How to Boost Energy During Pregnancy
Originally published 02/01/2021. Updated for accuracy and relevancy on 10/13/2023.
Growing a human is exhausting! Let’s talk about when and why you’ll feel the most fatigued and how to safely keep your energy levels up during pregnancy.
By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, OBGYN
Fatigue will vary month by month during pregnancy, and at times it may feel like you’ll never get your energy back. It’s important to remember that energy loss is completely normal, and it’s occurring because your body is working overtime to supply for your baby. But there are some things you can do to combat fatigue.
When Do You Have The Most Energy During Pregnancy?
In my experience with patients, energy levels tend to be the highest during the during trimester. However, fatigue and energy levels can vary from person to person, so there’s no guarantee that this will be true for your pregnancy. Some research has found basically no significant difference in fatigue levels by trimester, while others have reported higher fatigue levels during the first and third trimesters. [1-2] There are a lot of factors that contribute to energy levels, including hormones, changes to the body, increased discomfort, etc. [1-2] We’ll talk about all of this a bit more in the next section.
How Do Energy Levels Change by Trimester?
Every trimester of pregnancy brings on it’s own unique challenges and symptoms. Your level of fatigue can also vary depending on the trimester you’re in.
Fatigue and low energy are most common during the first trimester of pregnancy, as these first three months come with a lot of hormonal changes.  Progesterone, a primary hormone for pregnancy, is also a primary cause of energy depletion.  Your body is doing a lot to help you adapt to pregnancy like increasing blood flow, producing extra hormones, and on top of it all, draining emotional changes.
It’s common for many women to notice increased energy in the second trimester compared to that first trimester slump. This is your body adjusting to the sudden surge of hormones. While hormone levels are still increasing, they are increasing at a steady rate instead of all at once. The second trimester is sometimes referred to as the honeymoon period because you have some energy back and will likely take advantage of this time by doing a lot of shopping, planning, and preparing for your baby.
Another common and understandable period of exhaustion is the third trimester.  Your body is preparing for birth and you’re likely having to exert more energy than usual to get tasks done. It’s also common to have trouble sleeping during your third trimester, making it harder to feel rested.
How Can I Boost My Energy While Pregnant?
- Switch up your exercise routine. It’s easy to overdo it when you want to keep up with your old exercise routine. Try changing up your exercises, cutting back on your time spent working out, or limiting some of your usual activities. On the flip side, if you haven’t been exercising while pregnant, you could try getting in a daily walk or yoga practice to boost your energy levels.
- Rest. Easier said than done, but try to find time to take naps as often as you need, and give yourself a break as often as you can. The dishes and laundry can wait, or better yet, delegate! It doesn’t hurt to play the pregnancy card while you still can.
- Stay healthy. Eating often and clean can make a huge difference in your fatigue. Stay away from excess sugar or caffeine, especially midday when they’ll be followed by an energy crash. Follow pregnancy nutrition recommendations and ensure you’re getting enough iron, calcium, and protein.
- Take your B Vitamins. A critical component of prenatal nutrition, B vitamins help the body convert food into energy and replenish red blood cells. Most prenatal vitamins will have the appropriate amount of B vitamins needed for a healthy pregnancy, like folate, B6, and B12. Natalist Hydration & Energy Drink Mix also contains B12 to support energy levels and electrolytes for hydration, and it’s pregnancy-safe!
Can I Have Caffeine During Pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) rounded up and reviewed studies on caffeine consumption and pregnancy and concluded that staying under 200 mg daily won’t hurt your baby.  This includes any naturally occurring caffeine like what’s found in coffee, tea, and chocolate and added caffeine found in soda and energy drinks.
- Coffee lovers: Fear not! You can still have about one (small) cup of full caffeinated coffee a day, just be sure you know how much caffeine you’re consuming.
- Tea drinkers: You have it easier than coffee fanatics because most teas are less caffeinated! Green tea specifically has around 30 mg of caffeine, meaning you could have up to five to six cups throughout the day and still stay below the 200 mark.
- Energy drink fiends: Finding an energy drink that is under the 200 mg mark might be a challenge, but Redbull is always a safe bet with only 111 mg per serving (which is 8 oz, so look out for those 12 oz+ cans). Sodas like Pepsi or Coca-Cola usually come in around 40 mg per 12 oz, also under the daily limit. While these stay under the caffeine limit, keep in mind that doesn’t mean they are nutritious!
- The “but:” Coffee, tea, soda, and even energy drinks might be within an acceptable caffeine range for pregnancy, but you do need to be careful of the amount of sugar you’re ingesting. Sugar and artificial sweeteners can have a negative effect on your pregnancy, so you should try to keep your daily intake below 30 g (less than what can be found in a regular Coca-Cola). 
Read Dr. Mare Mbaye’s breakdown on Caffeine While TTC for more information on what caffeinated drinks are pregnancy-safe!
- The first and third trimesters are likely when you’ll feel the most fatigued, though everyone is different.
- Make sure you’re taking a prenatal vitamin that contains folate, B6, and B12 for adequate nutrition.
- Resting, eating a nutritious diet, and changing up your exercise routine may all be helpful for reducing fatigue.
- Caffeine intake under 200 mg a day has been deemed acceptable for pregnancy.
- Natalist offers hydration and energy packets that provide a caffeine-free, pregnancy-safe energy boost.
- Mortazavi F, Borzoee F. Fatigue in Pregnancy: The validity and reliability of the Farsi Multidimensional Assessment of Fatigue scale. Sultan Qaboos Univ Med J. 2019;19(1):e44-e50. doi:10.18295/squmj.2019.19.01.009
- A Partner's Guide to Pregnancy. ACOG. FAQ032. January 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/a-partners-guide-to-pregnancy
- Noreika D, Griškova-Bulanova I, Alaburda A, Baranauskas M, Grikšienė R. Progesterone and mental rotation task: is there any effect?. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:741758. doi:10.1155/2014/741758
- Moderate caffeine consumption during pregnancy. Committee Opinion No. 462. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Obstet Gynecol 2010;116:467–8.
- Goran MI, Plows JF, Ventura EE. Effects of consuming sugars and alternative sweeteners during pregnancy on maternal and child health: evidence for a secondhand sugar effect. Proc Nutr Soc. 2019;78(3):262-271. doi:10.1017/S002966511800263X