How to Sleep While Pregnant: Everything You Need to Know (Part 2)
The second trimester of pregnancy is an exciting period, with morning sickness subsiding and the baby bump starting to appear. Overall, the second trimester is much easier than the first, but there are still some sleep issues that can cause sleepless nights. Even with the following sleep problems, women get an average of 7.5 hours of sleep each night during the second trimester. During this time, it’s important to get as much sleep as you can to rest up for what’s coming up next.
Here are a few things that can interfere with sleep in the second trimester.
Leg cramps are common in pregnancy due to low magnesium levels. These muscle spasms can also be caused by muscle fatigue from carrying extra weight and compression of blood vessels. The best way to ease these cramps is to take a magnesium supplement as your body might be lacking in this essential nutrient due to pregnancy. Regularly stretching and staying hydrated can also help prevent leg cramps in pregnancy.
Anxiety is common in pregnancy. A rapidly changing mood and anxiety can leave you feeling drained. This can be especially hard to control and even more difficult to stop completely. There are some things you can do to help ease anxiety caused by mood swings. Reach out to your support system to discuss what’s stressing you out.
Try guided visualization, deep breathing, or mindfulness methods to reduce stress. A prenatal yoga group may be a good opportunity to meet other soon-to-be moms. According to research, your coping style has a direct effect on your stress levels, which impacts sleep quality.
Pregnancy puts a strain on your body. Even if you are in good shape and are overall healthy, carrying a baby can still cause pain. One way to counteract this to focus on core strength exercises. Many think that your core is only made up of your abdominal muscles, but “the core” is made up of the hips, lower back, lats, and upper legs. These muscles help stabilize your entire body and are some of the largest muscles in the body. Studies have shown that women with stronger core muscles have easier pregnancies and are less likely to require a Caesarean delivery.
Strengthen your core muscles by performing abdominal exercises, squats, deadlifts, and back exercises.
Everyday functioning during the second trimester is much easier than the first. Overall, women report feeling much better and more like themselves, experiencing fatigue is still not uncommon in the second trimester. This is still due to a changing body and constantly varied hormone levels. Many pregnant women still report experiencing fatigue in the second trimester. While you need your sleep, you can help counteract pregnancy fatigue by engaging in moderate exercise, especially in the morning or afternoon, to help keep stable energy levels.
Studies show that 40-50% of pregnant women experience vivid dreams and nightmares. With all the physical changes happening in pregnancy, your mind is going through some as well. One theory is that pregnancy hormones affect how your brain processes information and emotions, leading to more vivid and frequent dreams/ nightmares when you’re pregnant. Another reason for these weird dreams is a disrupted sleep routine.
Without maintaining a normal sleep pattern, or when you wake up more often throughout the night, your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep will be interrupted. Dreams happen during REM sleep, and if the frequency or duration of REM sleep varies or is disturbed often during the night, it may affect how much you dream when pregnant. It may also impact your capacity to recall your dreams, giving the impression that you’re having more vivid dreams. While there is no one to stop or control your dreams, make sure you are getting enough sleep. To make sure you’re spending enough time in REM sleep, try using a sleep tracker app or fitness tracker.