When you become pregnant, your doctors may prescribe supplements and dietary restrictions to help you stay healthy. However, there is one health element that doctors cannot write a prescription for...sleep.
Getting adequate sleep is vital to maintaining your health and your baby’s through pregnancy. If you can manage seven to eight hours of sleep per night, you can reduce the risk of birth-related complications. Women who slept poorly during pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with low birth weight or other complications. Sleeping more is an easy solution for a healthy baby. Or is it?
Even if you are a sound sleeper, your sleeping patterns are likely to change over the course of your pregnancy. Each trimester has its challenges.
First Trimester - Fatigue
During the first trimester, expecting mothers experience a rush of the hormone progesterone. Their bodies also increase blood production and lower blood pressure. These changes combine to create one overwhelming feeling: tiredness. This trimester is also when you are most likely to experience morning sickness. It may feel like a challenging couple of months, but there are things you can do to ease your sleep and nausea.
- Take naps during the day to counteract the fatigue.
- Exercise. It will help you sleep through the night even if you nap multiple times a day.
- Avoid spicy food and heavy dinner. Light and bland meals may counter morning sickness.
Soon your body will grow accustomed to these sweeping changes. Morning sickness may fade the fatigue will eventually lift.
Second Trimester - Dreaming
The second trimester is when your body is getting accustomed to the hormonal changes and experiencing new ones. Heartburn can increase during this trimester. If your chest burns or you feel cramps in your legs, that’s pretty normal. Dreaming can also become more intense. These symptoms are often more easily addressed than the tiredness during the first trimester.
- Avoid acidic foods, which can increase heartburn and acid reflux.
- Prop your head up at night. This elevation can also reduce the heartburn feeling.
The intense dreaming can be entertaining, but if it’s too much to sleep at night, try a guided meditation or a deep breathing relaxation technique before bed. These techniques can also help you reach a restorative deeper stage of sleep.
Third Trimester - Discomfort
The third trimester is when your body is swelling to its fullest. You may get up multiple times a night to pee because the baby is putting pressure on your bladder. Your baby also might become more active and kick at night. It may be uncomfortable to lie down with the weight of your belly, but it’s still possible to sleep well through this trimester.
Doctors often recommend lying on your side when you sleep. This position is a good way to fall asleep comfortably, especially if you prop yourself with pillows. Don’t worry if you don’t wake up in the same position.
Improve Sleeping Habits after Giving Birth
Pregnancy is an opportunity to learn how to better care for yourself. Try to remember what sleep habits worked best for you. Even after pregnancy, maintaining seven to eight hours of sleep per night can improve your overall health.
This guest post was submitted by Ellie Porter, Managing Editor of SleepHelp.org. For more information and resources on healthy sleep for expecting and new parents, visit SleepHelp.org.