Sleep during pregnancy: what changes should you expect?
Pregnancy sometimes comes with changes in the quality of sleep a woman gets every night. Amazingly, issues relating to sleep during pregnancy can vary depending on the trimester. You could enjoy quality sleep in the first semester and enter the second semester only to find that it is impossible to doze off.
As your body is going through the process of growing and nurturing a baby, you’ll find that there are so many changes to cope with, including problems with sleep during pregnancy. We’ll show you the changes to expect and how to cope with the discomfort.
Sleep during pregnancy: why is everything different?
Tiredness and fatigue at this point in your life can be attributed to hormones and your rapidly growing body. Pregnancy hormones can make you feel tired, nauseous, irritable, and emotional. As the pregnancy progresses, you will get bigger, which can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleep position.
Usually, once you have adapted and found a comfortable position, frequent urination will have you running from your bed to the toilet and back again. This back and forth movement will end up affecting the quality of your sleep.
Not getting adequate sleep can make your pregnancy experience harder than it needs to be.
Sleep during pregnancy: changes to expect per trimester
According to the NHS, each trimester will bring its own unique set of sleep problems. This is because as your pregnancy advances, your body does different things at different points to accommodate your growing baby.
- First trimester sleep problems
Feeling sleepy during the day
Waking up frequently to pee
Difficulty sleeping due to emotional and physical stress that comes with pregnancy
2. Second trimester sleep problems
During the second semester, the woman can get better quality of sleep because the baby is no longer sitting directly above the bladder at this point. The baby has grown and moved higher, so the pressure and the need to urinate frequently will no longer be a problem.
However, it is possible to still suffer from sleeplessness due to hormonal and physical issues.
3. Third trimester sleep problems
This is the most difficult phase when it comes to sleep during pregnancy. These discomforts are because of:
• The size of the pregnancy
• Frequent urination because the baby is big and constantly moving around
• Leg cramps, heartburn and sinus issues
What are the best sleeping positions during pregnancy?
Before you got pregnant, you could fall sleep in any position without having to worry about it. Now that you are pregnant, not only will some of your pre-pregnancy positions be uncomfortable, but some of them can be really unsafe for the baby.
For your comfort and health, the best sleeping position during pregnancy is the SOS (sleep on side). AmericanPregnancy.org suggests that sleeping on your left side is even better, as it will allow the free flow of blood and nutrients to your placenta.
The SOS position is comfortable if you bend your legs and knees and put a pillow between them. You can also put a pillow under your belly when you are in the SOS position.
Sleeping on your back during pregnancy
According to the NHS, sleeping on your back after 28 weeks of pregnancy can increase the chances of having a stillbirth. This is because sleeping on your back during pregnancy can cut short the supply of blood and oxygen to the baby.
If you wake up in the middle of the night and find yourself lying on your back, you should immediately turn around and lie on your side.
Sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach can be very uncomfortable in advanced stages of pregnancy. It is also an unsafe position for you and your baby.
How to sleep better during pregnancy
WebMD has listed some tips that can help with sleep during pregnancy to include:
• Eat carbs
Foods that are high in carbohydrate can promote sound sleep in pregnancy. You should eat bread, rice, yams, and other healthy carbs.
• Eat proteins
Proteins help you maintain a healthy blood sugar, which can help prevent nightmares and headaches.
• Pillows can help
There are pregnancy pillows to make sleeping more bearable. You should place the pillows under your back and abdomen and between your legs.
Exercise and good sleep go hand-in-hand. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, also known as the happiness hormone. Endorphins improve your mood and promote sound sleep even when you are pregnant. However, make sure to discuss your exercise routines with your doctor during pregnancy.
• Relaxation techniques
Relaxation techniques like yoga and massage can relax your muscles and help you sleep better.
Things that can affect sleep in pregnancy
• Drinking water too close to your bedtime
• Consuming caffeine
• Poor nutrition
Quality sleep is one of the struggles many pregnant women face. To make sure you get as much sleep as possible, we have provided sleep during pregnancy tips for all three trimesters.
Resource: American Pregnancy
Read Also: Is sleep really essential for health?