Guest post by: Renee of Pregnancy Pillows
Top Tips for Sleeping During Pregnancy
You probably expect to lose lots of sleep once your baby is born. But what about during your pregnancy? As a woman's body readies itself for childbirth and nurtures a growing fetus, it undergoes a lot of changes that make it hard to sleep. Since sleep is very important for both your health and the health of your baby, it's important to stay ahead of these changes and try to get as much rest as you can.
Each trimester presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to your sleep schedule. While there are a few catch-all solutions that will improve your sleep during every trimester (like using a pregnancy pillow), many other tricks will only help during a single trimester. Keeping track of where you are during your pregnancy is especially important when it comes to understanding the changes your body is going through and what you can do to get a good night's sleep.
First Trimester: Fatigue and Tenderness
During the first several weeks of your pregnancy, your body will dedicate most of its energy towards your growing baby. This means that you'll be tired all the time. While you might think that this means falling asleep at night will be easy, it often means the opposite! The extreme fatigue you experience will make daytime naps an attractive and easily achievable option. When it's time to go to bed at night, however, your naps will have a negative effect. Experts recommend that you don't nap after 4 PM and limit daytime naps to a max duration of 30 minutes each (it's much better to take two 30 minute naps than a single 1-hour nap).
Your body itself will also begin to grow cranky. You'll experience "morning" sickness at all hours of the day and night as well as pelvic cramps and tender breasts. Exercise and crackers can help mitigate both of these issues. Try to get a healthy amount of cardio and leave some saltines on your bedside table. You'll be a lot more tired when it's time to hit the sack and you'll have a handy supply of crackers to help quell your angsty stomach.
Finally, as your fetus forms, it'll push on your bladder and cause you to urinate more frequently. Proper hydration is extremely important (and can help alleviate other pregnancy symptoms) so don't drink less. Instead, think about what you drink and when. Avoid caffeine and other diuretics, especially in the evening, and try to drink less after 6 PM. You'll keep bathroom bedtime visits to a minimum.
Second Trimester: Uncomfortable Issues
The second trimester of pregnancy brings vivid, intense dreams as well as heartburn. Try meditation in order to calm yourself before you sleep to keep your nightmares at bay and make sure that your sleeping environment is cozy and comfortable. To combat heartburn, limit your consumption of foods that cause acid reflux during your pregnancy. You'll want to stay away from acidic foods (like tomatoes, coffee, and anything sour) and spicy ones. You might consider increasing your consumption of foods like leafy greens, shellfish (in moderation), and mushrooms to help counteract the effects of heartburn. One final solution to heartburn is to stay upright after you eat. Experts suggest that keeping your esophagus vertical can help minimize acid reflux symptoms since gravity helps keep your stomach acid in check.
Third Trimester: The Final Stretch
For most women, the last few weeks of pregnancy come with back pain, frequent urination, and often restless leg syndrome. While peeing isn't an entirely new issue (it occurs in both trimester 1 and 3) it can be even worse during the final few months of your pregnancy. Be extra vigilant with your fluids and avoid anything that'll make you pee at night.
Restless leg syndrome is a bit harder to combat. While it's not universal (it occurs in about 1 in 5 women), it's an utterly eerie sensation that's described as feeling like ants crawling around under your skin. There's some evidence that links RLS to people with low levels of iron and folate, so taking a multivitamin and eating your leafy greens might help.
Finally, when it comes to your back, consider a pregnancy pillow. Not only will a pregnancy pillow help take stress off of your back when you sleep, it'll help you feel safe and secure in your bed. This can help combat anxiety and bad dreams and will make it less stressful when you lie awake at night. It's one of the few solutions for sleeping during your pregnancy that offers a big improvement during every trimester.
Getting Enough Sleep Is Important
Over 19 out of every 20 women report having issues sleeping during their pregnancy. By following some of the tips above, you can help mitigate the impact of your pregnancy on your sleep and protect your health and the health of your baby. Avoiding acidic foods, monitoring your fluid intake, and purchasing a pregnancy pillow will all go a long way towards improving the quality of your sleep. By getting enough rest, you'll lower the chances of having birth complications or requiring a C-section.
~ Renee from pregnancypillows.org