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Breastfeeding Hormone Causes Fatigue during Pregnancy


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During the first trimester of pregnancy, many women tend to feel very tired. The pregnancy hormone progesterone increases the amount of blood in the mother’s bloodstream, carrying more nutrients to the growing baby. 

Blood sugar and pressure also decrease during this period. An increase in progesterone levels is also responsible for causing fatigue during pregnancy. However, fatigue while breastfeeding can also be caused by emotional changes, such as anxiety about becoming a mother and worries about the baby’s health.

According to researchers, breastfeeding hormones can also cause fatigue during pregnancy. When you are pregnant, the prolactin level in your body increases. This hormone is responsible for milk production. It is one of the major reasons why you feel tired during pregnancy. 

If you suffer from excessive fatigue during pregnancy, try to change your lifestyle. Try to reduce your working hours and ask family members for help. Try to eat a balanced diet with plenty of proteins and complex carbohydrates. 

Exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy pregnancy. This can help boost your energy levels. But don’t overdo it: an exercise in moderation is the best way to combat fatigue.

In this article, we are going to discuss how breastfeeding hormone causes fatigue during pregnancy. 

Does Breastfeeding Cause Fatigue?

This is an age-old question that has been pondered by many mothers. But despite the widespread perception that breastfeeding can cause fatigue, the answer is more complex than that. There are many different reasons why a mother may feel fatigue while breastfeeding, from a deficiency in vitamins or minerals to an increase in prolactin level. 

The hormonal changes while breastfeeding may make a woman feel tired. The hormone prolactin, which helps a woman bond with her baby and relaxes, can also contribute to drowsiness. This is especially true when combined with the stress of postpartum fatigue. 

If you’re experiencing this problem, talk to a healthcare professional who can determine whether it’s a sign of a more serious condition. Several lifestyle factors may be at play, as well. For instance, a woman’s sleep quality can affect her milk supply, which can leave her feeling tired and stressed.

What Is Breastfeeding Hormone?

In addition to their role during lactation, hormones have many other functions in the body. They regulate metabolism, growth and development, mood, reproduction and sexual function. Prolactin and oxytocin are the two most important hormones that help in breastfeeding. 

Prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain and is responsible for stimulating the muscles around the alveoli, which secrete milk. The hormone also causes the ducts to enlarge, and milk will flow out in fine streams. 

Prolactin is also known as a breastfeeding hormone which helps in milk production during pregnancy. This hormone also helps the baby bond emotionally with its mother. Apart from prolactin, the oxytocin hormone also helps in breastfeeding. It plays a vital role in breastfeeding and is known as the mothering hormone. It helps you to bond with your baby. 

What Hormone Causes Fatigue In Pregnancy?

You might have been wondering what hormone causes fatigue in pregnancy. Fatigue is a common sign of pregnancy and can last from nine months to delivery. Pregnancy hormones are known to play a part in this condition. The body produces more blood and increased energy demand, and this leads to more fatigue than usual. 

A high level of progesterone in the body is linked to increased fatigue, and it also boosts the metabolism, causing women to be sleepy during the day. Additionally, lowered blood pressure and increased blood production is other contributing factor. The emotional roller coaster that pregnancy can cause also drains the energy you have. 

Apart from pregnancy hormones, breastfeeding hormone is also responsible for extreme fatigue. As the name goes, this hormone (prolactin) helps in milk production during pregnancy. When the prolactin level increases, it leads to tiredness and fatigue. This hormone tells your brain to relax, which makes you feel tired and sleepy all the time. 

Why Do Breastfeeding Hormones Cause Fatigue During Pregnancy?

Fatigue and breastfeeding go hand in hand due to hormonal changes in the body. During the first trimester, pregnancy-related fatigue is common, but some women experience it more acutely in the second and third trimesters. If you are experiencing chronic fatigue during pregnancy, it can be because of the breastfeeding hormone. 

Another possible cause of breastfeeding-related fatigue is the metabolic demands of producing breast milk. Prolactin is directly related to decreased stress and anxiety. This decreased stress can result in an increased feeling of sleepiness and relaxation. Thankfully, there are many ways to maintain your energy while nursing your baby. There are even exercises you can do while your baby feeds itself. 

The release of oxytocin from the brain is a natural side effect of breastfeeding. The hormone helps the mother breastfeed by stimulating the release of oxytocin in the brain. This hormone promotes bonding and fosters a feeling of well-being between the mother and baby. Oxytocin also increases the body’s temperature and is responsible for drowsiness. 

Your body is changing, and you’re experiencing hormonal changes that can make you feel tired and weak. You’ll have increased blood volume, and you may find it more difficult to eat at the same time. Pregnancy hormones, as well as breastfeeding hormones, can make you feel tired and fatigued, specially during the first trimester of pregnancy. 

Causes of Breastfeeding Fatigue and Dizziness

Breastfeeding fatigue is a sudden feeling of sadness, irritability, or tiredness. It usually occurs just before the milk starts to flow and is short-lived. Fortunately, it can be treated. There are many causes of breastfeeding fatigue and dizziness

Low blood sugar may be a cause of dizziness, as breastfeeding requires more calories than before pregnancy. Dehydration, ear infections, and colds can also cause dizziness. You might experience breastfeeding fatigue and dizziness, especially if you’re not getting enough sleep. 

