Pregnancy insomnia is real, and here’s what you can do about it

Will your baby be affected by your erratic sleep, and other questions answered.
Pregnancy insomnia is real, and here’s what you can do about it
Pregnancy insomnia is real, and here’s what you can do about it
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This article was first published on ZenParent. Read the oriiginal here.

You know how everyone tells you having a baby changes your life? How it’s uplifting and so wonderful? Yeah, no, not all the time. And it starts even before the baby comes. Because once you start to get beautifully big as your baby grows within you, you have the grace and balance of a drunk seal on ice. What’s worse is that your sleep goes for a complete toss.

It’s very few lucky women who can sleep well through their big stomachs and pregnancy. If you’re one of them, then go read this story on how you can get some sleep after the baby comes. But if you’re suffering from pregnancy insomnia, something very few doctors consider serious and something very few people talk about, read on.

Does sleeping badly affect your baby?

Short answer: No. A study by National Sleep Foundation in 1998 found that 78% of women reported disturbed, difficult sleep during pregnancy. Whether it is anxiety that doesn’t let you get your 40 winks or the constant need to pee or simply poor quality of sleep, this is a common problem that every pregnant woman faces.

What probably makes it worse is the unfounded fear that the lack of quality sleep will cause problems to the baby in our womb. This fear is absolutely untrue.

Your baby in the womb is insulated by amniotic fluid, which is wrapped by the uterine wall that is covered by layers of muscles, tissues and outer skin. When you are awake and moving about, even then your baby sleeps inside. During the pregnancy the baby mostly dozes off inside, so all development can occur. It’s actually quite safe and snug.

Why this happens

During the first trimester of pregnancy, the hormones required for development, nourishment and protection of your growing baby start to surge and exist in higher quantities in your body. The main culprit here is progesterone. A higher surge of this hormone in your blood makes you feel fatigued throughout the day, increasing lethargy, and a need to take naps.

Also, a higher fluid content plus a growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder; giving rise to those frequent bouts of bathroom visits that disrupt a good night’s sleep. This problematic sleep pattern is most evident in the first and third trimesters. The second trimester can feel like a relief.

The roadblock to this whole sleep-pregnancy cycle seems to have one problematic source. Women are active at work even during pregnancy but this has in no way decreased their domestic responsibilities. Pregnancy is a time when more than usual rest is required to get used to the physiological changes.

Naps every now and then, proper diet and occasional cravings are parts of pregnancy, but those that need to be monitored and addressed attentively. With mounting work hours and pressure, it can become difficult to manage the lifestyle change efficiently. However, a little bit of responsibility sharing and prioritising can go a long way. Make sure you listen to what your body tells you.

Best positions to ensure you sleep well

The best sleep position during pregnancy is “SOS” (sleep on side). Even better is to sleep on your left side. Sleeping on your left side will increase the amount of blood and nutrients that reach the placenta and your baby.

Keep your legs and knees bent, and put a pillow between your legs.

  • If you find that you are having problems with back pain, use the “SOS” position, and try placing a pillow under your abdomen as well.
  • If you are experiencing heartburn during the night, you may want to try propping your upper body with pillows.
  • In late pregnancy you may experience shortness of breath.  Try lying on your side or propped up with pillows.

These suggestions may not sound completely comfortable, especially if you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, but try them out.  You may find that they work. Keep in mind that you may not stay in one position all night, and rotating positions is fine.

Please visit ZenParent for more such articles. 

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