In general, people tend think more about the amount of sleep that they will lose after their baby arrives, instead of the loss of sleep beforehand. Ask anyone that’s been pregnant before and they may tell you otherwise. Many women struggle to sleep throughout their entire pregnancies. While some things are unavoidable, here are seven tips to help you get some much-needed shut-eye!
1. Cut back on Caffeine
Pregnant women should consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day. Caffeine comes in many different drinks like tea, coffee and soda. One 8 oz. cup of home brewed coffee can contain your entire daily recommended amount. You should limit your caffeine intake and avoid drinking anything that contains caffeine in the afternoon or evening. If taken too close to bedtime, it will keep you and baby up for much longer than desired. Cutting out caffeine altogether is the best option if even the smallest amount is keeping you up at night.
2. Cut Back on Fluids Before Bed
Although you want to stay hydrated while pregnant, drinking large amounts of water close to bedtime will only cause you problems when it comes to catching a little shut eye. Pressure from the baby can result in frequent trips to the bathroom even early on in a pregnancy. Consuming fewer liquids throughout the evening, can help reduce the number of trips to the bathroom throughout the night. Be sure to keep drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day to ensure proper hydration.
3. Pregnancy Pillow
Pregnancy specific or not, many women use pillows to ease the pain that different positions may cause when sleeping during pregnancy. Because a woman's hips widen throughout pregnancy, sleep can become painful at times. Placing a pillow between the legs helps to ease the strain that can take place on the hips. In addition to supporting the knees, many like to support their ever growing bellies as well. Pillows help to relieve back pain that is caused from the weight of the child.
4. Avoid Large Meals Before Bed
Large meals containing spicy, acidic foods may lead to indigestion and heartburn. If eaten too close to bedtime, they can keep you up for hours. If heartburn and indigestion is an ongoing problem with every large meal, try eating smaller meals throughout the day to avoid any discomfort that coincides with eating. Elevating your head off of the bed will also help to combat heartburn symptoms throughout the evening.
30 minutes of regular exercise is recommended to help promote physical and mental health. Exercise during the day can help to keep you awake during the daytime as well as help you sleep deeper in the evenings. Getting outside for a walk, or going to the gym and using a treadmill is an excellent way to keep in shape and increase energy levels. Regular exercise increases blood flow, helping to prevent leg cramps that may come at night, as well. Be sure to get your exercise in before it gets too late, though - it will have the opposite effect if it is too close to bedtime. Talk to your obstetrician about creating a workout plan that will work with you and your pregnancy.
The mental and physical strains that coincide with being pregnant can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. Yoga and basic stretching help to ease anxiety and stress levels throughout pregnancy. Breathing exercises and yoga will help you unwind and relax after a long day. Yoga will also help to keep your muscles strong and your body limber throughout pregnancy. Speak with your obstetrician to find a yoga practice that’s best suited for your particular needs.
7. Create a Sleep Routine
Create the habit of waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day. Regular sleep patterns will help to create consistency if you are struggling to get to sleep each night. Eventually, you’ll find that each evening your body will begin to tell you when it’s ready for bed. A great nights sleep is proven to help keep both you and baby healthy and on the right developmental track.
Before making any significant changes in your lifestyle, consult with your obstetrician at UnityPoint Health - Allen Hospital to make sure you create a plan that works best for you!