By Mariel Uyquiengco
Just when pregnant women need to sleep the most, their bodies refuse to cooperate and they hardly get to sleep at all. Sleep problems in pregnancy are common especially in the first and third trimesters. The discomforts that one goes through are brought about by hormonal and physical changes, and can vary from one pregnant woman to another.
Due to the growing baby in the tummy, expecting mums feel in different degrees hunger, chest discomfort, indigestion, back pain, leg cramps… the list goes on.
Here are four practical tips to overcome sleep problems in pregnancy.
Keep food and water in the room
When I was pregnant with my two children, I would drink a glass of warm milk right before I go to bed to make me sleepy. Hunger would come inevitably though, so I faced the problem head on.I kept some crackers and a bottle of water in the bedroom within my reach, so I wouldn’t have to go to the kitchen. Milk and foods rich in carbohydrates promote sleepiness.
Drink coffee in the morning
There is still no consensus on the safety of caffeine consumption during pregnancy. If you love coffee and just have to get a sip, be advised that it is best to limit yourself to one small cup (12-ounce) a day. However, to avoid insomnia during pregnancy, you have to drink your daily ration in the morning to give your body the chance to flush the stimulant out of your system before bedtime.
Put pillows between bent knees
With a constant backache during my third trimester, I followed my doctor’s advice and slept on my left side with a large body pillow between my bent knees. When my tummy got so big, I found it comfortable to place my bulging belly on the pillow itself. This supported my lower back and made sleeping on my side much easier.
Lessen fluid intake late in the day
As the baby gets ready to get out of his safe cocoon, he changes his position and puts pressure on his mother’s bladder. Tired pregnant women tend to wake up in the middle of the night, several times,feeling the need to go to the bathroom. To help lessen this problem, drink most of your fluids earlier in the day, and lessen your water intake in the evening or late afternoon.
Exercising daily is recommended during pregnancy. Other than promoting physical health, it has the added benefit of helping you sleep better. I found the exercises shown in the book “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” by Heidi Murk off particularly helpful during both of my pregnancies. It helped me relax and also eased some of the aches that I was feeling all over my body.
We all willingly go through so much for our little bundles of joy right from the start.We have to take care of ourselves and get some sleep even though sleep and pregnancy do not seem to go together.
Mariel Uyquiengco hopes to inspire parents to be their children’s first and best teacher. She does this through her blog and online children’s book shop www.thelearningbasket.com and by giving parenting seminars about early childhood development, preschool homeschool, and raising children to be readers.