From having too much caffeine throughout the day and looking at too much blue light on our mobile devices, to random racing thoughts or being bothered by an old mattress, hurdles to winding down for sleep can plague us all. Now imagine being pregnant and trying to get to sleep.
At a time when a woman is probably her most fatigued, since the hormone progesterone is in over drive and slowing her down, is a time when her body is seemingly most compromised—while bearing a child. She’s now sleeping for two, and must be creative and strategic in her approach to going to bed.
What She and Sleep Are Up Against
Anything that might interfere with a non-pregnant person’s rest, like too many liquids during the day, heartburn-inducing foods or exercising close to bedtime and getting your heartrate up, result in compounded effects for someone carrying a baby. The indigestion can be worse, and the need to urinate is heightened because of increased levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG— along with the fact a pregnant woman’s kidneys are working for two.
Discomfort is another sleep barrier when with child. Eventually a woman’s body has morphed into a completely different figure that is not able to contort into all the positions it could before being pregnant. An expecting mom can no longer sleep on her stomach, and eventually she is relegated to only sleeping on her side to avoid risks involved in sleeping on her back.
A woman may normally only find herself calming down and ready to snooze if she’s on her stomach, with her hands arms and hands under her pillow. That can’t happen any longer. Instead it is suggested she entirely adopt sleeping on her left side—which increases the amount of blood and nutrients supplied to the baby, as confirmed by American Pregnancy Association.
These factors do not mean it’s the end of happy slumbers for women entering motherhood.
Remedying the Sleep Bumps
Although being pregnant presents some challenges to getting a healthy night’s rest, there are indeed ways to combat any prenatal sleep nuisances.
What To Expect urges pregnant women to get plenty of liquids throughout the day, but to cut back on them closer to bedtime to avoid having to get up throughout the night. Same proactive approach helps with quelling indigestion by avoiding spicy foods, and not snacking too much close to bedtime.
Naps are encouraged to make up for any lost sleep at night, but it’s advised to limit the mid-day snooze to no more than 30 minutes so to avoid becoming groggy afterward, with the rest of the day ahead.
It should come as no surprise that an inviting, and even creative bedtime set up is required to ensure a mom-to-be gets at least seven hours of sleep—shooting for eight but giving an hour to get situated. It is recommended using a firm pillow to prop the head and upper body up a few inches to ease pressure on the diaphragm, and allow ease of breathing. Gusset pillows are a great recommendation for women needing to sleep on their sides (try our Classic Gusset Down Pillow). Full body pillows are a huge trend for those sporting the beloved baby bump, too.
Rest and the restorative night hours are vital to everyone, and even more crucial for women expecting a child. Their bodies are working overtime while nurturing and carrying a growing child—which means they’re more susceptible to hormonal change, irritability, fatigue and discomfort. It’s because of their unique, bodily circumstance that sleep is taken seriously leading up to their special arrival.