Excessive sleep during pregnancy- Is it normal?

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During antenatal classes, midwives and gynaecologists often discuss the changes in sleep patterns during pregnancy. This is because most women are confused and often alarmed by the level of fatigue and sleepiness they experience during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women may wonder why they now experience excessive sleep during pregnancy.

No one knows exactly why pregnant women often feel tired. Many medical experts say that the rapidly changing hormones, pregnancy-induced low blood pressure and blood sugar might be responsible for excessive sleep during pregnancy.

As the pregnancy progresses into the second trimester, the woman might feel a new burst of energy. Her sleep patterns will normalize. But things might change as she enters the third trimester. The physical exhaustion and sleepiness might return. This happens because of the fatigue and the stress of carrying the baby’s weight. All these are likely going to make it nearly impossible for the women to enjoy the good night’s sleep necessary for a healthy pregnancy.

Why you shouldn’t worry about excessive sleep during pregnancy

According to the National Health Research Institute, pregnant women need more hours of quality night’s sleep, and 8 to 10 hours is the recommended amount. Alternatively, daytime naps can be taken to supplement sleep. But poor quality of sleep can be dangerous to the woman’s health. It can lead to high blood pressure, insomnia, pre-eclampsia, and other complications.

Pregnant women who sleep better are less likely to suffer from anxiety attacks and depression. Getting the right amount of sleep during pregnancy can also boost a woman’s mood. Many pregnant women admit to being irritable and distracted when they hadn’t gotten enough sleep.
So, excessive sleep during pregnancy isn’t such a bad thing after all.

"Women need to get a lot more sleep during pregnancy than they did before their got pregnant,” said Felicia Jang, dean of midwifery at the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakiliki.

excessive sleep during pregnancy

Tips for improving the quality of your sleep during pregnancy

1. Lie on your right side
The best sleeping position for most pregnant women is as follows: lie on your right side, with the knees slightly bent. According to Jang, certified midwife, pregnant women should lie more on their left side. This position is excellent because it tends to put less pressure on the woman’s heart.

2. Plan, programme and prioritize sleep
Doctors recommend that pregnant women go to bed earlier so that they can spend at least eight hours in bed. The goal is to help the woman get up to 7 hours of sleep, and in this case excessive sleep during pregnancy is ideal.
Plan your sleep. Draw up a realistic bedtime program. Take steps to help you make sure you get the right amount of sleep.

3. Exercise
Incorporate thirty-minute, non-impact exercises into your daily routine. Not only will workouts improve blood circulation, but they will also strengthen your heart. Before you start exercising, get permission from your doctor or midwife.

4. Stay hydrated
Drink lots of water two hours before bedtime. Eat watery fruits too. A few examples of fluid-filled fruits are watermelon, oranges, pineapples, pawpaw and soursop. Consume these fluids a few hours before bedtime so that you won’t have to disrupt your sleep for toilet breaks.

5. Avoid foods that cause heartburn
Many women suffer from heartburns during pregnancy. If you are one of them, you must take steps to avoid overeating. Modify your diet. Avoid spicy foods, too. Making good choices can improve the quality of your sleep by 50%.

6. Take a warm bath
Taking a warm bath can help you sleep during pregnancy. You can add a few drops of essential oils to improve the effectiveness of the bath. Not only do warm baths open up the blood vessels, they also enhance blood circulation in the body.

Although sleep patterns change throughout the pregnancies, women must take steps to ensure that they are getting the recommended 8 – 10 hours of sleep daily. To enhance the quality of your sleep during pregnancy, You can take warm showers, drink a lot of fluids, take food supplements and sleep in a comfortable position.

Resource: nhlbi.gov

Also Read: Leg cramps during pregnancy while sleeping

Written by

Julie Adeboye