Sleep: What to expect when you’re pregnant
Mothers-to-be tend to worry about getting enough sleep after the baby has arrived. However, catching enough ZZZs during pregnancy can also be equally challenging, especially during the first and last trimesters.
During a woman’s first trimester, the desire to nap and get comfy can make women wonder if they will ever achieve a good night’s rest or stay up long enough to watch their favourite evening show. Early on in a woman’s pregnancy, the sleep-inducing hormone progesterone tends to kick in and cause a sudden craving to nap. To weather the effects of fatigue during the first trimester and ensure you are getting quality sleep, here are a few easy ways to feel more rested during the day and at night:
• Put sleep on the top of your priority list and schedule some time to take a catnap during the day. Getting those extra ZZZs during the day can help you stay out of sleep debt.
• Stay hydrated during the day but limit the amount of liquids you consume before bedtime in order to avoid unnecessary trips to the bathroom.
• When you have to go to the loo, make sure to have a nightlight on in the bathroom – it will help you get back to sleep a lot quicker vs. turning on a bright light, which will make it harder to return to your restful state.
• Implement some relaxation techniques into your night-time routine to get your mind and body ready for sleep. Some of these include taking a warm bath or shower before bed, stretching, yoga or a massage.
The second trimester is usually the most restful but sleep can become a distant memory when the third trimester kicks in. A woman’s bladder can become under pressure, it’s difficult to get comfortable, and other sleep stealers such as heartburn, restless leg syndrome, leg cramps and even snoring can become real issues. Fortunately, there are a few techniques to help improve the quality of your ZZZs:
• Place a pillow between your legs to help support your lower back and make it easier (and more comfortable) to sleep on your side.
• Drink a glass of warm milk or eat a small carbohydrate-rich snack before bed to promote the onset of sleep.
• Cut out the caffeine! Although your doctor may say it’s okay to indulge in a cup of tea or coffee once in a while, avoiding all caffeinated beverages can help you to wind down more quickly in the evening.
• Run a humidifier in the bedroom to help combat dry mouth and swollen nasal passages which can lead to snoring and restlessness.
• If you are experiencing leg cramps, you may want to avoid carbonated sodas and drinks.
• Sleep on your left side. This allows for optimal blood flow to your uterus and kidneys. Try to avoid lying on your back for extended periods of time.
If you still experience issues after trying these tips, there’s a chance you could be experiencing an underlying sleep issue. Be sure to talk to your ob/gyn or primary care doctor about your sleep issues. You need all the quality sleep you can get!