Are you pregnant and experience difficulty during sleeping? Don’t worry it is very normal during pregnancy. Let us find out the reasons that cause discomfort in sleep during pregnancy.
Pregnancy calls for plenty of extra rest. The developing fetus in the mother’s womb puts a lot of pressure and strain to the mother’s body making her tired and restless all the time. Getting a nice sleep is not easy during pregnancy. The increasing size of the fetus is one of the most obvious reasons that cause sleep problems during pregnancy. Sleeping becomes more difficult for women who have always been in a habit of lying on her back or stomach as these positions are not suitable during pregnancy.
What causes difficulty in sleeping during pregnancy?
Besides the increase in belly size, the hormonal changes and physical discomforts during different stages of pregnancy also affect a pregnant woman’s sleep.
Sleeping problems during first trimester:
- Urge to urinate frequently: During the first trimester of pregnancy, the kidneys become more functional and work harder to filter out the extra volume of blood, resulting in more urine. With the increase in the size of the uterus, the pressure on the bladder increases causing to urinate more during day and night disrupting the sleep.
- Sleeping during daytime: Pregnancy causes an increase in progesterone hormone (more during the first trimester) making women feel tired and sleepy. This increases daytime sleepiness making her stay awake at night. Progesterone is also responsible to increase kidney function.
Sleeping problems during second trimester:
- Emotional & Physical stress: Sleep improves during the second trimester as the frequency to urinate at night reduces. The growing fetus moves above the bladder thus reducing the pressure on it. However, a woman may not be able to sleep properly due to the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy. Many women experience scary and frightening dreams.
- Heartburn: It is characterized by a burning sensation in the throat and the chest with an acidic and sour taste in the mouth. The growing baby exerts pressure on the stomach causing food and stomach acids to reflux back up into your mouth. This happens more frequently while sleeping in a position that allows the fetus to put stress on the stomach.
Sleeping problems during third trimester:
- Discomfort due to the growing belly: The belly increases in size to accommodate the additional weight of the growing baby. This makes sleeping extremely difficult as the woman has to lie down in a specific position.
- Frequent urination: A woman once again start experiencing night time urination, as the baby changes its position exerts pressure on the bladder once again.
- Fetal hiccups and movements: The growing baby often swallows too much amniotic fluid. This causes fetal hiccups that the mother can experience. The fetal movement also increases which keeps the mother awake all the time.
- Sinus congestion: The enlarging uterus takes up more space, causing pressure against the diaphragm (muscle just below the lungs). This makes breathing difficult and the mother has to work harder to get air.
- Leg cramps and backache: A woman may not be able to sleep due to the persistent leg cramps and backache due to the extra weight of the developing baby that she carries.
How to sleep during pregnancy:
Every phase of pregnancy is challenging and can disturb a pregnant woman’s sleeping pattern. One may however; combat with the problem by following a few adjustments with the normal sleep habits.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach: Sleeping on the stomach is not only uncomfortable during pregnancy but is also dangerous for the baby.
- Avoid sleeping on the back: Sleeping on your back during pregnancy puts all the weight of the developing baby on to your back muscles and intestines causing backache, poor digestion and blood pressure related problems.
- Sleep on your sides: Sleeping on either side is the best sleep position during pregnancy. However, sleeping on the left side is more preferred position as it improves the flow of blood and nutrients to the developing fetus. It also helps the kidney to effectively drain out the waste fluid from the body. Shifting positions from left side to right side or even on the back is a perfectly natural part of sleep. The discomfort caused while lying on the back will wake you up and you can change the position.
- Use some pillows for support and cushioning: Lie on your side and place a pillow below the belly with your knees and hips slightly bent to provide that extra support. Place a small pillow between the knees and at the back for a more comfortable sleep. A full-length body pillow designed to support the neck, back and belly is an ideal option that helps you to sleep better.