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Early pregnancy - Tiredness and fatigue in pregnancy

It is common to feel tired during pregnancy. This often happens in the first trimester (0 to 13 weeks) and the last trimester (week 27 to birth). Being pregnant can be hard work and you may be using lots of energy without even realising it.

It can be worrying to feel so tired. Try to rest when you can and accept offers of help.

Causes of tiredness in early pregnancy

It can be frustrating when you have had a good night’s sleep and you wake up with no energy. It can be very hard to balance the tiredness you are feeling with work and life outside of work.

Tiredness in early pregnancy may be caused by:

  • hormonal changes - due to increased levels of the hormone progesterone
  • emotional changes - anxiety is common in the early stages and will usually pass as the weeks go by

Mental health and wellbeing

Nausea and vomiting

These are common symptoms in early pregnancy. They can leave you feeling exhausted, particularly if the symptoms disrupt your sleep.

Morning sickness

Changes to your circulation and metabolism

As your body adjusts to being pregnant, it produces more blood and your blood pressure may drop. Your blood sugar may also be lower. These changes can make you feel more tired.

Coping with tiredness in early pregnancy

Tiredness will not harm your baby. But it can make life feel more difficult.

Eating a healthy diet may help your energy levels. You may also find that gentle exercise makes you feel good and gives you energy.

Getting plenty of rest and sleep is important too.

If you feel anxiety and this is making everyday life difficult, talk to a trusted family member or friend. If these feelings continue, make an appointment with your GP.

Usually, by the second trimester (weeks 14 to 26), your energy will return. Until then, rest when you can. Try to do your daily tasks in order of priority rather than trying to do everything.

Ask for help from family and friends, especially if you have other children at home. Talking to your manager at work, or to colleagues, might also help.

When to get medical advice

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP or midwife if:

you feel tired and have any of the following symptoms:

  • feeling dizzy
  • feeling breathless
  • chest pain
  • heart palpitations

If you have high levels of anxiety or if your mood is low, you may need extra support. Talk to your GP, midwife or obstetrician if these feelings continue.

Page last reviewed: 10 November 2022
Next review due: 10 November 2025