Every time I expressed to a medical professional that I am tired in the last few years I’ve felt the need to follow it with ‘but then I’ve got small children’. As if it were inevitable that I should feel rubbish for the first 3 years of each child’s life.
Yes, parenting can be tiring, and children’s sporadic sleep patterns can mess with ours, but I think there are usually more reasons for a new (and newish) mum’s fatigue. Being pregnant and breastfeeding put a lot of pressure on the mother’s body and she can often be left with insufficient levels of certain nutrients.
And it’s certainly not only mothers who can be in this situation.
If you’re feeling extremely tired, and it’s not because you’ve been up half the night, or because of other obvious lifestyle reasons, it’s worth going to your GP. There are 3 simple blood tests that may be able to help explain why.
- Iron is the first nutrient to look at. We need iron to transport oxygen primarily. It’s worth getting Ferritin tested as this is iron storage and gives us an indication of whether there’s enough iron to do all the jobs it needs to do. Iron deficiency is fairly common in menstruating women.
- Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin and is often low in people who live in northern Europe. Vitamin D has many extremely important roles and it can affect energy levels if low. And if you suffer from either autoimmunity and depression I would always recommend checking vitamin D levels.
- Thyroid function directly affects energy. However, unfortunately the NHS brackets for ‘normal’ thyroid function are quite wide and no action will be recommended if you’re outside this bracket but your thyroid isn’t functioning optimally. Lots can be done nutritionally though. There are several nutrients that are really important for the thyroid and increasing them can really impact fatigue.
Always get a copy of your blood test results, getting the numbers will explain far more of the story than ‘normal’ or ‘in range’, particularly if you’re thinking of seeing a nutritionist.
Too tricky to get to your GP and want to get these tests done privately?
Or need your blood tests interpreted?
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