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Pregnancy & Birth
If all you want to do after a day at work is lie on the sofa, eat and sleep, ditch the guilt. After all, your body is growing a baby, coping with the side effects and keeping you up and running.
'A lack of energy is normal in pregnancy,' says midwife Annabel Athill. 'Add morning sickness, low iron levels, disturbed sleep and the extra weight, and it's no suprise you feel drained.'
Here are our expert tips to keep you happy, healthy and full of get-up-and-go during your pregnancy:
Wake up your skinIf lifting your bump out of bed and into the shower feels like an effort, wake yourself up fast with some body brushing. 'Before you get under the water, brush from you feet (if you can reach) towards your heart, to boost circulation,' says beauty expert Sarah Chapman. 'The increased blood flow will make you feel more awake. Go for a brush with softer bristles if your skin is sensitive.' Try the Botanics Hip & Thigh Body Brush, £3.75, Boots.
Begin with breakfastBattle pregnancy exhaustion with food that maintains your energy level. 'The type of carbohydrate you eat determines how quickly your body breaks it down into energy,' says Marilyn Glenville, author of The National Health Bible For Women (£16.99, Duncan Baird). 'Wholegrain foods such as brown bread and porridge, provide a steady supply of energy. For an energising breakfast, try porridge with blueberries.'
Breathe DeeplyFor a quick lift, yoga expert Vinay Menon suggests this exercise: 'Sit with your eyes shut. Press your right nostril closed, then breathe in and out through your left one five times. Switch nostrils and repeat. Now alternate nostrils, breathing in through one and out through the other, for 10 breaths. This helps to oxygenate your blood, allowing your body to produce more energy effectively.'
Drink up'Dehydration can sap you,' says Marilyn. To combat it, drink six to eight glasses of water each day, sipping it regularly. 'Don't wait until you feel thirsty - by that time, you're already dehyrated.' Fruit and herbal teas count towards your intake, so go for caffeine-free varieties. 'Redbush (rooibos) tea is lower in tannins than black tea,' says nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed. 'Tannins can reduce absorption of iron, which is vital for maintaining energy levels in pregnancy.'
>> Energy boosting tips for flagging bodies>> Can I eat that? Making safe food choices during pregnancy
Enjoy some fresh airIs pregnancy fatigue making you want to curl up on the sofa? Head outside for a walk. 'Daylight is important for regulating energy levels,' says Dr Victoria Revell, a chronobiology researcher at the University of Surrey. 'Light is detected by our eyes and passed to areas of the brain that influence our alertness, so getting outside increases your energy. During short winter days, use a lightbox to stimulate the effects of daylight.' Try the Lumie Desklamp, £120, lumie.com.
Try colour therapy Some experts believe the colours you surround yourself with have an impact on how you feel. 'They can affect you physically and emotionally,' says colour psychologist Angela Wright. 'Black drains you, while red and blue give you a boost.' One study found that red can even make muscles move faster. 'But avoid wearing very bright tones, as they can make you feel stressed,' adds Angela.
Snack wellWhen you hit that afternoon dip, it's tempting to head for the biscuit tin, but sugary snacks won't perk you up in the long run. 'The sugar causes your blood-sugar levels to rise quickly, then plummet,' says Marilyn. 'You'll feel more tired and will need another snack to keep you going. Go for foods that release energy slowly, such as a handful of ntus or celery sticks filled with peanut butter. As an alternative to sweets, have a small handful of dried fruits.'
Press for energyAcupressure is a traditional Chinese therapy where you apply pressure to certain points on the body to stimulate the flow of your internal energy, known as chi. This promotes internal healing and boosts energy. 'Pressing the following acupressure point can help liven you up, as well as relieve morning sickness,' says naturopath Elaine Rasmussen. 'Measure two thumb-widths down from the crease of your wrist, then massage the area between the two tendons in the centre of your arm. You may feel a tingling sensation in your chest or stomach as you do this.'
Grab a pillow Propping up your bump with a cushion or investing in a special pregnancy pillow can make all the difference to a restful night's sleep. 'A back pillow reduces the pressure on tired abdominal muscles, while placing one between your knees eases heavy legs and pelvic pain,' says Denise Linay, from the Royal College of Midwives. Try the Theraline Maternity & Nursing Pillow, £44.95, theraline.co.uk
Put on some musicPlaying music to your bump is a great way to bond with your baby, and can also act as a quick booster. A study of 236 pregnant women in the Journal Of Clinical Nursing found music could help relieve stress and fight fatigue. 'Singing to your bump also encourages you to breathe deeply, which gets more oxygen into your bloodstream,' says Alyssa Abbey, author of Stop Making Excuses And Start Living With Energy (£10.99, Capstone). 'If stinging isn't for you, dancing to your favourite song is also effective, as exercise is an excellent energy booster.'
>> Energy boosting tips>> Interesting pregnancy health facts
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Ten ways to boost your energy during pregnancy
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