Pregnancy is a time of drastic change in a woman’s body. One of the things many women notice is how their sleep needs change during pregnancy. These changes may vary depending on trimester, and they are usually nothing to be alarmed by, it is actually a great thing! The body is using a lot of energy to create a happy baby, and one of the best ways to help it out is by getting plenty of rest.
Women in their first trimester of pregnancy may be startled at first by how their sleep needs change. Some women are hit almost immediately with fatigue and drowsiness throughout the day. It may help to schedule extra time to sleep each night, and once they find what works for them - stick to that time. Some women may also find they want to sleep at random times throughout the day. This is normal, as the body is being flooded with hormones that drain your energy and make you sleepy. It is best to follow these urges, but don’t sleep the day away. There is such a thing as too much sleep. You’ll still want to be active and healthy, but make sure to listen to your body and get plenty of rest early on during your pregnancy.
After getting over the initial body shock from the first trimester of pregnancy, many women have a much easier time in the second trimester. One big change during the second trimester that affects a lot of women is heartburn. The growing fetus starts putting pressure on the stomach, so acid reflux is more common. This can obviously make it difficult to sleep. To help avoid this problem, try to cut out midnight snacks, and have your last meal at least three to four hours before laying down. As the stress of pregnancy builds, it may also help to spend an hour each night winding down before bed. Turning the phone or television off and doing relaxing activities like reading or gentle stretches may help you sleep better throughout the night.
The third trimester of pregnancy usually brings the most changes in sleep, and women tend to wake up multiple times a night. This can be due to any number of reasons, including:
- Frequent urination
- Leg cramps
- Back pain
- Congestion or difficulty breathing
Oddly enough, this is when women need the most sleep, and it is important to take steps to get as much sleep as possible. Sleeping on the left side with a pillow between your knees may help reduce congestion and back pain, and cutting back on liquids at night may reduce the need to wake up and pee. Stress reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are more helpful than ever. If none of this helps, see a sleep specialist.
Your sleep needs change during pregnancy
This is in no way an exclusive list of changes your body will experience during pregnancy. The truth is, every woman is different and will experience their pregnancy differently. Working directly with a doctor, most pregnant women find simple solutions for all their symptoms. Pregnant women often say their energy levels are drained throughout the day and they feel the need to nap very often - do it! The body needs rest in order to regenerate both your own body and the baby’s. Sometimes the best advice is to just lie down on that comfortable mattress and rest up!