This nine-month period is very special for a mother. But it also brings some challenges, especially to first-time pregnant women. One of the few challenges is sleep deprivation. 

Changes in body systems, hormones and stress during pregnancy can contribute to psychological shifts that can affect your sleep. A study suggests most pregnant women experience frequent nighttime awakenings, poor sleep quality, insomnia and excessive daytime fatigue. 

Inadequate sleep during pregnancy is linked in some studies to a higher risk of painful labour, preterm birth, postpartum depression, inflammation and excess weight gain. It can also increase the need for caesarean delivery.

That’s why sufficient sleep at this time is critical for you and your developing baby. In the first trimester, when the placenta grows, you may feel the urge to sleep more. In the second trimester, the amount of sleep normalises to the amount you need pre-pregnancy. And in the third trimester, you may experience tiredness and difficulty to have good quality sleep.

Here we’ve compiled some tips to help you get better sleep during pregnancy.

  • Sleep on your side

As the baby grows in the womb, you might experience difficulty finding a comfortable position. Experts recommend avoiding sleeping flat on your back as it can compress the inferior vena cava and reduce oxygen in the placenta.

Sleeping on the left side with bent knees is considered a good position as it improves blood circulation to the uterus, heart, kidneys and foetus. For side slipping, place a pillow between your legs or under your baby bump, place a rolled-up blanket at the back to relieve pressure and choose a foam mattress to ease sore hips.

If you revert to sleeping on your back, don’t fret! This is common, especially for those who routinely sleep on their back. To overcome this challenge, place a wedge pillow on your back. This way, whenever you revert, you get a hint from the pillow and roll back to the side position. 

  • Refrain from sleeping pills

Sleeping pills seem the best option to combat sleeplessness, but they are actually not. These pills come with some side effects and are not usually recommended for pregnant women. If you’re not getting plenty of sleep, talk to a doctor.

  • Make a diet plan strategically

During pregnancy, several hormonal changes occur and the uterus expands, which slows down digestive function. Poor dietary choices at this time can cause indigestion, constipation and heartburn, which might become worse at night. At the same time, a growing baby puts pressure on the bladder and kidney which leads to frequent urination. So, it’s crucial to manage your diet.

You should cut down on caffeinated drinks, peppermint, tomatoes and spicy or fatty foods as they are the risk factors for acid reflux. Always eat three to four hours before bedtime. Take small meals instead of three large meals a day and refrain from drinking liquid just before sleep.

  • Improve sleep habits

There are some sets of things which promote quality sleep. First of all, keep your bedroom hygienic, especially the mattress and pillow. Don’t eat on your bed. Maintain a sleeping and waking time. Avoid exercise before sleep. If you still experience difficulty sleeping, you can do a non-stimulating activity, like reading.

  • Soothe your legs

You may feel leg cramping at night. This happens due to changes in the ability of the body to process calcium. Performing gentle leg stretches before sleep, having a calcium-rich diet and getting plenty of exercises during day time can soothe your legs.    

  • Ensure healthy breathing

Hormonal changes, weight gain and psychological changes can contribute to sleep-disordered breathing (SDB). The most common problems of this condition are snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, which can interfere with your sleep. SDB is also associated with a higher risk of preeclampsia, gestational diabetes and hypertension. The good news is that using a humidifier in your room and raising the head side of your bed can help you ease SDB. You can also take help from a healthcare provider.

Ease your worries

With excitement, pregnancy also brings stress about childbirth, finances and the baby’s health. To cope with the stress, incorporate calming practices, like journaling, yoga and breathing exercises, into your schedule. 

At Aakash Healthcare, we are running a noble program for to-be and new moms. The program named Aakash MomMe includes:

  • Antenatal care
  • Yoga and breathing session
  • Childbirth education classes
  • Postnatal care

Also, Read: Caesarean or normal delivery: which one is safer

with Dr. Shilpa Ghosh


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