By Dr. Smita Vaid Last Updated:
As one traverses the glowing path of pregnancy with excitement and joy, one encounters myriads of emotional and hormonal changes and physical discomforts. It is no surprise that these affect an expectant mother’s quality of sleep.
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There are various sleep challenges that most women have to face during the three trimesters of their pregnancy. Here are the most common sleep changes that may occur.
Although known as the honeymoon phase of pregnancy, the quality of sleep may remain poor in this trimester as a result of your growing belly and emotional stress associated with pregnancy.
They say ‘misery loves company’, but sleeplessness accompanied with constant gazing at the clock does not provide much comfort. So, here are a few things you can do about it.
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Make sure your room is at a comfortable temperature for sleeping; dark and quiet enough.
A glass of warm milk and carbohydrate rich food like sandwiches promote sleep. A snack rich in protein example peanut butter, eggs etc. keeps blood sugar levels up for longer and prevents bad dreams and headache. Avoid drinking too much in the evenings. Avoid caffeinated sleep snatchers like tea, coffee and fizzy drinks, which also enhance urination in the night.
The best resting position is to lie on your side with your knees bent. It eases work of the heart and is also good for the back. Pillows can be used to support the tummy and back. Pillow between the legs can help support the lower back and make sleeping on side easier.
The discomfort of a cramped leg can be eased by pressing the feet hard against the wall or standing up on the cramped leg. Calcium and vitamin E supplements also help.
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Pounding heartbeat or shortness of breath, if it is being caused by anaemia, can be helped with iron supplements.
Winding down with soothing rituals like a warm bath, stretching, yoga, massage, deep breathing and listening to quiet music helps you to relax. Vigorous exercise within 4 hours of bedtime should be avoided.
Once you are in bed, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery to direct your imaginations towards a relaxed and focused state can help you sink into sleep.
Some over-the-counter medications should completely be avoided during pregnancy. Even some of your prescribed medicines might play havoc with your sleep schedules during pregnancy. So, it is always best to discuss with your doctor, if something of this nature happens.
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If you are not asleep 20-30 minutes after getting into bed, get up and get engaged in some light, pleasurable activity until you feel drowsy again. Rest as much as possible and grab a quick nap whenever you can. Avoid anxious thoughts and remind yourself that the inability to sleep soundly may be frustrating, but during pregnancy, it is perfectly normal.
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