29 Jun How To Sleep Like A Baby When You’re Expecting One: Solutions and Tips!
In this blog, we will discover the sleep challenges that mothers face in each trimester and the solutions for it. This will help you to attain prenatal mindfulness and understand some of the challenges you will face in the near future and how to effectively solve those.
The First Trimester:
Kathryn A. Lee, R.N., Ph.D., a professor of nursing at the University of California says “Most women don’t know what’s in store for them [in terms of sleep] during pregnancy”. They will experience lethargy and over-whelming drowsiness and fatigue, which is actually causes a dramatic rise in progesterone. This hormone is crucial to maintain pregnancy and is also a soporific( tending to induce drowsiness or sleep). She also explains that “A lot of calories are going into the gestation process,” which is nothing but the metabolic changes happening within your body to support the growing fetus, which is another factor leading to sleepiness.
The sleep challenges in the 1st trimester include: Frequent Urination ( caused by high progesterone levels and the baby pushing against the bladder ) Body aches (swollen breasts and pelvic cramps) and Nausea or Morning Sickness ( sometimes evening or night sickness, right? ).
- Plan your sleep breaks: “It’s best to nap between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.; otherwise you’ll have trouble falling asleep at night,” says Teresa Ann Hoffman, M.D., an OB-GYN at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. She also says to take a couple of 30 minute catnaps instead of spending one or two hours sleeping. Planning to snooze and not sleep is a great way to control your drowsiness and increases chances of falling asleep at night. Don’t feel shy to nap on the floor of your office if you have to- it’s just a short nap anyway!
- Morning Exercises: If you exercise in the evenings, that promotes insomnia. Working out in the mornings, afternoon or early evenings, instead, will help you fall asleep much quicker.
- Say no to fluids past 6 pm to reduce bathroom visits.
The Second Trimester:
As you enter your second trimester, the morning sickness and fatigue that plagued you during the last three months should be fading, leaving you feeling more energetic and like your old self again. But, you may still face issues with sleep. “Women in their second trimester tend to sleep better,” says sleep researcher Meena Khan, M.D., a professor at the Ohio State University Medical School in Columbus.
The sleep challenges in the 2nd trimester include:
- Heartburn- Caused by the pressure the growing uterus applies to your stomach, which forces acid to thrust up the esophagus.
- Cramps- Although this gets worse in the third trimester, cramps mostly found on the legs can keep you up at night.
- Disturbing Dreams- Hoffman says that some women get more anxious during this trimester because of stress regarding the baby or themselves. Wondering what you’ll look like “down there” in the future, financial questions and debating parental skills, etc can prolong unnecessary overthinking which interferes with sleep at night.
- Sitting up for 4 hours after eating will help with acidity burn - ” Lying down and watching TV after dinner is not a good idea,” Hoffman says. The digestion during pregnancy takes longer than usual so staying upright is key. You can also have a light dinner if heartburn persists.
- Avoid Food and Drinks that instigate heartburn - Curb foods that are spicy and acidic. Also say no to citrus juices, coffee and carbonated drinks. The phosphorous in bubbly beverages (including soda water) decreases the amount of calcium you’re able to metabolize, so stay away from them.
- Prioritize Relaxation: When you get a cramp, try to relax your body by stretching. Experts advice pregnant mothers to also stretch your mind with meditation, prenatal yoga, soaking yourself in warm water etc. These will ease you into pregnancy and you can even enroll yourself into a parental class to feel better about parenting, especially if you’re having vivid dreams that create anxiety based pregnancy jitters.
- Say YES to these foods: Eating tryptophan-rich food such as turkey, milk and bananas (this amino acid turns into mood-soothing serotonin in the brain). In addition, make sure you’re getting enough calcium; good food sources include dairy products; dark-green, leafy vegetables; and canned salmon with bones.
The Third Trimester:
Saying goodbye to sleep! A lot of mothers wake up minimum 3 times per night during this trimester. Studies, however, say that this is bad news. Pregnant mothers who get less than 6 hours of sleep will have significantly longer labor and face a higher risk of Cesarean births as opposed to mothers who get 7 hours of good rest.
The sleep challenges in the 3rd trimester include:
- Pain- 60 % of expected mothers say lower back pain creates insomnia. And about 20 % of pregnant women experience restless leg syndrome (RLS). Women who have lower levels of iron and folate are at higher risk for sleepless nights due to RLS.
- Frequent Urination(Again) - Very similar to the first trimester, this is caused by the growing uterus and the baby dropping lower into the pelvis.
- Breathing Disorders: Weight gain in the stomach combined with congestion in the nasal passage can slightly close your airway. This causes snoring. Not only does it annoy your partner in bed, snoring can lead to obstructive sleep apnea( where your breathing stops for at least 10 seconds). This is more common in women who are overweight or obese before pregnancy and can be very serious: Sleep-disordered breathing is linked with an increased risk for preeclampsia and low-birth weight babies.
- Sleep on your left side to reduce the weight on the lower back. It also helps to increase circulation to the baby and reduces snoring! TIP: Place pillows between your knees and behind your back. Stretching your stomach with light yoga will also help!
- Prevent RLS by taking a short evening walk or pamper yourself with a light leg massage before you sleep. You can also soak in warm water to ease muscle tension. Avoid caffeine if you face RSL and “Eating foods rich in iron and folate can reduce the severity of restless leg syndrome,” says sleep researcher Meena Khan.
- If sleep apnea or snoring persists then find a certified sleep specialist. You need to ensure that you and your baby receive enough oxygen. Find a specialist at absm.org. You can also use a CPAP machine.
- Two things can help with frequent urination: Cutting back on drinking for 2 hours before going to bed and lifting your belly to completely empty the bladder.
The Fourth Trimester:
Sleeping peacefully is near to impossible in this trimester. Once the baby is born mothers talk about how they are so tired at the end of the day that they find it very hard to stay awake.
The sleep challenge in the 4th trimester: Not having any sleep!Insomnia and nightly disturbances you faced before will look like nothing compared to post delivery challenges.
- Breastfeed- Aside from the MILLION benefits for the baby, the hormone that produces lactation is a soporific. This will help your baby to fall asleep. So breastfeed as much as you can.
- Get Organised with your Partner- If you are nursing, then pump your milk into bottles so that your partner can take over and you can sleep. Sleeping when the baby sleeps is also an amazing tip. Stay off digital devices that interrupt sleep!
- Be Closer to the Baby- Let your baby’s crib be in your room so that you don’t have to run up and down. You could also use bedside bassinet. This is much easier than having the baby further away.