Are you an expectant mum who’s wide awake while the rest the world slumbers? You are in good company. A National Sleep Foundation poll found that 78% of women reported greater sleep disturbances during pregnancy than at other times. This can be due to numerous reasons, including hormonal changes, frequent urination, anxiety, nausea, heartburn, restless leg syndrome, or sleep apnoea.
Mums-to-be need to find effective sleep strategies to ensure they receive the ample rest they need. Research studies have shown that sleep-deprived pregnant women may experience a longer labour, increased pain and discomfort during labour, plus higher rates of preterm labour and caesarean section. After baby’s birth, those who are sleep poorly may also feel restless and depressed.
As the authors of the study Sleep Deprivation during Pregnancy and Maternal and Fetal Outcomes: Is There a Relationship? note, “Pregnant women particularly need sufficient sleep to nourish the development of their infants and the energy they need for the labor and delivery process.”
Healthy sleep for pregnancy simply must be a priority. The good news that by focusing on sleeping well, you’ll feel and cope better. These 5 steps will help you achieve the sound eight hours per night you need:
Position yourself with pillows
Expectant mums often feel most comfortable sleeping on their left side. Lay down with a pillow underneath and gently supporting your tummy. Bend your knees, pop a peanut pillow in between them, and find a position of ease. Use a Posture Form pillow to perfectly support your neck.
Maximise your comfort
Use different sized pillows and cushions to support the various parts of your body for maximum comfort. If your mattress seems too hard, switch to another or invest in a more affordable mattress topper. Choose bed clothes that they are loose, cotton-rich and allow you to stretch and relax. Consider the temperature of your bedroom and adjust it, as needed, to remain feeling comfortable.
Darkness, stillness and silence can sometimes allow our thoughts to run wild. With no distractions in place, anxiety can run amok. If fretfulness is keeping you awake, there are approaches that can help. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), meditation, and practicing deep breathing techniques can work beautifully. Use a notes app on your phone to list concerns that can be dealt with the following day.
Take strategic naps
The trick here is to take short naps of not more than 30-minutes to avoid falling into deep sleep and causing grogginess. Short naps can be the perfect antidote to daytime fatigue, without impairing night time sleep.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes led to increased body heat. If you live in a warm climate or are carrying through summer — or both — you are in for some hot and sticky nights. Air-conditioning, fans set to counter-clockwise, cotton sheets and cooling ice packs will become your best friends!
As an expectant mother, allow yourself to prioritise great sleep for pregnancy. Position, comfort, calm, strategic napping and maintaining a comfy, cool temperature during the night will boost your health and the health of your growing baby.