Sleep plays an important role in your physical and mental well-being, and that’s doubly true when you are pregnant.
Your hormones are on the move. Heartburn is becoming an old friend. And the nausea, anxiety and frequent urination, forget about it! Being pregnant is exhausting, so why are you having such a hard time sleeping?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, 78 percent of women have more trouble sleeping when they are pregnant. They also experience certain sleep disorders, such as restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea, more frequently.
Take these quick tips to get comfortable and fall asleep no matter how far along you are.
If you’re used to sleeping on your tummy, now is the time to train your body to sleep on your side. This will feel better on tender breasts and prepare you for when your belly gets bigger and sleeping on your stomach is not an option.
It may also be a good idea to embrace the idea of napping, since first trimester surges of progesterone are known to make you weary. Get as close to eight hours of sleep a day as you can throughout your pregnancy.
Sorry back sleepers, your time is up. Sleeping on your back after the first trimester can put undue strain on your body (and your baby’s). Try sleeping on your left side, which encourages the flow of blood and nutrients to your little one and promotes digestion and the elimination of bodily waste.
In the second trimester, your progesterone levels stabilize and many moms-to-be no longer struggle with nausea. It’s a perfect time to catch up on some beauty sleep. Try going to bed and waking up at around the same time each day, limiting screen time before bed and creating a cool, soothing bedroom environment.
Good news, you’re in the home stretch! Unfortunately, the third trimester is often the hardest time to rest. If you haven’t already, consider investing in a body pillow to keep you comfortable at night. Heartburn sufferers should prop their upper half up with pillows to alleviate symptoms.
One of the most common problems in the third trimester is frequent urination. As pressure on your bladder increases, so does the urge to go and go often. You can prepare for sleep by tapering your fluid intake around bedtime. It’s also helpful to fully empty your bladder each time you go. Try leaning forward slightly to encourage all the urine to leave your body.
If you still have trouble sleeping, check with your physician to rule out any health issues. If you can rest, do. Soon you’ll be staying up for a whole other reason, but at least you’ll have some adorable company.
This article was reviewed by Kim Pfister, R.N., Monogram Maternity nurse, St.Vincent Women’s Hospital.