How to Manage Postpartum Fatigue

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Postpartum fatigue is a common and challenging experience for many new mothers. It is characterized by feeling extremely tired, having low energy levels, struggling to focus, and experiencing difficulty sleeping. This condition has a significant impact on overall well-being. The physical and emotional exhaustion that comes with the postpartum period can be overwhelming.

Statistics show that around 40% of new moms experience postpartum fatigue in the first week after giving birth. This fatigue can last for months or even years, affecting daily life and recovery. Understanding how common it is highlights the importance of addressing this issue among new mothers.

In this article, we will discuss, the causes of postpartum fatigue, common symptoms and some strategies to manage and alleviate postpartum fatigue. As a new mother, you will be able to discover ways to navigate this draining phase and prioritize your health and well-being.

Factors Contributing to Postpartum Fatigue

How to Manage Postpartum Fatigue. 1. A woman and a baby sitting at a table with a laptop.

Physical Challenges of Pregnancy and Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth place significant demands on a woman’s body. The physical recovery process can be lengthy and tiring. Healing from labor, whether it’s a natural birth or a cesarean section, consumes energy that could otherwise be used to care for the newborn.

Caring for a Newborn

Newborn care responsibilities are both rewarding and exhausting. Babies need constant attention, including feeding, diaper changes, and comfort. These tasks often disrupt maternal rest patterns, leading to fragmented sleep.

Fragmented Sleep and Hormonal Changes

Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to postpartum fatigue. New mothers often experience broken sleep cycles due to night-time feedings and baby care. Hormonal changes during breastfeeding can also affect energy levels. Fluctuations in hormones like estrogen and progesterone may contribute to feelings of exhaustion.

Lack of Support

Having a strong support system is crucial during the early postpartum period. Without adequate help from family or friends, new mothers can feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities. This lack of support exacerbates fatigue, making it difficult to recover fully.

Understanding these factors helps in identifying effective strategies to manage postpartum fatigue and ensure a smoother transition into motherhood.

How Long Does Postpartum Fatigue Last?

Postpartum fatigue can vary widely from one mother to another. For some, this overwhelming sense of exhaustion may subside within a few weeks. Others might find it lingering for several months or even longer.

Factors influencing the duration include:

  • Individual Health: Women with pre-existing health conditions may experience prolonged fatigue.
  • Support Systems: Those with strong support from family and friends often recover quicker than those without.
  • Sleep Quality: Consistent sleep deprivation can extend the period of fatigue.
  • Hormonal Balance: Hormonal fluctuations post-childbirth also play a significant role in how long fatigue persists.

Statistics show that approximately 40% of new mothers report significant fatigue in the first week postpartum. While many see improvement as they adjust to their new routines, others may need to implement additional strategies or seek medical advice if symptoms persist.

Understanding these variables helps in setting realistic expectations and preparing for a potentially extended recovery period. Prioritizing self-care and utilizing available resources can significantly impact how long postpartum fatigue lasts.

Does Breastfeeding Cause Postpartum Fatigue?

Breastfeeding can indeed contribute to postpartum fatigue, though it is not the sole cause. Several factors related to breastfeeding may lead to increased tiredness:

Factors that contribute to breastfeeding Postpartum Fatigue

  • Energy Demand: Producing milk requires additional calories and nutrients, which can leave mothers feeling more tired if they are not adequately nourished.
  • Sleep Interruptions: Frequent night feedings disrupt sleep patterns, preventing mothers from achieving deep, restorative sleep.
  • Hormonal Changes: Breastfeeding triggers the release of hormones like prolactin and oxytocin, which can affect energy levels and mood.

Despite these challenges, breastfeeding also offers benefits that can counterbalance fatigue:

Benefits of breastfeeding that can help manage fatigue

  • Bonding: The physical closeness during breastfeeding promotes bonding, releasing oxytocin which can create a sense of well-being.
  • Relaxation: Many mothers find breastfeeding relaxing, which can help manage stress levels.

To mitigate breastfeeding-related fatigue, new mothers can:

  1. Ensure a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients.
  2. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  3. Take advantage of opportunities to rest when the baby sleeps.

Recognizing the dual impact of breastfeeding on fatigue helps new mothers balance their needs with those of their newborns.

Postpartum Fatigue: Tips for New Mothers

We discussed postpartum fatigue and what causes it. Here are some tips to manage postpartum fatigue as a new mother.

1. Prioritizing Rest and Sleep

A woman peacefully laying in bed with her head resting on the pillow.

