Sleeping While Pregnant: Overcoming the Challenges and Sleeping Well
Are you an expectant parent, eagerly waiting to catch the first glimpse of your baby’s face as you hold him/her in your hands? Well, there is absolutely no denying the fact pregnancy is the most beautiful phase in a woman’s life and of course, the would-be father’s life as well. However, it is also one of the most challenging phases because pregnancy changes a woman’s body in more than one way. One of these challenges revolves around sleeping. If you have always assumed that sleeping would be difficult after your little one arrives, let us tell you that it might be as troublesome during your pregnancy too.
To be more precise, in the first trimester, you are unlikely to face the sleeping challenges because you are usually tired and sleepy with your placenta just forming to nourish and protect your baby. It is actually from the second trimester that you will encounter certain problems in having a deep, uninterrupted sleep. So, first, let’s find out the difficulties.
What Makes Sleeping Difficult During Pregnancy?
The most obvious reason is the growing size of the foetus, which makes it rather confusing for you to find a good sleeping position. Also, if you have a tendency to shift around in bed in between your sleep, this is something you will not be able to do as your pregnancy progresses.
It is not just the sleeping position that comes in your way. In fact, women who are habituated sleeping on the sides would not find this position aspect problematic at all. The frequent urge to pee as your kidneys work harder to filter the increased volume of blood moving through your body ends up disturbing your sleep. The heart rate also increases because your uterus needs more blood now and the heart needs to send this blood to the uterus as well as the rest of your body. Now, this increased heart rate might cause shortness of breath, which again interrupts your sleep, compelling you to breathe more.
As your belly size grows and the weight you are carrying inside increases, you feel certain pain in your legs and back. Your body creates a hormone called Relaxin during this time. One of the effects of this hormone is the loosening of ligaments throughout the body. As such, you might develop muscle cramp while sleeping, thereby, having to wake up in the middle of the night at times.
When the growing uterus presses on the stomach or the large intestine, many women suffer from digestive problems, constipation or heartburn. These also interfere in your sleep, making the situation worse for you.
How to Identify the Right Sleeping Position?
There is absolutely no reason for you to assume that pregnancy will definitely disturb your sleep. It does create some problems in varying degrees for different women but there are solutions too. A good sleeping position is a very effective solution in most cases. Try sleeping on your side with your knees bent. This is the most comfortable position because it lets your heart keep the baby’s weight from exerting pressure on the large vein that carries blood from your feet and legs back to the heart.
It is even better to sleep on the left side in particular. This way, your uterus lies on the other side of your liver. The blood circulation also improves with improved blood flow to the foetus, kidneys and the uterus.
If you don’t have a habit of sleeping on the side, it is advisable that you start practising during your first trimester when sleeping is usually uninterrupted. By the time, you start facing the problems, you will be able to sleep comfortably on your side and avoid them from disturbing your sleep.
Sleeping on your back is something you must avoid. However, it causes no immediate effect or damage to either your body or your baby. So, it is better not to be too cautious and avoid rolling on your back at any cost. This will cause stress and will disturb your sleep even more. In your third trimester, you will anyway find it extremely uncomfortable to sleep on your back.
One important way of sleeping well is by experimenting with the placement of your pillows. Place then under the abdomen or between the legs to enhance your comfort. A rolled-up blanket at the small of your back may also help relieve some pressure. There are pregnancy pillows available out there, which you can also try of course with your doctor’s advice.
A Few More Tips on Sleeping Well During Pregnancy
- Avoid caffeine and aerated drinks and restrict the intake of fluid just before going to bed
- Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
- Practice yoga and other relaxation techniques
- Stretch your muscles before going to bed to avoid leg crampsAbove all, stay happy, relaxed and anxiety-free and you will have a smooth and pleasurable pregnancy.