Congratulations to you, future mom! Hopefully, you’ve already settled into your new role, and you’ve found a lot of joy in it. Still, considering you’re reading this, you’ve probably found at least one problem as well.
It’s getting difficult to sleep, isn’t it? It’s okay – your body is going through so many changes right now. However, the very fact that there are so many adjustments means that your body needs all the energy that it can get. All the processes that are going on at the moment are using up a lot of your body’s resources, so you need to answer all of its needs. You already know that now you’re supposed to eat for two – but you’ll need to sleep for two as well.
Still, sleeping can prove to be a bit of a challenge at this point. Many pregnant ladies complain about multiple problems that keep them awake or wake them up during the night. So, as it seems that your body is unwilling to let you sleep, you might ask yourself, how much should a pregnant woman sleep anyway?
The short answer – a lot. If that does not answer your question, keep reading.
Why Do You Feel So Tired?
You’ve probably noticed that your energy supply seems a bit depleted. Don’t worry, it’s perfectly normal. Your body is going through the stress equivalent to what you’d feel if you had to work overtime. Every day. For nine months. All of the extra work tires your body, so you experience fatigue even though you may not be any more active than usual.
There are plenty of hormonal changes included in a pregnancy. The levels of progesterone rise. The task of this hormone is to make sure your reproductive organs receive a steady supply of blood during the early stages of the pregnancy. This is very important because your baby depends on the healthy functioning of your uterus.
However, one of the side effects of the increased levels of progesterone is a kind of mellowness that your body perceives as fatigue. You may not even really be tired – but you’d feel so anyway.
Finally, pregnancy brings a huge emotional burden. Anticipation, fear, anxiety, happiness, excitement, and worry are all packed together. This cocktail of emotions alone is enough to tire you out, wouldn’t you say?
How Much Is Enough?
So, how much should a pregnant woman sleep? Well, doctors recommend at least 7 hours of sleep every night. When you factor in the time it gets you to fall asleep, problems that will wake you up during the night, and early awakenings, that means that you’ll have to spend at least 8 hours per day in bed.
The further the pregnancy goes, the more difficult it’s going to be to fall asleep. However, no matter how hard it gets, don’t give up.
There are many consequences of not getting enough sleep in itself. Irritability, a lack of focus, and a decrease in cognitive power are the most immediate ones, and they are already frightening in normal times. When you’re pregnant, it gets even worse. It can cause slight problems during pregnancy, but sleeping 6 hours or less can cause real problems during labor.
A study found that the likelihood of a mandatory C-section is 4.5 times higher for mothers who slept 6 hours or less during the pregnancy than for those who slept 7 hours or more. If that’s not enough, consider the fact that, on average, the former had a 10-hour longer labor than the latter.
All in all, you really need to take your zzz’s seriously. Still, it’s very useful to know what to expect, so here are some of the most common problems with sleep during pregnancy.
The First Trimester
As you already know, the first trimester is a bomb system. The biggest changes happen in this period, so the amount of sleep you get is even more important. However, many things will try to stop you from getting you (and your baby’s!) beauty sleep.
First of all, remember progesterone? Well, not only does it make you tired, but it also makes you want to pee. Chances are that you will be waking up a lot during the first trimester because you’ll need more frequent visits to the loo.
To avoid this as much as you can, restrict your intake of fluid in the evenings. By no means should you be thirsty at any point. Just avoid drinking more than you need to. Of course, you should make up for this during the earlier times of the day.
When you wake up at night, don’t turn on the lights – use nightlight instead. Bright light will likely stop you from falling asleep again, but the trick with the nightlight should give you at least some sort of continuity.
In addition to frequent peeing, you’ll probably have to vomit a lot. They call it morning sickness, but in truth, they occur at all times of the day. Sore breasts will probably give you grief as well, so just try to find a comfy position to sleep in.
The Second Trimester
The second trimester is a bit easier than the other two, but it brings new issues all the same. Leg cramps and heartburn are likely to disrupt your sleep.
For the first problem, it’s good to walk around for a bit before going to bed. It won’t work every time, but you can at least give it a shot. As for the heartburn – try sleeping on your left side, and bend your knees. This should relieve the pressure from your stomach a bit – hopefully enough to let you sleep.
The Third Trimester
After the breezy second semester, this is where things get tough again. Your belly should be really big, and it’s probably causing a lot of trouble when you go to bed. This is where you should be careful – it may seem logical to sleep on your back, but that’s not a good idea.
Your big belly can press the spine and one of the biggest veins in your body, restricting the blood flow from your heart to your lower body. To avoid this, sleep on your left side. Use as many pillows as you need to make your bed more comfortable.
Use the third trimester to get all the sleep you can possibly get – before the baby comes.
Fruits of Your Labor
Even though your body seems to be sabotaging you, you need to take good care of it. All the undergoing processes are taking their toll on you and your health, so you need to be one step ahead. Every part of pregnancy brings about difficulties, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay on top of things. Preparation is the key, and just by reading this article, you’ve taken a step in the right direction. Way to go, supermom!