Pregnancy Guide for Sleep

While the struggle to get a good night’s sleep is common, there are factors and conditions that can exacerbate this struggle. Pregnancy is one of them. Expecting mothers experience all kinds of sleeping issues during that nine-month period, symptoms varying throughout each stage of pregnancy. Being pregnant is exhausting, so women often question why they can’t seem to fall asleep when it feels like they need it the most? From nightmares to simply not being able to get comfortable, moms-to-be have trouble sleeping because of the hormonal and physical changes that come with pregnancy. While this can be incredibly frustrating, there are a number of ways to mitigate the effects of pregnancy on your sleep. To help you find that much needed rest, we will explore some common sleep issues and provide you with tips on how to maintain a better sleep schedule while pregnant.

The First Trimester

During early pregnancy, the levels of the hormone progesterone increase and your metabolism is running high, causing daytime sleepiness in pregnant women. Ironically enough, it is during the first trimester of pregnancy that women often have the most trouble sleeping. Aside from the fluctuating hormones, there are a few normal symptoms (such as morning sickness) that can disturb your sleep. One of the biggest sleep disturbances during the early stages of pregnancy is more frequent urination. Many women find themselves getting out of bed multiple times a night to go to the bathroom. You know those increased levels of progesterone? You have that and your growing uterus to thank. This increase in urination is completely normal, but you can decrease the number of trips to the bathroom by simply avoiding drinking fluids in the evening. You will need to drink plenty of water during the day to make up for this, but you hopefully won’t be losing as much sleep as a result. Another factor that keeps expecting mothers awake is stress, especially if this is their first pregnancy. An excellent way to reduce stress is to keep a journal. The simple act of journaling your thoughts or concerns can provide enough calm to help you fall asleep.

The Second Trimester

In the second trimester, expectant mothers typically find that the frequent urge to urinate actually decreases. However, just as this symptom fades it is often replaced by physical discomfort. While sleep can improve during this trimester, your changing body and growing baby can present some new obstacles. Your growing belly may make it more difficult to get comfortable, so it may be time to switch up your sleep position. Sleeping on your side with your knees bent is the most favorable position to sleep in while pregnant. It is important to avoid sleeping on your back because this can cause the weight of your uterus to put pressure on your spine and back muscles, causing new pain or discomfort. Using pillows strategically can provide additional comfort. Carefully-placed pillows can keep you from rolling onto your back. You can also place a pillow between your bent knees or under your stomach to provide extra support in those areas.

The Third Trimester

During this last trimester of pregnancy, you may find that the frequent urge to urinate returns along with some additional symptoms such as heartburn and leg cramps. While these disturbances are uncomfortable, they are common and are nothing to worry about! Establishing a consistent sleep routine can actually help you avoid these tiresome symptoms. Your sleep routine can include relaxation techniques such as taking a warm bath, light exercise or reading to help prepare your body for sleep. Optimizing your sleep environment can also help you relax. A dark, quiet, and cool room might be just the trick to promote better sleep.

If you are an expecting mother who finds it increasingly difficult to get decent sleep, we hope some of these tips along with a comfortable sleeping environment will help you get the rest you deserve. If you are still struggling to figure out which course of action to take to improve your sleep, please consult with your healthcare provider to find a method that will work for you!