Although getting pregnant is a joyous occasion, the actual pregnancy can be physically challenging. For those nine months, expect pregnancy to affect the possibility of a good nights’ sleep. Poor sleep throughout pregnancy affects labor and delivery, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco discovered. Pregnant women who sleep less than six hours a night experience longer labors and are nearly five times more likely to need a cesarean section.
1. Daytime Drowsiness
During the first trimester, the hormone responsible for inducing sleep progesterone increases. Expect to feel tired during the day, and make sure to take advantage of those siestas while you can.
2. Snoring or Sleep Apnea
Hormonal changes may repress your muscles and cause you to snore, possibly even causing sleep apnea.
Pregnant woman resting image by SchwangerSchaft via Flickr.
3. Frequent Urination
Blood flow increases during pregnancy, causing excess fluid to circulate, which your kidneys process and then send to your bladder. If you experience swelling in your feet and lower limbs, you will urinate more frequently during the night. Also, hormonal changes that cause muscle repression can contribute to more frequent urination, and as your uterus begins to press on your bladder, you’ll feel like you need to urinate more often.
- Avoid drinking tea and coffee late in the day
- Drink the majority of your fluids during the daytime
- Lean forward as you urinate to help empty your bladder completely
Morning sickness can occur anywhere, anytime.
- Eat bland snacks throughout the day, such as crackers, chicken broth and pretzels
- Stay cool. Heat makes nausea worse
- Take vitamin B-6 (50 mg daily) to help alleviate nausea
Increasing pregnancy weight causes backaches. Minimize pain by wearing a sleeping bra and maternity belt for added support. Embrace pillows — place them behind your back and between your legs.
6. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
RLS creates an uncomfortable sensation in the legs that compels you to move. Find relief from RLS with a warm bath. Stretching, walking or leg massages also help.
7. Lack of Comfortable Positions
If you toss and turn throughout the night because you can’t get comfortable, upgrade your sleeping environment. For a healthy pregnancy, you need to have room to stretch and turn. Mitigate an aching neck or back by replacing the mattress. The idea that a firmer mattress is better is a common misconception. According to The National Sleep Foundation, mattresses for any bed should have a little give.
8. Breast Pain
Breasts become tender as early as the first trimester. Side sleeping takes pressure off, and the recommended sleeping position is on your left side. Nutrients will reach the baby because it increases the blood flow to your uterus.