The hormones prolactin and oxytocin are responsible for drowsiness. The other cause can be a nutritional deficiency. It can also be caused by a hormone imbalance or vitamin D deficiency. The best way to deal with breastfeeding fatigue is to get enough rest. 

When you’re experiencing dizziness during breastfeeding, make sure to hold onto something sturdy when you stand up. Drink lots of water to replenish electrolytes. Also, eat a small snack containing carbohydrates and protein to stabilize your blood sugar. If you’re experiencing fatigue while breastfeeding, avoid picking up your baby until you’re back to normal.

What Causes Fatigue During Breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding supplies an infant with antibodies and nutrients and can even protect against certain illnesses. According to Women’s Health, breastfeeding provides a baby with an enhanced level of protection against illnesses such as stomach viruses, ear infections, and even childhood leukaemia. 

However, breastfeeding can also cause fatigue in moms. In order to overcome this problem, she should determine what causes her extreme fatigue and work with her doctor to develop an effective solution.

In addition to the hormones released during breastfeeding, there are other factors that contribute to this feeling. Vitamin D deficiency, extra calories, and a lack of sleep are all factors that contribute to fatigue during breastfeeding. The good news is that many women can make these symptoms go away by getting enough rest and making sure they don’t overdo it. Here are some common causes of fatigue during breastfeeding.

  • Inadequate sleep
  • Increased breastfeeding hormone level
  • Anaemia
  • Inadequate calorie intake
  • Breast issues
  • Thyroid problems
  • Excessive blood loss
  • Using prescription pain medication
  • Postpartum depression

How to Overcome Fatigue during Breastfeeding While Pregnant?

These are some of the most important tips to overcome your exhaustion while nursing. Follow these tips to overcome exhaustion and get back to your pre-pregnancy energy level. 

  • Take One Day At A Time

Pregnancy is a tremendously taxing experience on both mind and body. The added physical and emotional stress can be hard to cope with. It’s important to adjust your schedule as necessary and talk to your doctor if you feel that you’re constantly feeling tired. Don’t stress much and tackle one day at a time to avoid fatigue. 

  • Eat Right

It’s essential to eat well to support your body and baby during this time. Several foods are high in protein and essential nutrients that are essential for healthy development. Your diet should include three servings of protein-rich foods every day, including eggs, nuts, meat, legumes, beans, tofu, and whole grain bread. You should also eat four to five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 

  • Nap Everyday

One of the best ways to overcome exhaustion when breastfeeding while pregnant is to take a nap every day. A nap can help you feel refreshed and reduce tiredness throughout the day. To make naps easier, try to lump minor household tasks together. This way, you can take more naps every day. 

  • Give Yourself A Break

Whether you are pregnant or breastfeeding, remember that you are giving yourself the best gift of your life. You’ve spent nine months growing into a human being and are now trying to return to “normal.” This new normal may include stretch marks, scars, and extra pounds. Don’t worry! It will all pass, and you should give yourself a break from everything. Take the time to appreciate the accomplishments of your body.

  • Take A Good Quality Prenatal Vitamin

There are numerous ways to help you overcome exhaustion while breastfeeding your baby. Prenatal vitamins are a wonderful way to meet the nutritional demands of an expectant mother’s body and baby. These vitamins help you stay healthy throughout your pregnancy and help to prevent exhaustion during the first few months after giving birth. 

What Foods Should Breastfeeding Mothers Eat to Regain Energy?

After giving birth, caring for a newborn can drain you. The constant feedings are draining, and you may feel like you’ve lost all of your energy. Eating nutritious foods is essential for your health and your baby’s. 

  • Oatmeal
  • Green Tea
  • Banana
  • Fish
  • Yoghurt

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Does Breastfeeding Make Pregnancy Harder?

Breastfeeding will not affect your ability to get pregnant. While the hormone prolactin is necessary for milk production, it can also hinder the release of the FSH hormone, which triggers ovarian follicles to produce the egg. It inhibits ovulation, but it does not make it impossible to conceive. 

  • Why Does Breastfeeding Make Me So Tired?

Breastfeeding hormones are believed to play a role in tiredness. Oxytocin, which helps moms bond with their babies, and prolactin, which regulates milk production, can all contribute to fatigue.

  • What Are the Side Effects of Breastfeeding While Pregnant?

While breastfeeding is generally safe during pregnancy, the increased levels of estrogen can make your nipples feel sore. Common side effects of breastfeeding that women suffer from while they are pregnant are nausea, sore nipples, fatigue, decreased milk supply, feelings of being overwhelmed and changes to your breast milk.


According to researchers, the breastfeeding hormone prolactin, which is responsible for milk production, can be the major cause of fatigue during pregnancy. When the levels of prolactin increase in your body, it will make you tell your brain to relax. This can lead to feelings of tiredness and fatigue during breastfeeding. However, there are many ways to overcome these problems. Make sure you drink plenty of water, eat nutritious food and exercise to keep your energy levels up.  

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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