Meghan Markle's comparison of pregnancy to jet lag is apt, say experts

Korin Miller
Writer

Meghan Markle is currently on a royal tour of Australia with Prince Harry, and she’s had some time to chat with the locals in the process. But one conversation in particular — between Markle and a fellow pregnant woman — is getting some big attention.

“Meghan told me that pregnancy was like having jet lag,” Charlotte Waverley told Sky News. “She said she was up at 4:30 a.m. this morning doing yoga in her room, as she couldn’t sleep.”

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, arrive at Dubbo Airport in Australia on Oct. 17. (Photo: Phil Noble/Pool/Getty Images)

That’s actually a really good comparison, women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, MD, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Feeling a little off “is a very common complaint among pregnant women, especially in the first trimester,” she says. “There are several factors at play: Hormonal changes, in particular increased progesterone, can often cause fatigue, or a sleepy feeling, similar to jet lag. Also, your body is working in overdrive, producing more blood to carry nutrients to the growing fetus.”

Those factors, combined with “physical and emotional changes,” can also make a pregnant woman feel wiped out and lethargic, like she would when she has jet lag, Wider says.

Luckily, women typically get a break from the tiredness at some point during their pregnancy. “Most women feel this type of fatigue lift in the second trimester, but as their bodies grow to accommodate the baby, physical fatigue usually comes back in the third,” Wider says.

There’s often only so much pregnant women can do to combat these feelings, but Christine Greves, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that sleep, unsurprisingly, is a crucial component.

“Try to get more rest, if you can,” she says. You’ll also want to keep tabs on what you’re eating. “Eat well, but don’t eat foods that are going to make you crash, like ones that are high in sugar,” Greves says. 

It’s also OK to have some caffeine during your pregnancy. “Sometimes people feel exhausted because they cut off their caffeine supply, but you don’t need to do that,” Greves says. “You’re allowed to have a small amount.” And if you’re feeling a little bloated or are constipated, she suggests adding more fiber to your diet and drinking plenty of water to try to get things moving.

Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:

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