Sleeping like a baby when you are carrying a baby in your womb gets increasingly difficult as you near child-birth.
Pregnant women often encounter problems with sleep during pregnancy. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s Women and Sleep poll, 78% of women report more disturbed sleep during pregnancy than at other times. Many women also report feeling extremely fatigued during pregnancy, especially during the first and third trimesters. Considering the physical and emotional demands of pregnancy and the prevalence of sleep disorders among pregnant women, it’s no wonder that expectant mothers become so tired.
Why can’t I get comfortable?
- INCREASING SIZE OF FETUS : The first and most pressing reason behind sleep problems during pregnancy is the increasing size of the fetus, which can make it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. If you’ve always been a back or stomach sleeper, you might have trouble getting used to sleeping on your side (as doctors recommend). Also, shifting around in bed becomes more difficult as the pregnancy progresses and your size increases.
- CHANGING HORMONE LEVELS : Another reason for fatigue and sleep problems during pregnancy are changing hormone levels. For example, rising progesterone levels may partly explain excessive daytime sleepiness, especially in the first trimester. Hormonal changes may also have an inhibitory effect on muscles, which may result in snoring among other discomforts.
- FREQUENT TRIPS TO THE BATHROOM : Your kidneys are working harder to filter the increased volume of blood (30% to 50% more than you had before pregnancy) moving through your body, and this filtering process results in more urine. Also, as your baby grows and the uterus gets bigger, the pressure on your bladder increases. This means more trips to the bathroom, day and night.
- ANXIETY : Many women experience insomnia due to emotions and anxiety about labor and delivery, balancing motherhood and work, or their changing relationship with their partner. This is especially true of first time mothers. It helps to stay educated about pregnancy changes to calm yourself down. Learn about relaxation techniques from a FabMoms trained child-birth expert and practice them regularly.
- LEG CRAMPS : Owing to all the extra work your legs do the whole day carrying your increasing weight, your legs may hurt. Or they may be responding to the pressure that your expanding uterus puts on the blood vessels that return blood from your legs to your heart and on the nerves that lead from your trunk to your legs. Leg cramps usually start to bother during second trimester – and they may get worse as your pregnancy progresses and your belly grows. It’s often seen that you notice leg cramps most at night, although they can occur during the day.
- HEART BURN and CONSTIPATION : Many women experience heartburn, which occurs when the stomach contents reflux back up into the esophagus. During pregnancy, the entire digestive system slows down and food tends to remain in the stomach and intestines longer, which may cause heartburn or constipation. These can both get worse later on in the pregnancy when the growing uterus presses on the stomach or the large intestine.
For most women, getting a full night’s sleep becomes even harder once the baby is born. It is very important for pregnant women to prioritize sleep and to find effective strategies for managing their sleep problems as early as possible in their pregnancy. If you are pregnant and already facing trouble falling asleep, you may find FabMoms Sleep Tips during Pregnancy useful. ( Click here to discover the Sleep tips)