’t even get me started. 😉

  • Nessa
    7 July 2011 at 6:37 am

    I think what needs to be said, is do anything that helps you stay sane. A sane mommy is a happy mommy and happy mommy make happy toddlers. If TV, the park, the neighbor or a couple baths a day can keep the toddler happy and you off your feet… do it!

  • Jessica
    7 July 2011 at 10:00 am

    And to think that pre-children, I thought I knew what real fatigue felt like! Ha! This pregnancy has been especially tough and has taught me that tired can get more tired. When baby #2 gets here, I hope to enlist the help of a lot of family members. Otherwise, I am not sure how I’d make it.

  • Michal Levison
    8 July 2011 at 2:17 am

    Pregnancy fatigue is REAL! I find myself falling asleep while walking. Chasing around a toddler while 40 lbs overweight in 90 degree heat is just cruel and unusual punishment. What did we do to deserve this??? I agree with your technique – hire hire hire. Let everyone else do the work! We’re doing enough, aren’t we? I also recommend massages, manis and pedis. Anything pampering…Get a sitter, and indulge in some treats!

  • Lori
    8 July 2011 at 2:27 am

    OK this is my most awesome toddler-having-pregnancy tip!
    1) Change into shorts and a sports bra.
    2) Lay a large beach towel on the bed.
    3) Get a small plastic bowl and fill with your favorite body lotion.
    4) Lay on your side in a half dazed coma while your toddler “finger paints” on your body and belly for at least a half an hour!

    ENJOY and remember, you will return to your normal self soon! When you’re in the moment it feels like you’re destined to be a zombie mommy forever, but it’s not true!

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:42 pm

      genius lori, pure genius. i will have to try it out. not sure if levi would last more than 30 seconds… but it’s worth a try anyway! love it!!!

  • Krystle
    8 July 2011 at 5:40 am

    Oh you are so right on. And after you have the baby (or in my case babIES) and they tell you to “sleep when baby sleeps”. um, yeah…and when is that? because my toddler is awake and the other baby is awake when the one is sleeping. right….
    🙂 Glad to have found your blog!

  • Jessica Fuller
    8 July 2011 at 6:30 am

    Yep, know how that feels. With baby 1 it was a breeze. Baby 2 I was constantly tired and ended up going into premature labor because I was so stressed out. Now, with baby #3 – I have hired a house cleaner, a dog walker/poo picker upper, my husband rubs my feet almost every day, and when I am cooking dinner (because I LOVE to cook and find it relaxing) he keeps my 3 yr old and 1 yr old occupied in the living room. I basically told my husband that if he didn’t want a “crazy hormonal grouch” who would have another few months of bed rest (and he could take care of both the kids by himself!) that I needed the help. If you have the extra money, I would def say get a house keeper. Mine comes once a week and charges $50. that $200 a month was worth me cutting back other things I didn’t really need and I get to keep my sanity!!

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:45 pm

      oh no! premature labor – that’s terrible! sounds like you’ve got a few things worked out for you this time around. i hope it continues to go well!! i have a really understanding husband too. what would we do without them?!

  • Rebecca Watson
    9 July 2011 at 6:22 am

    THat is adorable. I love this post 🙂 I would totally hire a babysitter just so I could watch t.v. – that would be my fantasy life 🙂

  • Dalia
    9 July 2011 at 9:17 am

    I can relate as well, not to mention I have the same exact collection of books:-) I have been thinking about whether I’ll be able to carry a little one again, but after 5 years, nothing’s happened:-( Even though it’s tiresome, it is such a joy and blessing to be a mommy to a bundle of joy. Many blessings to you.

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      9 July 2011 at 8:46 pm

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Dalia. I do hope you’re able to get pregnant again. Yes, pregnancy comes with some less-than-desireable side effects, but we all know it’s worth it. (((hugs)))

  • Branson
    11 July 2011 at 5:39 am

    My pregnancy was so hard from start to end that I do often wonder if I could handle being pregnant with a child to care for… Since I am no spring chicken, waiting til A goes to school isn’t ideal, so I guess I will just let God decide what would be best 😉 But if we lived nearby I would totally cook for you for free, as long as I didn’t have to clean up, haha.

    • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
      13 July 2011 at 10:32 pm

      hahaha, well, i’d probably ask you to just cook for me and then get my husband to pick it up from your place then. 😉

      on that note, tonight we had left-overs… again. lol.

  • Courtney @ The Mommy Matters
    12 July 2011 at 1:40 am

    I was exhausted the entire time I was pregnant with our son. From the time the positive showed up on the HPT until…well, usually I still AM exhausted. Napping was the life saver for me. My son still naps every day, and there are some days that I just have to crash with him. Hope you find an extra bout of energy soon!!

  • Kerry McCullough
    12 July 2011 at 4:14 am

    Oh man, I feel you. I just let the news out that I’m pregnant with baby #2- only 12 weeks along, but I am SO TIRED. I am constantly nauseous and exhausted and it’s so different having a toddler to take care of. When it was just me, I could slack off and rest, but that’s not an option this time around. I will be following along on your blog to see what works for you, since you’re a few months ahead of me 🙂

  • Adriel @ The Mommyhood Memos
    13 July 2011 at 10:35 pm

    yeah! i’m so, so happy for you!!! this is just fantastic news. (not the exhaustion part – duh – the widdle baybee part!) woop! very, very happy for you. oh wait, i said that already. 🙂

    i hope you start feeling less tired soon. maybe YOU will get that golden 2nd tri. you never know!! i sure hope you do. *fingerscrossed*

  • […] month I wrote my response to the experts about their recommendations for combating pregnancy fatigue (wondering if any of them have actually ever been pregnant themselves!), as well as about losing […]

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