How to Sleep While Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know (Part 1)

January 19, 2022

How to Sleep While Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know (Part 1)

For new parents, sleep deprivation is an unfortunate reality. For many parents, sleep problems begin before your new bundle of joy arrives. Many factors cause sleep problems during pregnancy: hormone fluctuations, body changes, and rising stress levels can cause physiological changes that can disrupt sleep throughout pregnancy. For soon-to-be moms, getting enough sleep is essential. Sleep deprivation has been linked to higher risks of postpartum depression, elevated BMI, and high blood pressure in newborns.

Getting good, quality sleep during pregnancy is possible. The following tips can help you get the sleep you need to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

What Are Some Common Pregnancy Sleeping Problems
During pregnancy, women may experience sleep problems they never had before. These sleep problems are normal and almost all pregnant women experience some form of sleep disturbance, like frequently waking up at night. Not to mention heartburn, being uncomfortable due to body changes, and aches and pains.

Sleep problems in pregnancy are obviously temporary but do evolve as pregnancy progresses into each trimester. Here’s a rundown of what to expect sleep-wise during each trimester and how to cope.

  • First Trimester
It doesn’t take long for the effects of pregnancy to develop. Early pregnancy symptoms include morning sickness, frequent urination, and breast tenderness that make sleeping more difficult. The fatigue of the first trimester can be challenging, as many women do not announce their pregnancy until the second trimester.

Here are some symptoms that can interfere with your sleep and a few tips to help you cope.

Nausea
The classic “morning sickness” symptom of pregnancy can actually last long into the day (and night). To help settle your stomach, eat smaller, frequent meals or keep some crackers nearby to eat at night if you wake up feeling sick.

Shifted body clock
During early pregnancy, many women experience fatigue due to changing hormones and your body needing more nutrients. Feeling tired can make you want to go to bed earlier and then wake up earlier. This might take some getting used to depending on your schedule, but it’s best to listen to your body and sleep when you need it.

Frequent urination
Another common symptom of early pregnancy, frequent urination is caused by an increase in progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or the pregnancy hormone. It is difficult to stop this symptom, but the best way to decrease urination, especially at night, is to limit fluids before bed.

Headaches
A pounding headache is annoying-even more so when you’re in early pregnancy and dealing with other uncomfortable symptoms. There are multiple causes of early pregnancy headaches, including hormone shifts, caffeine withdrawal, low blood sugar/dehydration caused by vomiting, nasal congestion, or increased blood pressure. Ask your doctor what medications you can safely take while pregnant to counteract a headache. Also, make a note of anything that might be causing your headaches to keep yourself accountable.

Breast pain
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 17% of women reported breast pain and tenderness as their first pregnancy symptom. Breasts might be painful in early pregnancy due to rising amounts of estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Your body begins preparing to breastfeed from the beginning of pregnancy. This causes increased blood supply to the breasts, increased breast size, and growing milk ducts. To help ease breast pain/tenderness in pregnancy, try getting a new, more supportive bra or wearing a sports bra while sleeping.

Bloating and Constipation
Before the baby bump even appears, many pregnant women experience bloating and constipation. This is due to slowed digestion, which is your body’s natural process to ensure it gets enough of the nutrients it needs from food to support a developing baby. To help ease constipation and discomfort, make sure to eat enough fiber and drink plenty of water.