Get A Good Night’s Sleep During Pregnancy

Sleep during pregnancy is very important in helping you to manage any anxieties or emotional pressures at this period in your life. We'll look at the reasons why it can be hard to get a good night's sleep and how to over-come them. Lots of great tips for a great sleep!

Some Reasons For Poor Sleep During Pregnancy:

• Increased size of abdomen

• Weird dreams

• Mental stimulation

Back pain

• Pregnancy Heartburn • Shortness of breath

• Old bed or mattress

Weird Dreams

Many women experience strange dreams during pregnancy. I’m not sure why that is. People have had dreams about giving birth to litters of kittens or large baby elephants! Dreams are a way of processing our fears and anxieties. You could try avoid eating those foods that are notorious for giving bad dreams e.g. cheese.

Back Pain

Most back pain in pregnancy can be avoided or prevented by adopting good posture and being careful with carrying heavy items (including toddlers). During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin. This hormone relaxes all your ligaments and tendons as well as other things.

Try hard to keep a good upright posture; don’t let your back fall into a deep arch or curve. If you’re worried about posture or back pain see your Osteopath or Chiropractor. Read more about pregnancy back pain.

Pregnancy Heartburn and Shortness of Breath

These are due to your body’s changes during pregnancy. You may want an extra pillow to help with this. Eating a small banana or having a hot milky drink before bedtime can sometimes sooth pregnancy heartburn.

Mental Stimulation

Try to avoid watching TV or DVD’s, using the computer or other mind-stimulating occupations. These just trick your mind and body into thinking it’s time to be wide-awake. Not conducive to sleep during pregnancy or at any time.

Sleepy Time Routines

It’s a good idea to get into a bedtime habit of winding down, avoiding stimulants like caffeine in tea, coffee, cola or chocolate during the evening hours leading up to bedtime.

If you practice yoga, try to do a few gentle, wind-down postures before bedtime. Other gentle exercises like walking can help too.

Some people find that a warm shower or bath and a drink of warm milk help them to relax. It’s always a good plan to keep your bedroom free from piles of chores that you need to do. If they are in your bedroom, chances are you’ll dream about doing the chores all night and wake up exhausted!

Positions For Sleep

During the early stages of your first Trimester you’ll probably be able to sleep in your regular position. Once you start to develop a bit of a pregnancy bump this will change. Lying directly on your front to sleep during pregnancy becomes impossible after a while.

Sleeping on your side is one of the best positions for sleep. Your left side is ideal unless your baby complains too much or if your instincts tell you to keep off your left side (left lateral). In most cases lying on your left will aid healthy blood circulation to the placenta and also help your organs to get the blood they need. On your left side, the major blood vessels are unimpeded by your heavy womb.

You may have already heard that sleeping on your back is a bad idea after you reach 24- 28 weeks or so. The timing will vary depending on your size and body type and if you have a multiple pregnancy or just one baby on board.

Lying on your back has the effect of putting all the weight of your uterus (womb), placenta and baby onto your main blood vessels – the Aorta and Vena Cava. This can lead to fainting and dizziness for you and reduced circulation to the baby via the placenta and umbilical cord. Reduced circulation of course means reduced Oxygen for the baby. Something you need to avoid.

A recent study in Auckland, NZ found links between Stillbirth and mom’s sleeping positions during pregnancy. Further large studies are needed before the findings can be used to change Worldwide advice to pregnant moms. They basically backed up the theory that left-side sleeping is preferable.

So lying on your left is a good idea, even better is lying in the SOS or ’recovery position’ on your left. Start by lying on your left side; now roll forward, bringing your left shoulder & arm behind you and your right arm forwards. Have your right leg bent at the knee and bring it forward from the hip.

You may want an extra pillow or folded blanket or towel to support your right leg – place the pillow under your right knee or lower leg, wherever it feels most comfortable. Stretch your left leg out behind you until you feel happy with your position. The side of your abdomen will be resting on the mattress. Don’t worry you shouldn’t need a pillow under your bump as this will tilt you backwards. Snuggle into the bed and close your eyes.

Of course you can’t stay like this all night! So change over to recovery position on your right side whenever you need a change.

Do I Need Special Pregnancy Pillows?

No. Ordinary pillows are fine for getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy. However, some women find a long full body pillow useful. Take a look at some 100% Goose Down Full body pillows in your local store or online. It could make all the difference. If you need just a little support try folding a small towel, throw or blanket to use wherever you need it.

Turning Over In Bed - a much easier way

When you get to your third trimester you'll probably find it increasingly hard and tedious to roll over in bed. Your pregnant belly is heavy, maybe you have other aches and pains, you legs or ankles may be swollen, you really don't feel as light as a feather!

So check out this great video on how to roll over more easily once you get to late pregnancy! It'll really help you get better sleep during pregnancy.

A Healthy Bed

The most important item for a good nights sleep during pregnancy is a good quality bed. Natural organic bedding and organic mattresses will aid your sleep in pregnancy and after.

If you’re thinking of getting a new bed, the best advice I can give is buy the biggest bed you can afford. As you’re starting a family (or already have children) there are bound to be times when the little ones creep into bed with you!

Even if you don’t allow your babies or kids into bed the more space you and your partner have the easier it is to get off to sleep. A good bed will last 5 – 10 years if you look after it according to instructions. Turning and airing the mattress regularly etc.

As for bedding try to use 100% natural sheets like cotton or linen. Nowadays you can also get bedding made of bamboo, silk or hemp fabric. Natural fabrics breathe and stop you getting too hot and sweaty.

Getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy can sometimes feel like an impossible task. Give it time and try our different tips and advice. Once you've found what suits you sleep will come easily.

There’s nothing quite like getting into a freshly made, clean bed with natural sheets and comfy pillows. Bliss!

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