Sleep During Pregnancy: Things You Must Know!
Pregnancy is a wonderful time when a woman is filled with the hopes of giving birth to a whole new life and preparing for the sleepless nights that lie ahead. By sleepless nights we not only mean the nights after birth, handling the newborn, but the nights full of anticipation towards the time ahead. Usually, as the baby grows inside the womb, the mother also grows in size. The pregnant belly makes it very difficult to sleep sometimes. As the delivery date nears, sleeping postures keep changing to accommodate the baby and keep the mother calm and at ease.
However, did you know that sleeping postures can sometimes create unnecessary complications in your pregnancy? That’s right. Pregnant women need to be mindful of how they sleep in order to avoid complications at birth. To know which postures are ideal and what are the necessary precautions for the mother and her baby, read on…
What Causes Interrupted Sleep During Pregnancy?
When you’re pregnant, getting a peaceful and uninterrupted sleep can be hard. As your body grows to accommodate the growing baby, it gradually becomes tougher to find a comfortable sleeping position. The main causes of interrupted sleep are:
- Frequent urination during pregnancy due to pressure on the bladder by the uterus.
- Frequent bouts of heartburn can wake you up in the middle of the night.
- Pregnant women experience excruciating leg cramps and backaches in the advanced trimesters that disrupt their sleep.
- Research findings suggest that pregnant women often report vivid dreams and nightmares during this phase.
- Stress or being worried about what lies ahead for the baby, its health and wellbeing. Or just being nervous about the delivery itself.
How to Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep?
- (S.O.S.) Sleep on your side: Early on at the start of your pregnancy, develop the habit of sleeping on your side. When you sleep on the side, preferably the left side, with your knees bent, it is likely to be the most comfortable position. This will also make it easy for your heart and circulation, as the baby’s weight might end up applying pressure to the large vein or inferior vena cava, which is responsible for carrying blood from the heart to your legs. But when we sleep, sometimes our movements are voluntary and we may roll back on our back. So don’t stress over this and start the habit early on.
- Use pregnancy pillows: Experiment with your pillows to set up a comfortable sleeping position. Placing pillows under the abdomen between the legs or just a support on the back of your neck will relieve some pressure. Find one that does not cause any stress to your body.
- Don’t sleep on your tummy: While sleeping on the left is ideal, sleeping on the right is not bad, however, it is advised to not sleep on your back or your tummy. Especially in the advanced stages of pregnancy. This adds excess pressure on the womb area and pushes the organs up making it difficult in the later stages of childbirth. Research suggests that from the 28th week if an expectant mother falls asleep on her back it doubles the risk of stillbirth due to blocked flow of blood and oxygen to the baby.
- Avoid doing the following things that are known to disrupt your sleep:
- Over-the-counter sleep aids (herbal or otherwise)
- Caffeinated drinks like soda, coffee, and tea.
- Drinking fluids or eating a full meal in less than 2 hours of going to bed.
- Rigorous exercises before going to bed.
What are the Possible Solutions for Interrupted Sleep?
- Make a routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time, every day to ensure you are chimed into the normal circadian rhythm.
- Do something relaxing. Read a book, have warm water or herbal tea.
- To avoid leg cramps press your feet hard against the wall or stretch before going to bed.
- Add ample calcium and magnesium to your diet.
- Learn prenatal yoga or Lamaze to learn relaxation techniques if your OB-GYN approves.
- If you can’t sleep at a stretch, take 30 mins or 1 hour-long power naps to get the amount of rest the body needs.
In conclusion, sleeping is essential for the baby’s growth and it keeps the body of the mother well rested. Not getting sleep or restricted sleep is very common during these delicate times. Therefore, it is advisable to ensure that you are monitored throughout, with a hands-on healthcare partner, who is available to advise patients on how to keep their pregnancy going smoothly. If you seek advice, then we recommend you book an appointment at the CK Birla Hospital for a comprehensive and compassionate approach to childbirth.
Is it OK to sleep a lot during pregnancy?
Yes. During the onset of pregnancy, the hormone progesterone increases in our body. This increases the metabolism as well, causing daytime drowsiness and fatigue. In case this also happens to be a subsequent pregnancy, then looking after your other child might also make you very tired and, hence sleepy.
Do you get more sleepy in the later trimesters of pregnancy?
With the next trimester, it is imperative that the body gets ample rest in order to be able to carry the excess weight of the baby around all day. So even if there is uninterrupted sleep at night, it is good if you take frequent naps to stay rested and energised at the same time.
Does sleeping affect the baby during pregnancy?
Research suggests pregnant women who don’t end up getting enough sleep during pregnancy, develop a higher risk of developing complications like: Preeclampsia, or high blood pressure (hypertension). This means that there will be problems during the birthing process making it risky for both the mother and her child.
Does back pain get worse at night during pregnancy?
Pregnancy back pain gets worse at night because of the venous engorgement in the pelvis. As the uterus expands it presses on the vena cava, which is the main vein responsible for the circulation of blood from the heart onto the lower parts of the body, including feet. This happens particularly at night when the expectant mother is lying down.
How to relieve back pain during pregnancy while sleeping?
To relieve this make sure that there is ample pillow support all around to keep the position comfortable for the mother without affecting the position of the baby. Apart from this
- Stay hydrated to keep your blood circulation normal
- Practise yoga to ensure you get enough mobility for unrestricted circulation.
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