Being pregnant puts a lot of stress on your body. It causes changes in your hormones, sleep patterns, and eating habits. During the beginning of your pregnancy, you will be more tired than usual and feel sluggish or lethargic. You could call it ‘pregnancy jet lag.’ This can make you feel unproductive and can cause depression or mood swings.
Pregnancy causes a multitude of changes in your body and therefore not every woman will experience the same exact changes. Although, when it comes to sleeping, almost every pregnant woman will expect some kind of difficulty.
Here are the top five ways that pregnancy can affect sleep:
1. Back pain
During your pregnancy, you might deal with a lot of back pain. This usually happens during the second and third trimesters when the baby is rapidly growing. As your baby grows, it causes pressure and strain on your lower back. Sleeping on your side with a pillow in between your knees can help alleviate some of this pain. Regular stretching and light exercise can also help alleviate some of your lower back pain. Walking is a great way to stretch your lower back and hips. You can also try using a lumbar support pillow while lying on your back.
2. Morning Sickness
When you think of morning sickness, you might think that it only happens in the morning. Although being nauseated in the morning is common, it can actually happen anytime. You may wake up several times throughout the night and have to rush to the bathroom. This will cause interrupted sleep cycles which can cause headaches, grogginess, and irritability. On top of that, it will be harder to fall back to sleep. Try eating a few salty crackers or take an antacid before lying back down. Try not to eat acidic or spicy foods before bed. Keeping your body hydrated will also help with symptoms of morning sickness.
3. Stress and Anxiety
It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed when you find out you are expecting. You may not be able to fall asleep with your mind racing, and it can lead to many nights of tossing and turning. The anxiety usually kicks in during the last trimester. As you inch closer to your due date, you may feel unprepared and anxious. Many of you will have anxiety about your water breaking, contractions or the actual delivery. You’ll be wide awake going over your checklist and trying to remember if you packed everything in your overnight bag. Try not to over analyze everything, so you don’t keep yourself awake, and you can get a good night’s sleep.
During your second and third trimester, you will experience your baby’s movement. This is one of the most exciting parts of your pregnancy. Being able to feel and see the baby moving is a wonderful development. It’s also important to monitor your baby’s movement and make sure they are active. When they are somersaulting in the middle of the night it can cause pain and discomfort. You might not notice small movements when you’re awake, but when you’re in the middle of a deep sleep, you will frequently be awakened by baby bouncing around. This movement is hard to ignore, and there really isn’t much you can do about it. Try napping when your baby is less active to catch up on sleep.
Pregnancy can cause many changes in and out of your body. You may feel discomfort when you lie down. Your feet and hands may swell and make you feel restless and uncomfortable. The pressure of your baby on your bladder and lower back will also cause discomfort. Being uncomfortable and trying to sleep, can be exhausting. You toss and turn wide-eyed and feel miserable. This will not only cause a sleepless night. The lack of sleep will affect you during the day and make you feel tired and irritable.
Making sure you catch up on your missed sleep is very important. Your body needs to rest, so if you can’t sleep at night take short 20 to 30-minute power naps during the day. Even when you get the right amount of sleep, pregnancy can leave you feeling drained. Just make sure you are taking your daily vitamins, staying hydrated and resting when you can.