Quality sleep is essential in supporting postpartum recovery and combating fatigue. When new mothers get enough restful sleep, they can better handle the overwhelming exhaustion and lack of energy that often accompanies the postpartum period.

Practical Strategies for Maximizing Sleep Opportunities

  • Nap when the baby sleeps: Taking short naps during the day can help make up for lost sleep at night. It may be tempting to use this time to catch up on chores, but prioritizing rest will benefit your overall well-being.

  • Create a sleep-conducive environment: Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Comfortable bedding and minimal distractions can promote better sleep quality.

  • Limit screen time before bed: The blue light from screens can disrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Try to avoid using electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime.

  • Establish a calming bedtime routine: Relaxing activities such as reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing gentle yoga can signal to your body that it’s time to wind down.

Adopting these strategies can significantly improve the chances of getting more restorative sleep, helping new mothers manage their postpartum fatigue more effectively.

2. Nourishing Your Body with a Healthy Diet

A woman and a boy happily enjoy sushi, smiling as they savor the delicious flavors.

Proper nutrition plays a crucial role in fighting postpartum fatigue and improving overall well-being. A balanced diet can help reduce extreme tiredness, increase energy levels, and promote better sleep.

What to Eat

New mothers should focus on consuming:

  • Protein-rich foods: Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and legumes provide the necessary amino acids for tissue repair and muscle strength.
  • Complex carbohydrates: Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables offer sustained energy and prevent blood sugar crashes.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil support hormone regulation and brain health.
  • Iron-rich foods: Red meat, spinach, and fortified cereals help prevent anemia-related fatigue.
  • Calcium sources: Dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant milks are essential for bone health.

Tips for Healthy Eating

Maintaining a balanced eating plan can be challenging due to time constraints and changes in appetite. Here are some practical tips:

  • Prepare meals in advance: Cook larger portions of healthy meals and freeze them for later. This saves time when taking care of a newborn.
  • Choose nutritious snacks: Keep options like nuts, yogurt, or fruit nearby for quick and healthy snacks.
  • Drink enough water: Stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue.

By focusing on nutrient-rich foods and being mindful of their diet, new mothers can better handle the physical demands of early motherhood.

3. Seeking Practical Support from Loved Ones

A woman and two children cooking together in a cozy kitchen.

New mothers often experience extreme tiredness, low energy levels, and difficulty focusing. These challenges make it crucial to ask for help from family and friends. Sharing household tasks and baby care responsibilities can greatly reduce some of the physical strain.

Some Tips:

  1. Household Tasks: Simple chores like cooking, cleaning, and laundry can be shared. This allows new mothers to focus on recovery and spend more time with their newborns.
  2. Baby Care Duties: Partners, grandparents, or close friends can assist with diaper changes, feeding, and soothing the baby. This helps in getting more restful sleep and taking breaks when needed.

Engaging a professional postpartum doula is another valuable option. A doula offers specialized support during the postpartum period.

Advantages of Hiring a Postpartum Doula:

  1. Emotional Support: Doulas provide companionship and emotional reassurance, easing feelings of isolation.
  2. Practical Assistance: They help with breastfeeding, baby care tips, and establishing routines that promote better sleep patterns.
  3. Rest Opportunities: By handling baby care tasks, a doula enables new mothers to take naps when the baby sleeps, promoting better overall health.

Having a strong support system helps in managing postpartum fatigue effectively. Prioritizing self-care by seeking practical support fosters a smoother transition into motherhood.

4. Hydration for Energy Restoration

A woman and child hydrating themselves by drinking water from a glass.

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining energy levels, especially after giving birth. Not drinking enough water can make you feel extremely tired, drained of energy, and unable to focus, making the exhaustion new moms already feel even worse.

Here are some tips to ensure you stay hydrated:

  • Drink Water Regularly: Try to drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Keeping a water bottle nearby can serve as a reminder to hydrate frequently.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Include fruits and vegetables such as cucumbers, watermelon, and oranges in your diet as they contain high water content.
  • Limit Caffeine and Sugary Drinks: While coffee or sugary beverages may provide a temporary energy boost, they can result in energy crashes later on. Opt for herbal teas or natural fruit juices instead.

Remember that staying hydrated doesn’t just mean drinking plain water. It’s also about incorporating it into your daily routine. Taking small sips of water throughout the day, especially when you’re resting while the baby is asleep, can help maintain steady energy levels and promote better sleep quality.

Being aware of your hydration needs can significantly reduce postpartum fatigue symptoms.

