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Sleep During Pregnancy: Things You Must Know!

women sleep during pregnancy
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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 of 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 or 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 for 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 in 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 to book an appointment with Dr Priyanka Suhag at the CK Birla Hospital for a comprehensive and compassionate approach to childbirth.

FAQ:

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, hence sleepy.

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.

How to relieve back pain during pregnancy while sleeping?

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 on to the lower parts of the body, including feet. This happens particularly at night when the expectant mother is lying down. 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. Stay hydrated and practise yoga, this will ensure that your body gets enough mobility so that your circulation is not blocked in any way.

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