Lack of sleep during pregnancy is just preparation for the newborn stage, right? That might be true, but it is possible to get more sleep before the baby arrives. Sleep is important, and your body needs to rest while it can. Our midwives at Desert Blossom Women’s Care know that while you’re sleeping, your body resets and repairs itself. Sleep keeps your immune system healthy, helps your brain make memories, restores blood vessels and controls how your body reacts to insulin. All these functions are even more important when your body is growing another life.
Psychology Today recently reported a correlation between “both the quality and quantity of pregnant women’s sleep and complications at birth, including low birth weight and pre-term births.” This is because insufficient or low-quality sleep causes a disruption in the immune system. There also is a relationship between sleep, immune function and depression. Clearly, you need to prioritize sleep during this nine-month journey for both your and your baby’s benefit.
A number of factors work against you when it comes to prenatal sleep. Discomfort during pregnancy may include back pain, leg cramps, heartburn, fluctuating hormones, shortness of breath and insomnia – not to mention the multiple bathroom breaks throughout the night. A National Sleep Foundation poll found 78 percent of women reported more disrupted sleep during pregnancy. Fortunately, there are solutions. The following are a few midwifery tips to help you get better sleep (for two).
Sleep on your side and put a pillow between your legs (body pillows are miracle workers during pregnancy). This helps with circulation, optimizes oxygen and nutrients for your baby, and reduces swelling. Don’t sleep on your stomach, and avoid lying on your back for very long because the weight of your growing uterus can cause a decrease in circulation to your heart and to your baby.
Eat and Drink Wisely
Avoid sugary desserts or caffeine in the evening as they can make you jittery and more awake. You need to stay hydrated, but lessen the amount of liquids before bed so you aren’t urinating every hour. When it comes to food, you may want to start eating smaller meals more frequently to prevent fullness and heartburn.
Try a Bedtime Routine
This may be just as important for adults as it is for kids. Take a warm bath, listen to soothing music, drink tea, read a book or try meditation exercises to calm down your central nervous system. A scented lavender pillow or essential oils also might help bring on drowsiness.
Avoid Electronic Devices
The light from electronic devices such as computers and phones suppresses your levels of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. If you’re having trouble sleeping, stay away from these devices for an hour before bed, and try reading instead.
It won’t change anything by lying there checking the clock and worrying about the sleep you’re missing out on. Get up and do something relaxing for a while, such as an item from our bedtime-routine ides, then try again.
Talk to a Professional
If the above tips aren’t effective for you, or you’re constantly struggling to get a good night’s sleep, speak to a midwife at Desert Blossom Women’s Care. We can examine your health history, habits and needs to figure out a prenatal sleep plan for you. Schedule an appointment today.