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5 tips to combat pregnancy fatigue

Here's how to deal with exhaustion during pregnancy.

pregnancy fatigue

Fatigue and tiredness are some of the most common symptoms experienced through the first trimester of pregnancy. As if nausea wasn't enough, pregnancy fatigue can be extremely debilitating, leaving you feeling exhausted—both mentally and physically—for weeks on end.

As we share in The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama, there are several reasons that you may feel extra wiped out during pregnancy. First, your body is diverting a lot of its energy to growing a human (and their placenta), supporting that growth with more blood, and helping your baby eliminate what they don't need. This is a lot of work.

Progesterone can also make you sleepy—and you have lots of it circulating during your pregnancy.

In addition, as your pregnancy progresses, it can be harder to find a comfortable position to sleep in. And once you do, you are likely to be awoken by the need to pee or from a kick to the ribs from your baby. Lastly, if you've cut down on or given up caffeine during your pregnancy, that doesn't help the fatigue situation much either.

If you are feeling extra tired these days, talk to your doctor or midwife—sometimes fatigue during pregnancy can be a sign of a medical condition, and you want to make sure nothing serious is going on.

Once you've been cleared, the good news is that there are ways to improve your pregnancy fatigue!

Here are 5 lifestyle adjustments you can make to fight pregnancy fatigue and feel more rested.


1. Get more sleep.

Okay, we know—duh. But there's science behind this seemingly obvious piece of advise. While all adults should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, pregnant women need to add 1 to 2 hours to that. Simply put, you need more sleep when you are pregnant. It is crucial to listen to your body so when your body is tired, sleep.

This includes adding naps into your routine (you're welcome). Nap as often as you can. Even if they are only 15 minutes long, naps can add a great deal of energy to your reserve. Research says that naps during pregnancy are healthy for you and the baby, so enjoy your slumber guilt-free.

2. Get moving.

If nausea hasn't left you completely out of commission, exercise is another great way to battle pregnancy fatigue. Once you've gotten the green light from your health care provider, exercise during pregnancy is considered safe and beneficial, and can help you to feel less tired.

The feel-good endorphins released when exercising can help increase energy and take your mind off the exhaustion. Attending a prenatal yoga class or enjoying a low intensity walk outside will provide a nice boost as well; just be sure to always listen to your body when engaging in any form of exercise.

3. Eat small, frequent meals.

Try to get into the habit of eating small, frequent meals throughout your pregnancy. Your body is processing food differently now. You are sending extra glucose (a form of sugar) to your baby to help them develop, which can make it easier for you to feel tired, or even light-headed.

Having a more constant supply of delicious energy may help you feel more awake. Here are the 10 most important foods to eat during pregnancy.

4. Say 'no'.

One of the most effective ways to combat pregnancy fatigue is to remove any unnecessary tasks from your plate—learning to say no might not be easy, but it's great practice for when the baby comes. Household chores can be the first to go on your to-do list during the first trimester.

Part of embracing "no" is learning to shift your mindset. We live in a go-go-go culture that thrives on the ideal of being "productive." Many of us are so used to pushing ourselves that it is virtually impossible to step on the brakes when something big comes along—like pregnancy. Remember that the work you are currently doing is the very definition of productivity. You are making a person (or several, maybe). You deserve to sleep, guilt-free.

5. Lean on family + friends.

The icky symptoms of the first trimester can be downright dismal; there are no two ways about it. Therefore, don't hesitate to scream “YES!" to offers of help from family and friends, whether it's by accepting a home cooked meal, allowing someone to run a few errands on your behalf or simply enjoying a supportive chat on the phone. Now is the time to take the help.

You deserve a break every now and then. Whether you're fighting pregnancy fatigue, nausea, back pain or any of the additional pregnancy symptoms, give yourself grace. The dishes and laundry can wait. Focus on nourishing yourself while you prepare to welcome a new baby into the world. There is a reason your body is asking you to slow down, just listen.

Here are a few of our favorite items to help you get the rest you need during pregnancy:

Solid snug comforter

sunday citizen comforter

This comforter from Sunday Citizen is a bestseller for a reason. It's double-sided, so you can choose which feel you're in the mood for: soft snug fabric or lightweight brushed microfiber fabric. Plus, it's machine-washable and they guarantee it will stay just as soft as it is on the first day forever.

$249

Linen throw

linen throw

If a catnap under a light blanket is calling your name, these gorgeous throws from Hawkins New York are a must. Made of Belgian linen, it will look beautiful draped over your sofa or bed when not in use (though that won't be very often).

$150

Pregnancy pillow

pregnancy pillow

Finding a comfortable position to sleep in when you're pregnant can be challenging. But with the help of an awesome pregnancy pillow, it's easy! This one was designed by an OB/GYN with Belly Bandit, and it's perfection. It's made of smushy-soft foam and can be adjusted to fit your growing belly exactly.

$80

Lavender belly oil

lavender belly oil

Lavender is known and loved for its sleep-inducing benefits so create a nightly ritual of lathering your belly with Esker's lavender oil. It's non-greasy and made with great ingredients like Vitamin E and A-rich sea buckthorn and grapeseed oils.

$40

A portion of this article is excerpted from The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on www.comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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My 3-year-old is eating peanut butter toast with banana for breakfast (his request), and we are officially running late for preschool. We need to get in the car soon if we want to miss the morning traffic, but he has decided that he no longer wants the food that he begged for two minutes earlier. What started off as a relatively calm breakfast has turned into a battle of wills.

"You're going to be hungry," I say, realizing immediately that he could care less. I can feel my frustration rising, and even though I'm trying to stay calm, I'm getting snappy and irritable. In hindsight, I can see so many opportunities that fell through the cracks to salvage this morning, but at the moment… there was nothing.

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