5. Gentle Movement for Rejuvenation

A woman and child practicing yoga on a mat, focusing on their poses and finding inner peace.

Engaging in gentle exercise routines can help reduce postpartum fatigue by increasing energy levels without causing excessive strain. When you’re feeling extremely tired and lacking energy, it may seem like physical activity is the last thing you need. However, it can actually promote better sleep and overall well-being.

Here are some recommended types of low-impact physical activities:

  • Walking: Taking a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood can give you a much-needed break and uplift your mood.
  • Stretching: Doing gentle stretching exercises can relieve muscle tension and enhance your flexibility.
  • Postnatal Yoga: This type of yoga is specially designed for new moms, focusing on relaxation and strengthening your core.
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: These exercises aid in recovery and strengthen the muscles affected by childbirth.

Remember to listen to your body and avoid pushing yourself too much. Instead of intense workouts, aim for short yet regular sessions. By incorporating these gentle movements into your daily routine, you can effectively manage postpartum fatigue, experience better sleep, and enjoy improved focus.

6. Embracing Adjustments and Setting Boundaries

A woman carefully arranging items inside a box, ensuring they fit perfectly and are well organized.

New mothers often feel extremely tired, lack energy, and have trouble focusing because of taking care of a newborn. It’s important to stop seeking perfection and set realistic goals.

Letting Go of Perfectionism

Striving for perfection can lead to added stress. Focus on what truly matters. Prioritize tasks and accept that it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Understand that not all days will be productive. Some days, simply caring for your baby and yourself is enough. Set achievable daily goals that include time for restful sleep and self-care.

Protecting personal well-being requires setting boundaries amidst the demands of motherhood.

Saying No When Needed

It’s important to protect your energy by saying no to non-essential tasks or social commitments. This helps in conserving energy for more critical needs.

Prioritizing Self-Care

Make time for activities that rejuvenate you, whether it’s napping when the baby sleeps or engaging in a hobby you love.

By embracing these adjustments, new mothers can create a more balanced and manageable postpartum experience. Setting boundaries ensures you have the space needed to recharge, thereby enhancing overall well-being.

7. Knowing When to Seek Medical Advice

A doctor listens to a woman and child in a medical office.

It’s important to know when postpartum fatigue might be a sign of a medical issue. If you’re experiencing ongoing symptoms like extreme tiredness, lack of energy, difficulty focusing, or trouble sleeping well, it could be time to reach out for professional help.

Look out for these signs that indicate you should consider seeking medical advice:

  • Consistent Fatigue: If resting or taking naps when your baby sleeps doesn’t make you feel better.
  • Physical Symptoms: Any physical signs such as feeling lightheaded, having heart palpitations, or experiencing severe headaches.
  • Emotional Changes: Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or irritability that don’t go away.
  • Unusual Sleep Patterns: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep even when you’re exhausted.

If these symptoms continue or get worse, it’s important to talk to a healthcare provider. They can help figure out if there’s an underlying cause like anemia or hypothyroidism and suggest appropriate treatments.

Here are some tips for making the process of seeking help easier:

  • Write Down Your Symptoms: Keep track of what you’re experiencing and how long it lasts.
  • Be Open with Your Doctor: Share all the important details with your healthcare provider.
  • Stay in Touch: Schedule follow-up appointments to check on your progress and make any necessary changes to your treatment plan.

Getting medical support early on can make a big difference in how you feel and how quickly you recover.


Managing postpartum fatigue is crucial for new mothers to maintain their well-being. By prioritizing rest, seeking practical support, and nourishing their bodies, they can tackle the overwhelming exhaustion that often accompanies this period.

Reaching out for support can ensure a smoother transition into motherhood. Remember that managing postpartum fatigue effectively not only benefits you but also enhances your ability to care for your newborn.

Today we talked about How to Manage Postpartum Fatigue. Here are more related articles that you might be interested in:

How do Postpartum Hormones affect Moms?
Postpartum Hives: What Every New Mother Should Be Aware Of
10 Essential Postpartum Nutrition Tips for New Moms
Pregnancy Health Advice: What Every Mom-to-Be Needs to Know
Healthy Eating for Two: How to Build Effective Pregnancy Diet
Breastfeeding as a Working Mother: What you need to know
Postpartum Diarrhea and How to Manage it
How to deal with Postpartum Hemorrhoids

Picture of MMC Writing Team

MMC Writing Team

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. We hope that we can provide you with information to stay healthy.

Picture of MMC Writing Team

MMC Writing Team

An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. We hope that we can provide you with information to stay healthy.

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