Sleeping Tips for Pregnant Women

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You are so happy and hopeful and excited becauseÖyou are pregnant! This is a special experience that will be enriched by the love and support of your husband, family and friends. It’s very important that you take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Sleep may become challenging during your pregnancy, so it’s good to get some simple tips to better sleep.

Sleeping may become difficult during your pregnancy for a variety of reasons.

1) Your growing baby will likely make it difficult for you to get into a relaxing sleeping position. Doctors recommend that pregnant women sleep on their sides. Purchase a pregnancy body pillow to help support your growing body.

2) You will experience a more frequent urge to urinate. Your body contains 30% to
50% more blood now that you are pregnant, so your kidneys have to work extra hard to filter your blood. This filtering process produces more urine. The pressure on your bladder increase as your baby grows and your uterus enlarges. You will be making more trips to the washroom, throughout the day and night.

3) While you are pregnant, your heart rate increases to pump more blood and to send more blood to your uterus and the rest of your body. Your heart works harder when you are pregnant, which may cause sleeping difficulties.

4) You will experience shortness of breath. In the beginning stages of pregnancy, hormonal changes may make it more difficult to breathe properly. In the later stages of pregnancy, breathing becomes harder since your uterus takes up more space and puts pressure against your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs that support proper deep breathing).

5) You will experience backaches and leg cramps, mostly caused by the extra weight of your baby. Have your husband massage your back and legs each night before you go to bed. Massage helps relax your muscles and increases blood flow to your muscles, which helps to relieve pain and swelling.

6) Anxiety about your pregnancy and upcoming labour and delivery may cause sleeping problems. Build a supportive emotional network consisting of your husband, parents, siblings and close friends who you can share your fears and worries with.

Sleeping Tips for Mommy-to-Be

1) From the beginning stages of your pregnancy, try to get into the healthy habit of sleeping on your side. Sleep on your side with your knees slightly bent for maximum comfort.

2) Some doctors recommend that pregnant mothers sleep specifically on their left side, as it improves blood circulation to your heart and allows for optimal blood flow to your baby, uterus and kidneys.

3) Purchase a pregnancy pillow to best support your growing body. Add a folded blanket under your lower back to help relieve the pressure from your baby.

4) Remember that prescription and over-the-counter sleeping medication and herbal sleep aid are not recommended for pregnant women.

5) Eliminate all sources of caffeine, including soda, coffee, tea, energy drinks and chocolate from your diet. Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause sleeping problems. If you must have some caffeinated drink, restrict your intake to the morning or early afternoon at the latest.

6) Avoid drinking a lot of fluids or eating a big meal within several hours of going to bed.

7) Discipline yourself to maintain a healthy routine of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.

8) Avoid vigorous exercise within several hours of your bedtime. Exercise will make your brain more alert.

9) If you suffer with leg cramps, make sure your increase the calcium in your diet. Ask your husband to massage your legs for you.

10) Participate in a yoga or Pilates class to help you relax and distress. Try to find a class specifically for pregnant women.

11) Participate in a parenting class or childbirth class with your husband to help reduce your stress and alleviate your fears.

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