How you can still get your ZZZ’s when your body seems to be against you.
Getting a good night’s sleep when pregnant can be hard to do. As your body is working toward developing your baby and preparing for childbirth, sufficient rest is often hard to come by. It is funny that during a time that your body needs sleep the most, sleep seems to elude you. Here is what you need to know about why pregnancy sleep can be challenging and how you can find comfort.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
As your body is ever-changing during the course of your pregnancy, the same seems to be the case with your sleep.
During your first trimester, you may sleep more than usual as your body works overtime to nurture your rapidly developing baby. The pressure on your bladder begins to grow as your uterus expands, resulting in countless trips to the ladies’ room at night.
Once first-trimester nausea and fatigue subside, the second trimester is a great time to start a bedtime routine, by going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day. This helps to establish a pattern of sleep in preparation for the dreaded third-trimester sleep.
During the third trimester, sleep often is interrupted. Some say it is the body’s natural way of preparing for the sleepless nights to come with a newborn. But it is also very much due to the fact that your baby is increasing substantially in size, making it harder for you to find a comfortable sleeping position.
Comfortable Sleeping Positions
The best way to sleep when pregnant is on your left side, according to many medical professionals, including the National Sleep Foundation. There is a major vein in the body called the vena cava, which is responsible for taking blood back to your heart. Pressure on this vein is believed to potentially result in a reduction in blood supply and it can also cause dizziness. The most pressure is put on this vein when lying on your back, so try to avoid sleeping in this position as much as possible.
When trying to find comfort, experiment with pillows to find sleeping positions that work for you. Try using a pregnancy wedge pillow that will support your top leg or abdomen (or both by using more than one) to relieve pressure from your lower back.
When getting up from lying down, roll onto your side and push up with your arms, preventing you from adding extra pressure to your abdominal muscles that are already separating. If you continue to try to use your abs to get up on a regular basis, you may put yourself at risk of developing diastasis recti, a condition where the abdominal muscles remain separated after pregnancy.
Finding an ideal sleeping position seems difficult and once you finally think you have found it, your body changes even more and you are back at square one!
- Olivia, mom & a pediatric nurse
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