You probably know that once your baby arrives you won’t be getting much sleep. It doesn’t matter if you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, your newborn needs to eat every 2 to 3 hours so no sleep for mom! Knowing this you’re somewhat prepared for sleepless nights once your baby arrives but what about now? Nobody said anything about sleepless nights during pregnancy. What’s going on?
There’s actually a lot going on that’s keeping you from a good night’s sleep. By the way, a good night’s sleep is when you have no trouble falling asleep and you stay asleep. Why is this so difficult when you’re expecting? For one thing your bladder is talking to you. This happens most frequently during the 1st and 3rd trimester because your baby is pushing against your bladder. Most often during the 2nd trimester your baby shifts a bit and you don’t feel the urge to pee every 5 minutes. If you have heartburn, leg cramps or sinus congestion you most will not be sleeping very well. Any of these will interrupt your sleep. And then there is the discomfort of your growing belly. If you can’t find a comfortable position it’s hard to sleep. Stress and anxiety can also cause insomnia. Worry about labor and delivery or how baby will affect your job or your relationship can keep you up. You may also experience weird and vivid dreams that wake you up.
Here are some suggestions for getting a better night’s sleep while your expecting:
Try drinking plenty of water during the day and don’t drink any an hour before you go to bed. This may keep bathroom breaks to a minimum.
For heartburn, eliminate foods that you know will aggravate your heartburn. In the 1st trimester you can most likely still lay on your back if your are supported by pillows. Try being elevated to a 45 degree angle.
Leg cramps are minimized by drinking plenty of water. Potassium (bananas) may also help. And getting regular massages will increase circulation and decrease cramping.
For sinus congestion try using a nasal spray or a netty pot.
Getting comfortable isn’t easy but using lots of pillows will help. Make sure you have one between your legs, one under your head and a small one under your belly. I have found that the firmer the pillows are the better support they provide.
If anxiety or stress is keeping you awake, yoga and massage both can help. Talk to your doctor about any labor and delivery concerns and be sure to talk to your partner about anything that is bothering you.
Dreaming is out of your control. Try not to fixate on them and give them meaning. Let them go.
Once your baby is here, there will come a time when you’ll want to sleep train or put your baby on a schedule. Now is the time to do that for yourself. Make a bedtime routine. This is a good habit to get into and to continue, especially if you are someone who doesn’t sleep well normally. Try some of these suggestions:
Turn off the TV an hour before you go to bed and don’t keep electronics in your bedroom. The blue light disturbs your circadian rhythm.
Take a warm bath before bed. Make sure the water isn’t too hot. You can cool down but your baby can’t.
Drink a glass of warm milk before bed. Chamomile tea is also good but there is some controversy about drinking chamomile tea during pregnancy. Check with your doctor.
Don’t eat a heavy meal before bed. Try to finish your meal 2 hours before going to bed. Eating a small snack that is high in protein may help. If you have GD, eating a snack with protein and fat right before you go to bed is important.
During the 2nd trimester you should get your best sleep. Hopefully by following these suggestions you’ll be able to sleep well during your entire pregnancy.
I hope you found this helpful. Please share with any sleepless pregnant ladies. If you have thoughts or suggestions I’d love to hear them. Please leave a comment below.