Tiredness in later pregnancy - Tiredness and fatigue in pregnancy

There are several possible causes of tiredness in later pregnancy:

Poor sleep

You may not be sleeping well due to the pressure on your bladder. You may be getting up at night to go to the toilet.

You may also find it difficult to get comfortable in bed.

Sometimes you can have strange dreams when you are pregnant and you may not feel rested when you wake.

Extra weight

The extra weight gain, particularly in later pregnancy, can mean that you will feel more tired.

Low iron

Being very tired in pregnancy can be a sign that you are low in iron. Your GP or midwife can do a blood test to check for this. Don't take an iron supplement unless your GP, obstetrician or midwife recommends it to you. Iron supplements can sometimes cause constipation.

Coping with tiredness later on in pregnancy

There are a few simple changes you can make that may help you feel a little less tired. Some of these changes are like those recommended for early pregnancy.

Give your body rest

Rest is not a luxury when you are pregnant, your body needs it. Accept all offers of help. Consider changing your working hours, if possible, to ensure you get as much rest as you can.

Healthy eating

Eating a healthy, varied diet will help your energy levels. It also helps you to get all the nutrition that you need.

Take exercise

Do some gentle or moderate exercise. There are lots of benefits to exercising during pregnancy. Check with your GP, midwife or obstetrician before starting an exercise plan.

Get better sleep

Sleeping on your side is often more comfortable than sleeping on your back. Try placing a pillow between your legs or supporting your bump with pillows. Research shows sleeping on your side significantly reduces the risk of stillbirth.

Tips that may help you to get a better night's sleep:

  • Don't drink large amounts of fluids late in the evening.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing drinks like tea and coffee before going to bed.
  • Try and relax in the hours before going to bed.

Practice some relaxation exercises that will also help you during the birth.

Avoid screens such as laptops, tablets and mobiles in the last hour before you go to bed. Try reading a relaxing magazine or book.

When to get medical advice

Urgent advice: Contact your GP or midwife if you feel tired and have one or more 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 persist.

Page last reviewed: 15 March 2018
Next review due: 15 March 2021