ZocdocAnswersWhy am I always tired?

Question

Why am I always tired?

I'm a 21 year old mother of a 5 month old and since early on in my pregnancy, I have an overwhelming feeling of being tired and lacking any energy at all. I've always been outgoing, energetic and bursting with energy and now it seems as if i can hardly get out of bed most days. Do you think that I could have post partum depression or another underlying problem?

Answer

Especially in your population, there can be many causes of fatigue. There are a few common causes that should be ruled out -- as they are serious and can be treated. I recommend you see your doctor. The first thing to consider is functional fatigue. This refers to the fact that I am sure you are extremely busy and overworked given your new child. As obvious as it sounds, making sure you get an appropriate amount of rest (at least 8 hrs a day) and eating well is very important. While it is very difficult for new mothers to sleep that long at night, it is important that you sleep during the day as well. Eating well is also important. Keep in mind that if you are breast feeding, your body is using far more energy then normal. Other medical causes of fatigue are important. One to consider is anemia, or low blood count. This is common in young women. Have your blood level checked. Another common cause is low thyroid levels, which can occur after pregnancy. Low cortisol (steroid) levels can be caused by a complicated delivery. More rare causes include post partum heart problems. See your doctor. Post partum depression is also a very common cause. I would recommend you see your doctor to have this evaluated, however post partum depression cannot be diagnosed without discussing the above causes. Good luck!

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