Categorized | Pregnancy Articles

Pregnancy Sleep

Difficulty in sleeping comfortably is a common phenomenon every woman faces during pregnancy. There are number of reasons that lead to this. Your body is facing major changes and adjustments as the little life develops within you. Factors like stress, anxiety, hormonal alterations and physical discomforts affect your sleep to a great extend. Having a peaceful and sound night sleep seems like a distant memory as you progress in pregnancy. However, getting enough sleep is a priority.

Loo Trips –
Shortly after you realise you are pregnant you will also find yourself visiting the loo more often. This is because to support the growth of your baby the body increases the amount of blood and other fluids. Also the kidney works more to flush the waste out of the body. All these factors contribute to your regular visit to the loo.

Your urge to visit the loo will vary at different times during the pregnancy period. In the first three months your loo trips are frequent as the growing uterus puts pressure on the bladder. However, around the fourth month as your uterus rises into the abdominal cavity the pressure on the bladder is released, but this is for a short while. In the ninth month again you begin to feel the urge to visit the loo frequently as the baby drops back down into your pelvis.

An effective way of reducing the bathroom trips is by drinking a lot of water during the day time and reducing fluid intake towards the night. You can also avoid taking diuretics like coffee, tea and alcohol (which need to be avoided during pregnancy) as they make you want to use the loo even more.

Remember since everyone’s body is different; don’t expect that the frequency at which you need to visit the loo is the same as the other pregnant women.

Morning Sickness –
The name could be deceiving, morning sickness is not just limited to the morning time. It can be difficult to handle it in the morning, but nausea at night time can make it difficult to sleep. Although it is common to face nausea in the early stage of pregnancy, it can occur at any stage.

Heartburn and indigestion
The other factors that could keep you from a peaceful sleep are heartburns and indigestion. This is a common phenomenon in pregnancy. Heartburn is a burning sensation that you feel in the lower area of the chest. This leaves an unpleasant taste in your throat and mouth. You experience heartburn and indigestion as the digestive system slows down during pregnancy, this leads to delay in cleaning of the stomach.

Leg cramps
During the course of pregnancy you are bound to experience painful cramps in the muscles of your leg due to the extra weight you are carrying. This is common to occur during the second and third trimester, which keeps you away from a sound sleep.
Leg cramps also occur due to the expansion of uterus that tends to pressurize the nerves and veins leading from your trunk to your legs. Also the presence of too much phosphorus and less calcium and potassium in the blood can lead to leg cramps.

Restless leg syndrome or RLS –
This is a condition wherein your legs feel an uncontrollable urge to move around when you are sitting or lying down. On moving the legs you feel immediate relief from crawling, tingling and burning sensation of the legs. However, this relief is short lived as the sensation tends to reoccur when you sit or lie down. RLS prevents you from falling asleep and if you do fall asleep it keeps you away from falling into deep sleep.

Best position to sleep in –
It could be difficult to find a position comfortable to sleep in. However, the best position for a pregnant woman to sleep in is to lie on her side. Lying on the sides keeps the additional weight you carry off the vena cava, which is a major vein that returns blood from the lower body to the heart. Also sleeping on the side helps to improve blood circulation to the heart and provides maximum blood flow and nutrients to the Foetus.

When sleeping on the side consider lying on the left side. This is the most favourable position for pregnant women. This not only helps the blood flow but also the kidneys to efficiently eliminate waste products and fluids from your body. This in turn reduces the swelling in your ankles, feet and hands.

Sleep positions to avoid –

Sleeping on your back is a position that women need to avoid during pregnancy as the baby’s weight presses the vena cava. Also a lot of weight is put on your back and intestines. These factors can cause discomfort and increase chances of developing backaches, indigestion, impaired breathing and circulation, etc. during pregnancy.

Also avoid sleeping on the stomach as it applies pressure on the foetus.