Sleep Disturbances During Pregnancy

June 8, 2011

Paradoxically, at a time when you really need the extra rest, you may be unable to get the sleep you need during your pregnancy. Your doctor-not to mention well-meaning friends and family members-- are probably all telling you to rest. While this is essentially good advice, since fatigue can be a big problem during the first and third trimesters, sleep disturbances during these times are not only common, but likely. The extra progesterone which pregnancy brings can make you feel almost impossibly drowsy during the daytime, leaving you feeling so fatigued you may actually think you are coming down with something. A pregnant friend of mine who worked in an office setting could be found during her lunch break sacked out under her desk-the level of fatigue you are feeling can significantly diminish any embarrassment you might have about sleeping in front of others!

The First Three Months Pregnant

The hormonal changes that pregnancy brings to your body during the first trimester can leave you feeling fatigued to the point that you are not even sure you can drag yourself out of bed in the morning, and find yourself falling back into bed much earlier than normal. Some scientists believe there is actually a biological function for the bone-tired feeling in that it may protect your baby during the early-and critical-weeks of pregnancy. In our ever-increasingly busy world, finding the time to catch a catnap can be difficult, if not impossible. While we may simply fuel up on coffee or other sources of caffeine to combat fatigue when not pregnant, this is not an option while carrying a baby. Working women can do their best to get a bit of rest during their lunch break, and if you are a stay-at-home mom with little ones, forget the housework, and nap when they do. Try to get into bed earlier in the evenings to combat the fatigue.

Changing Hormone Levels When Pregnant

Almost all pregnant women will experience some level of insomnia during their pregnancy due to fluctuating hormone levels, not to mention the stress which accompanies the news of a pregnancy. Because having a baby is such a life-changing event, it is normal to worry about issues related to the new arrival, such as finances. When you are lying in bed staring at the ceiling and watching the clock change from minute to minute, get up and try to do something which will bring sleep. Drink a glass of warm milk, listen to soothing music, or read a relaxing book until you feel sleepy again.

The Final Three Months Pregnant

Although most women feel better during the middle three months as their nausea and fatigue subsides, the final three months can bring that exhaustion back with a vengeance. Your growing baby is demanding more and more from your body, and it may be next to impossible to find a comfortable sleeping position with your growing belly and tender breasts. Some women find that body pillows help support their tummy, allowing them to obtain some measure of comfort. Unfortunately, even if you are able to find a good sleeping position, it is highly likely you will be awakened time after time

 for a trip to the bathroom. Babies tend to push on your bladder-some more than others-making it necessary to get up several times during the night, and causing many women difficulty in returning to sleep. While some pregnant moms limit their fluids for a couple of hours before bedtime, even this may not halt the frequent trips to the bathroom.

Tips to Get the Rest You Need When Pregnant

Aside from using body pillows to support your tummy and back, you may try relaxation techniques such as stretching, yoga, massage and deep breathing to calm your mind and your muscles. Regular exercise can help you get the sleep you need, although you should avoid any type of vigorous exercise for several hours prior to your bedtime in the evening. Cut way back on your caffeine consumption, and try taking a warm bath prior to bedtime. If you can manage to get eight to ten hours of sleep each night during your pregnancy, you will notice a significant increase in your daytime energy levels.

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