Precious sleep during pregnancy
Precious Sleep During Pregnancy
Whether pregnant or not, getting enough sleep is vital for physical and mental health. Good sleep during pregnancy has so many benefits, including improved immune function, better mood, sharper mind, less weight gain, and a better childbirth experience in general. So why don’t moms get the rest they need? One theory is that more mothers are working outside the home but responsibilities at home aren’t lightening. Sleep just becomes less of a priority when trying to juggle so many things. Regardless of the reason, one thing is clear: it’s imperative to get quality sleep during pregnancy.
Tips to help you get a great night’s rest
During pregnancy, your body is doing so much work. Many women feel extra fatigue during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. To help yourself get the best rest possible, try these sleeping tips:
- Eliminate drinks with caffeine
- Take short naps during the day
- Establish a bedtime routine
- Do something relaxing before bed such as taking a warm bath or reading a book
- Avoid strenuous exercise up to two hours before bed
- Try not to eat or drink much in the hours leading up to bedtime, as this increases the probability you’ll wake up needing to use the bathroom
Sleep is especially important during pregnancy
Emerging studies reveal the negative effects of sleep deprivation on pregnant women and their babies. Two of the most alarming findings are an increased risk of premature birth and postpartum depression. Getting enough sleep during pregnancy can also help you have a smoother delivery. Pregnant women who are sleep deprived (consistently snoozing less than 6 hours a night) experience:
- Longer labor
- More painful labor
- A higher risk of preterm labor
- Increased C-section rates
- Higher rates of postpartum depression
Throughout pregnancy, you should always avoid sleeping on your back or stomach. On your back, the weight of the baby puts pressure on one of the body’s largest vein, making your heart work harder. Your doctor or midwife may recommend sleeping specifically on your left side, which allows for the best blood flow and organ function for your body.
Getting comfortable during the last trimester
As the baby grows, it becomes more difficult to get comfortable when sleeping. Pregnancy pillows or a rolled blanket can be helpful in finding a comfortable position. Experiment with putting pillows in different places to help support the extra weight your body is carrying. While laying on your side, try placing one under your belly, between your legs, or pressed up against your back.
Some women feel extra anxiety during pregnancy, and with good reason. Having a baby is a life-altering experience. It’s easy to question your capabilities as a parent when you’ve never been one before. Getting plenty of sleep during pregnancy can help, but what if the stress keeps you from sleeping at night? Consider enrolling in a childbirth course or parenting classes where you can improve your skills and connect with other new parents who may be experiencing the same things. Learning calming techniques such as prenatal yoga or breathing patterns – as well as getting enough exercise – can help you relax, too. Take advantage of those night time sleep hours while you still can; sleep during pregnancy is precious!
What would you suggest for pregnant women who are having trouble sleeping? Share your ideas in the comments below!