Important Do’s and Don’ts of Sleeping while Pregnant

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Increased abdomen size, back pain, shortness of breath and frequent urination make it difficult for a pregnant woman to sleep peacefully. Making these few simple changes to your sleeping patterns and positions while pregnant can alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy and ensure the health of you and your baby.

This information is for every mother to be and for those who are planning to conceive to make their pregnancy safe and healthy. Here’s what you should and should not do.

Do’s of Sleeping during Pregnancy

Sleep on Your Left Side

The safest and most comfortable position to sleep while pregnant is on your left side, with bent knees. In this position, the weight of the fetus does not apply pressure on the inferior vena cava, one of the major blood vessels in your body which is responsible for transporting blood from all the lower regions of the body back to the heart. This position thus improves circulation and makes the role of the heart easier. The liver is located on the right side of the body, so sleeping on your left provides the added benefit of

Have a Sleep Schedule

Pregnancy causes changing hormone levels, anticipation and anxiety—all of which can make it extremely difficult for you to sleep at night. However, sufficient sleep is crucial to enable your body to meet the energy demands of the growing fetus. It is important that you maintain healthy sleeping habits while pregnant. Try to adhere to a constant sleep schedule, which involves at least 7—9 hours of sleep per night. If you feel tired during the day, you may want to incorporate naps into your sleep schedule as well. In order to prevent these naps from interfering with your ability to sleep at night, don’t nap after 4 p.m. or for more than half an hour at a stretch.

Always Relax

Relaxing before bed can also help ensure that you achieve a good night’s sleep. Try to take a warm bath or drinking a hot drink before sleeping. If you are experiencing pelvic girdle pain or leg cramps, then a thorough massage before sleeping can significantly relieve discomfort.

Avoid Heartburn

During the second trimester of pregnancy, the growing uterus presses against the stomach and can force acids into the esophagus, causing heartburn. To prevent this heartburn from keeping you up at night, you may want to start eating heavier breakfasts and lighter dinners. Heartburn can also be prevented by sitting upright for a few hours after eating and by staying away from heart-burn inducing foods (coffee, spices, citrus fruits etc.).

Dont’s of Sleeping during Pregnancy

Do Not Sleep on Your Back

Sleeping on your back will not make much of a difference during your first trimester, when the weight of the baby is not enough to apply significant pressure to the inferior vena cava. From the second trimester, onwards, sleeping on your back is likely to cause feelings of dizziness and nausea. Impaired blood flow can also reduce the quantity of nutrients and oxygen reaching the placenta.

Do Not Drink Water Right before Bedtime

During the first trimester of pregnancy, increased levels of the hormone progesterone and a growing uterus that pushes against the bladder, result in an increased frequency of urination. Cutting down on fluids, after 6 p.m, reduces the chances of night-time bathroom visits disrupting your sleep.

Do Not Drink Caffeinated Beverages

Try to reduce your intake of caffeine while pregnant, especially after 4 p.m. Not only is it unhealthy for your fetus, it also exacerbates the already elevated stress hormone levels, making sleeping while pregnant even more difficult. Not to mention, caffeine is a diuretic and so can also cause increased frequency of urination.

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