When you are pregnant, your body and mind work somewhat differently than when you are not. Your mind may be occupied with the health and development of the baby, life changes to come after childbirth, or fears of the unknown. Your body is also busy, growing your little one and providing for his development, which takes a lot of energy and nutrients from your body.
One of the changes in your daily routine caused by pregnancy usually manifests at night, when you are laying down and ready for a much-needed good night’s sleep. You will find that throughout your pregnancy, sleep becomes harder and rarer. Maybe it is nature, designed to prepare us for sleepless nights after birth, but the fact is, when you need it most, sleep becomes harder to get.
Causes of Sleep Problems During Pregnancy
1. Frequent Urination
Nighttime urination is usually the first cause of sleepless nights during pregnancy, and the frequent urge to urinate at night affects your sleep pattern drastically. Several physical changes occur, blood levels increase, and your growing baby pressures the bladder, causing you to urinate a lot at night.
2. Vivid Dreams
Next are the dreams, which may be caused by fears, concerns, and other thoughts about becoming a parent. Veteran moms also report strange dreams during pregnancy, so you are not free of these in subsequent pregnancies.
3. Your Growing Bump
As the pregnancy progresses and your weight and belly grow, you will find that you cannot sleep on your back or stomach comfortably anymore. It is suggested that you start wearing lightweight and breathable maternity wear and refrain from sleeping on your back after the 20th week.
4. Pains and Cramps
Some women suffer from hip pain and wake up repeatedly due to it or experience pain when rolling over, which can be challenging to do. Further along in your pregnancy, you may find it hard to get out of bed at all and may need to devise strategies to get yourself up. Funny as it may sound, it is not pleasant and may be frustrating at times. But you can find comfort in that it is all temporary (until the subsequent pregnancy) and will go away after childbirth.
5. Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Believe it or not, but Hubby may find it hard to sleep, too, during your pregnancy. Whether or not you used to snore before the pregnancy, you are likely to do so now, especially during the third trimester. Snoring during pregnancy happens due to increased blood in your body and blood vessel expansion, which leads to swollen nasal membranes. You may also suffer from sleep apnea, which will dissolve after childbirth, much like the other night discomforts.
How Does Your Sleep Change During Every Trimester?
You may have given thought to the lack of sleep you will experience when your baby arrives, but did you expect your sleep to be interrupted while expecting your baby? Most women don’t think of this scenario. But sleep problems during pregnancy are actually fairly common.
1. First Trimester
During the first trimester, you may find that you sleep more than usual. And while you sleep more, you may be confused about why you are still so tired throughout the day. Fatigue is a common symptom of pregnancy during the first trimester, and this is due to hormonal changes and fetus development that use up most of your energy. Usually, women get a second wind after the 14th-16th week.
You may also experience numerous waking throughout the night due to an increased need to use the restroom. Sleep may also be disrupted due to physical and emotional stress associated with the pregnancy.
2. Second Trimester
The second trimester is typically associated with improved sleep, mainly due to less frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom. This is due to reduced pressure on the bladder as the fetus moves above it. Physical and emotional stresses are still factors that affect the quality of your sleep.
3. Third Trimester
The third trimester is when most sleep problems arise. At this point, discomfort may keep you from sleeping. Due to your growing belly, you can only sleep on your side, and other pregnancy pains can keep you up. Heartburn, leg cramps, and sinus congestion are a few other reasons that may also cause sleep deprivation. And on top of it, all frequent nighttime urination returns as your baby’s position changes and puts pressure on the bladder again.
Tips to Improve Your Sleep During Pregnancy
Anyways you need to get your way out of the problem of sleeplessness during pregnancy. After all, you deserve a sound, restful sleep while pregnant, and your baby also needs rest. Follow the tips given below to improve your sleep during pregnancy:
- Avoid drinking water just before going to bed.
- Get into a sleeping routine and stick to it.
- Have little naps during the day, but avoid them if they make sleeping trouble at night.
- Avoid drinking too much water at night as it may lead to frequent urination.
- Wear soft and comfortable cotton maternity nighties to enjoy a restful night’s sleep.
- Avoid consuming heavy meals at night.
- Have a glass of warm milk to stimulate sleep.
- Avoid spicy, fatty, or oily foods at night.
- Find a comfortable sleeping position for yourself.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee or tea.
- Do not talk or gossip at night.
- Exercise is something else that should be limited right before bed. Being active during the day will help your sleep, but you need to do it at least three to four hours before bed. If not, it can actually keep you awake.
- For a better night’s sleep, use extra pillows to support both belly and back. A body pillow can provide you with proper support, and they are specialty pillows designed specifically for pregnancy and support both your bump and back.
- If stress is keeping you up, try yoga or deep breathing for relaxation. Regular exercise throughout pregnancy promotes physical and mental health and can help you sleep more deeply. Talk to your healthcare provider to see what type of exercise is appropriate for you.