21 Sleep Tips for Pregnant Women

pregnant woman graffittiSleep is important to health of all people, but during pregnancy it is of utmost importance. During a womens pregnancy, she needs to get plenty of extra rest. A growing fetus puts a lot of strain on a womens body and she needs to get more sleep to re-fuel and keep going.

Women are so tired because of the new hormones cycling through their bodies. Progesterone has a sleepy effect to it and makes women much more tired and want to sleep more or later. Each trimester has its own unique symptoms that can make sleep more difficult than when not pregnant.

1st Trimester

During the first trimester, a woman can go through a range of emotions from scared to ecstatic. Adding the new hormones in the loop, and she can go from happy to horrible in record time. Sleep challenges are very common due to the bodys reaction to all the hormones.

The rise in progesterone that sustains a pregnancy causes many women to feel tired continuously. The rise in HCG might also trigger the tired response too, which would explain why women tend to be more tired in the first trimester and feel much better in the second. Sore breasts and a blossoming bust line may also make getting comfortable difficult.

If you are a tummy sleeper, you might find your breasts are getting in the way or hurt when you lay on them. Constipation and the ever-expanding uterus also make for discomforting nights. Add in frequent bathroom breaks per day and it is surprising that any pregnant woman sleeps at all.

Progesterone is just a wonder hormone, not only does it makes you sleepy; it makes you have to urinate all the time by increasing your kidney function. Nausea, also called morning sickness, also makes sleep a challenge. This nausea can and does strike at all hours of the day and night, especially when lying down or is triggered by smell.

First Trimester Survival Tips

1) Get as much rest as possible and sleep in when you can. Getting extra rest will help you stay out of the sleep debt that can cause your symptoms to worsen.

2) Stay hydrated, but drink most of your liquids during the day and avoid them later in the evening so you can cut down on nighttime bathroom visits.

3) Combat nausea with crackers or small bland snacks. Eat often and in small amounts to prevent getting sick from an empty tummy. Keep crackers at your beside for when nausea hits you in bed or in the morning.

4) Sleep on your left side as much as you can. This is the best position for good circulation. Use extra pillows between your knees or under your belly to help keep you more comfortable.

5) Have a night light in the bathroom so you dont have to turn on the light and wake yourself fully.

6) Make sure you try to go to bed at the same time every night. This puts your body on a schedule.

7) Take naps. If you are tired then go sleep, you body is telling you to do something.

2nd Trimester

Many pregnant ladies are happy to hit that 2nd trimester mark. Not only does it mean there is a less risk of a miscarriage, but also the nausea, frequent urination, and sleepiness have pretty much gone away. Women usually feel their best and have a boost of energy during this time. They are starting to show, but arent too big for comfort.

There are plenty of maladies to plague sleep during this time. To make room for the enlarging uterus, the diaphragm is restricted and breathing becomes shallower. This causes the infamous heartburn. Many women only have to eat or drink anything and get it.

Many women notice their dreams become increasingly frightening as pregnancy develops. Many women have dreams that they left or lost the baby. Plus, dreams become extremely vivid.

Second Trimester Survival Tips

8) In order to avoid heartburn; try to avoid spicy, fatty, or fried foods

9) Sleep with your head and neck elevated to keep the stomach acid down

10) Eat frequent small meals throughout the day

11) Use antacids, they are effective and safe.

12) Enjoy your 2nd trimester and better sleep, but keep sleeping. Extra rest is still a good thing

13) When sleeping, lie on your side with your knees and hips bent. Place pillows between your knees, under your tummy and behind your back. This can help take pressure off your lower back.

14) To avoid nightmares try not to eat too much before bed and talk out any fears you might have with your partner or a therapist.

3rd Trimester

The third trimester is the most sleep challenged stage of pregnancy. With the frequency of urination, inability to get comfortable, extra weight, and preparing for the new baby, some women find themselves struggling to stay awake.

Rigorous fetal movements and fetal hiccups can also impede sleep. Aches and pains of many kinds can be expected at this time. The joints are loosening and preparing for birth, the body is carrying all the extra weight, and even walking can be tough.

Many women during pregnancy wake frequently during the night for no reason, which can cause her to be sleepy in the morning. Many women find that they have begun snoring. During the later stages of pregnancy, many women find that their nasal passages have swollen and have more nasal congestion. Many women complain of leg cramps during the 3rd trimester as well.

The muscles of the legs are carrying a lot of weight and tend to get stiff. Once relaxed at night they can tense up or spasm, causing great pain and keeping some women awake.

Third Trimester Survival Tips

15) Sleep on your left side. This allows for the best blood flow to the fetus, your uterus and kidneys. It also improves circulation of blood back to the heart.

16) Try using a body pillow to help you sleep better.

17) Avoid sodas and other carbonated drinks, they can cause leg cramps.

18) If youre getting a lot of swelling and begin snoring, call you doctor

19) If you develop Restless Legs Syndrome, talk to your doctor about an iron deficiency.

20) If you cant sleep get up and do something else. Read, watch T.V., listen to music, clean, you may get tired enough to want to go back to bed.

21) If you are getting leg cramps, straighten your leg and flex your foot upwards, this will help get the kink out. Do these several times before going to bed as a stretching routine to avoid the cramps all together.

photo of graffitti by Petteri Sulonen/Creative Commons

PregnancyWikipedia: Pregnancy is the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as an embryo or fetus, in a woman’s uterus.