Are you looking for the ways to get enough sleep? Do all moms sleep well? We all know that once the baby is born, parents can forget about sleep, but it is also not uncommon that women start having sleep difficulties during pregnancy. A baby changes everything even before it is born. So, with the first symptoms of pregnancy, you can expect a bunch of other things that can make your life a bit more challenging, from food cravings to back pain and sleep deprivation.
Many women experience different sleep-related changes during their pregnancy. Things such as sleep quality, preferred sleep position, or the amount of sleep can oscillate significantly in those nine months, and not to mention after, when the baby comes. So if you are one of the future moms who are dealing with sleep difficulties, take a look at our sleep-inducing recommendations.
Six Ways How to Get Enough Sleep Before Your Baby Comes
1. Effects of Pregnancy on Mother’s Sleep
Pregnant women should nurture a healthy sleep routine because just like they are eating for two, they are also sleeping for two. Each pregnancy is different, so not everything has to go by the book, but some common symptoms are typical for the majority of future moms. For example, many women often wake up at night because they need to go to the bathroom or have nausea. These symptoms start during the first trimester and slowly pave the road to poor sleep quality for the next several months.
Also, the early stages of pregnancy can be so overwhelming that many women feel fatigued and have an increased desire to sleep. Physical changes are more evident during the second and third trimester when the belly starts growing. The growing belly itself can make your sleep uncomfortable. Many women cannot find a comfy sleep position, and at the same time, they also start having heartburns, leg cramps, and back pain. Back pain is one of the most common sleep disruptors among future moms, and it usually occurs as a side effect of a growing belly.
We have mentioned that women feel unusually sleepy during their first trimester, and there are several reasons for that:
- Pregnant women tend to have lower blood pressure, which can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness.
- Hormonal changes are a regular thing, but during pregnancy, they can go wild and higher production of progesterone makes women feel more tired.
- Blood sugar level also tends to go down in pregnancy, and it contributes to feelings such as tiredness or sleepiness.
After a sleepy first trimester, hormonal roller coaster gives future moms a boost during the second trimester, which is why many of them feel better and have more energy. However, in the third trimester, women are generally feeling tired or exhausted due to the size of their belly, cramps, back pain, etc.
2. Frequent Trips to the Bathroom at Night
This is probably by far the most annoying and sleep-disrupting symptom of pregnancy, which can hardly be avoided. These bathroom trips are particularly frequent during the first and third trimester. In the first trimester, as the uterus of a woman expands, it puts additional pressure on the bladder, causing more frequent urination. The second trimester brings a brief relief, because the uterus moves up in the abdomen, and relieves the pressure. However, along with the third-trimester nocturia comes back because now the size of a bump is putting the pressure on the bladder.
If this is something that is hindering your sleep every night, try drinking less fluid in the evening hours or around bedtime. You should drink plenty of water during the day and stay hydrated, but as the evening approaches, limit your drinks. Also, avoid caffeinated beverages because caffeine can cause frequent urination.
3. Why It Is Essential to Sleep Well During the Pregnancy
While we all sometimes experience a few sleep-deprived days, pregnant women should not allow themselves to sleep less because by doing so, they are risking their baby’s health. Pregnancy is a process during which another human being is growing and developing, and a mother’s sleep is an essential part of that process. Sleep deprivation during pregnancy has been connected to many problems during labor such as preterm labor, discomfort, elevated perception of pain, higher rates for cesarean, more prolonged labor, etc.
4. The Best Sleep Position for Pregnant Women
Whether you were a side, back or stomach sleeper, there are high chances that your beloved sleep position will change while you are expecting. Heartburn, back pain, and a growing belly can all make your ideal sleep position pretty uncomfortable. That is why it is highly recommended to sleep in the so-called SOS position (sleep on side).
Sleeping on your side, and especially your left side will increase the blood flow and nutrients that are going to your baby and placenta. To make this position comfier, use an additional pillow and place it between your knees. Using an extra pillow between your knees will also help prevent lower back pain and hip pain. You can use additional cushions to target and soothe your painful areas.
For example, if you have backaches, sleep on your side and place a pillow beneath your abdomen for extra support. If you are struggling with heartburn, try supporting your upper body with some cushions. If you used to be a stomach or back sleeper, we know this could be challenging for you, but your body will quickly adapt and enjoy the benefits of a more comfortable sleep position.
Women who are stomach sleepers can sleep safely in that position until their belly starts growing because then it will become uncomfortable. Also, when you are pregnant for more than 20 weeks, or near the end of your second trimester, you should stop sleeping on your back. At that point, the baby’s body is heavy enough to put extra pressure on the mother’s blood vessels and intestines, which leads to backache, higher blood pressure, problems with breathing and circulation.
5. Sleep-Related Tips and Products for Comfortable Rest
Since pregnancy is a unique condition, pregnant women sometimes need some extra things to feel comfortable and sleep better. Some of these things you may already have, others you can borrow or buy, but the point is that they should help you sleep well.
- The best mattress for pregnancy is the one you feel comfortable laying on. Not too firm, not too soft, because you will need the proper support. Also, pay attention to the cooling features and the level of motion isolation.
- A wedge pillow is pretty useful and can be very helpful and pain-relieving. Wedge pillows are designed to go below your bump and support it while you are sleeping on your side.
- Maternity pillows are probably the most popular sleep aid for moms to be, especially for those moms who are not used to sleep on their side. You can wrap it around your body in so many ways, and you will reach your comfort goals for sure.
- Essential oils can be handy if you cannot fall asleep at night. Future moms have a lot of things on their mind, so sometimes their running mind keeps them up more than they should be. Lavender and chamomile oil have relaxing features, so you can lightly spritz them over your pillow before bedtime.
- Sleep masks are a great sleep-inducing aid, whether there is a source of light in your room or not. You should pack them in your hospital carry-on bag because you will need them.
- Listening to a program about pregnancy meditation can also keep anxious thoughts away and relax your mind and body. Plus, practicing breathing techniques can pay off once the labor starts.
- Sound machines or white noise machines are an excellent way to lullaby yourself. These machines create a calming environment for sleep, and once the baby arrives, you can use them to lull your baby.
- Exercising regularly is recommended during pregnancy because it prevents backaches and keeps your posture straight. You can exercise for 30 minutes every day, or whenever you have the time, and it will have a positive impact on your sleep too.
- If you are still struggling to sleep in one take at night, having a daytime nap is totally ok. Schedule your nap during the afternoon hours so that it does not hinder your preferred bedtime, and do not nap longer than 45 minutes.
6. Sleep While You Still Have the Chance
Women are aware that once the baby is born, it is the end of their peaceful and restful nights. Most of us have had a few sleepless nights or weeks at college, but it can hardly be compared to a few sleepless months with a crying baby. But we cannot blame the baby entirely, because specific changes in our body also have an impact on postpartum sleep.
After giving birth, a significant drop in reproductive hormones occurs in a woman’s body, affecting her internal clock. Also, her brain is more alert because it is constantly in a state of precaution, always expecting to hear the baby. It is clear that those nine months should be spent wisely, including getting a lot of sleep, because plenty of sleepless nights are ahead of you.